Flautas in Spanish means ‘Flute’. And this popular Mexican dish is so named, because of how the tortillas look when rolled up. Almost a staple in every Mexican menu, these are best served as appetizers, traditionally made with small tortillas, filled with shredded chicken and cheese and deep-fried until tantalizingly crisp.The best flautas de pollo (Chicken flautas) I ever had was at Rosa Mexicana @ Atlantic Station. The shredded chicken was so well flavoured, and the deep-frying did not dry up the meat. The whole thing was juicy, crispy and delicious. Not to mention the freshly made guacamole and re-fried beans on the side! Muy delicioso!
My version is neither fried nor made with meat! It is made with full-sized wheat tortillas, filled with a crumbled paneer and vegetable mix, flavoured with cumin and dried red chilli flakes.
It all starts with freshly made paneer. If you haven’t tried making paneer yourself, here’s a tutorial to get you started. Homemade Flavoured Paneer
|Click Image for recipe|
For those of you who don’t know what paneer is, it’s just Ricotta cheese. Separated milk curds that have been drained of whey. There is no curing, no ageing involved. Just plain, old milk solids, separated from whey. From scratch to finish, making your own paneer/ricotta will take
about 40 -60 minutes. Easy, isn’t it?
Except in this case, you might want to skip the flavouring ( or not, your choice), and the firming process. All you have to do is, separate the curd, drain the liquid for half hr, and crumble the paneer until you get something that looks like this.
Once the paneer is ready, you prepare the filling by sautéing the vegetables.
Then fill the tortillas, roll and bake!
Unlike spring rolls, rolling flautas needs no special skills.
1. If you use smaller tortillas, these can be served as appetizers.
2. Traditionally, flautas are filled with shredded chicken and deep-fried. But you can use a variety of fillings of your choice, so go crazy!
3. If using smaller tortillas, reduce filling to 1 – 11/2tbsp per flauta. And reduce baking time by half.
4. Flautas are best served straight out of the oven. If you wish to make them in advance, prepare the filling upto a day in advance, and assemble just before you are ready to serve them.
5. Baked/fried flautas get soggy in a few hours, so plan accordingly.