Saturday, May 6, 2023

Chicken Tortilla Sandwiches (Mulitas)

Known as Mulitas in Mexican culture, highly seasoned chicken is sandwiched between homemade corn tortillas with shredded cheese and finished with guacamole or avocado, sour cream, pico de gallo or salsa, or whatever your favorite toppings are.
Known as Mulitas in Mexican culture, highly seasoned chicken is sandwiched between homemade corn tortillas with shredded cheese and finished with guacamole or avocado, sour cream, pico de gallo or salsa, or whatever your favorite toppings are.

Chicken Tortilla Sandwiches (Mulitas)

I don't remember where I first heard about mulitas, and, in fact, when I first did, I mistakenly assumed it was just another name for a quesadilla!

The reason for that is that I usually make my quesadillas the same way as these mulitas.

Although both can have very similar fillings, some of the differences I've seen between quesadillas and mulitas include:

  • Are almost always made using flour tortillas.
  • They are generally very heavy on cheese.
  • Though they may have other ingredients like various proteins, they are often mostly cheese and vegetables.
  • Generally the tortillas are buttered, filled on one side and folded over to crisp up in a comal or skillet.
Apparently, I've been doing them wrong all these years!
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Mulitas, on the other hand:
  • Are almost always made using homemade corn tortillas.
  • Cheese on mulitas is very light, and primarily used as an adhesive to glue everything together.
  • Although I didn't, a layer of refried beans is often also added, although sometimes it's added to the top of the finished sandwich, along with toppings.
  • Mulitas always contain a protein - carne asada, pork carnitas, Mexican shredded beef or just simply seasoned and grilled sliced steak or shredded braised beef roast, though chicken and seafood could easily make their way in too.
  • The protein is also generally heavier in mulitas than one would put in a quesadilla.
  • Mulitas also usually contain vegetables - onions, sweet or hot peppers and sometimes mushrooms.
Here's the thing though.

I have a few Mexican cookbooks and I couldn't find a single reference to mulitas in any of them. Pati's Treasures of the Mexican Table referenced Molotes, which she said was "like a quesadilla, but always made with fresh dough and not tortillas" but looked nothing like this version at all!

I've settled on the idea that it's possibly more known as a "street food" than traditional Mexican cuisine found in households and though based on my research some homes did make them, I don't know why it's not included in the cookbooks!

No matter, because it is a delicious tortilla sandwich for sure, and, really, you can use all kinds of leftovers to make them.

Here's how I made my Chicken Mulitas aka Tortilla Sandwiches.

Add seasonings to the chicken and toss. Add salsa and toss again. Set aside.

I did decide to try my hand at homemade corn tortillas again, though you can certainly just use premade tortillas from the store to save some time and effort. For the tortillas, whisk together the masa harina and salt.

Gradually add the warm water and stir until a dough forms. Divide the dough into 16 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Although you can certainly use a rolling pin, if you're going to make a lot of tortillas, a press is a handy tool to have. Having one will also encourage you to keep practicing to make your perfect tortillas, because frankly hand rolling them takes a bit of practice and the press is much faster and much more consistent for sure! 

Set aside a clean dry cloth or use a tortillero and get your skillet or comal heated up. I bought this tortilla warmer a long time ago, but now they also have some pretty cool fabric warmer pouches that also work well.

Meanwhile, place a ball on a piece of parchment in the tortilla press. You can also use plastic wrap but I find the parchment sheets to be easier to handle and peel off and I keep them on hand for cake pans anyway.

Top with another piece of parchment. You'll be reusing these pieces for all of the dough balls.

Press. The harder you press, the thinner the tortilla, so you'll just have to get a feel for it as you make them to get them the thickness that you want.

Gently peel away the top parchment paper and set it aside.

And carefully remove tortilla from bottom parchment.

Transfer tortilla to heated comal and cook about 40 seconds.

Flip and cook another minute, then flip again and let tortilla puff, about another 15 to 30 seconds. 

Wrap tortilla in a clean towel or transfer it to a cloth-lined tortillero and reusing the same parchment, press another dough ball while the first one is cooking.

To build the mulitas in the hot skillet or comal, you have to work fairly quickly so as not to overcook the tortilla. Add one corn tortilla to the heated comal and top with shredded cheese. It's most traditional to use Oaxaca cheese, though a lot of folks just use Monterey Jack, cheddar or a Mexican cheese blend, which is what I am using here.

Quickly add the shredded seasoned chicken.

Top with additional cheese.

Top with a second tortilla.

Carefully turn and heat until cheese melts. Transfer to a serving plate.

Alternatively, and I've done it both ways, you can build the mulitas and then transfer them to a hot comal. Arrange 8 tortillas on a sheet pan. Top with the cheese.

Divide the chicken evenly between them.
Top with the remaining cheese.
And top that with another tortilla.

Transfer to the hot comal and heat just until cheese begins to melt, then use a spatula to carefully flip over and cook for another 30 to 45 seconds.

Transfer to plates and carefully peel open top tortilla, stuffing with desired toppings - guacamole, salsa or pico de gallo and/or sour cream are common - or serve them on the side.

For more of my Mexican and Tex Mex recipes, check out this collection on my Pinterest page!

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Posted by on JMay 6, 2023
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