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A Mexican soft unleavened bread made with maize flour. Fresh tortillas are eaten as bread, but the dough is often dried to make snack items - such as chips, now popular to scoop-up a dipping sauce.
When a fresh tortilla is rolled around shredded meat and mashed beans, in Mexico, it's known as a taco. While the same word in modern 'Tex-Mex' cooking is used to refer to a dried and crisp tortilla, bent into a U-shape and generally filled with minced beef or 'chili-con-carne, grated cheese and lettuce.
Tortilla's can be divided into the following categories -
Burrito: A warmed soft tortilla filled and folded like an envelope.
Chimichanga: A tortilla, filled and folded envelope-style, the crisped in hot oil or deep-fried.
Enchilalada: A tortilla, softened or dipped, filled, rolled into a tube, topped with sauce and cheese over the top, then baked.
Flauta: A tortilla, filled, tightly rolled into a cigar shape, then fried until crisp.
Quesadilla: A tortilla, filled with cheese and crisped up until the cheese melts.
Taco: A soft warm or lightly crisped tortilla, filled and folded in half. In North America, the tortilla shell for tacos is sometimes fried until it's hard.
Tapa: In Mexico, these are soft tortilla's, filled, folded, and lightly crisped - in the still of a chimichanga. However, in Spain, they are snack-sized tortilla fried-crisp and hard, often in a basket shape, then filled.
Tostada: A tortilla fried until crisp, either flat or basket shaped, and topped with a mixture of salad.
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