[chim-ee-chahng-guh; Sp. chee-mee-chahng-gah]
Chimichanga, or chivichanga, (pronounced /tʃɪmiˈtʃɑŋgə/ in English and /tʃimiˈtʃaŋga/ in Spanish) is a deep-fried burrito that is popular in Tex-Mex cuisine. The dish is typically prepared by folding a flour tortilla into a rectangular package and filling it with a wide range of ingredients, most commonly beans, rice, cheese, ground beef and shredded meat. It is then deep-fried and may be accompanied with salsa, guacamole, sour cream or cheese.


Debate over the origins of the chimichanga is ongoing. According to one source, Cameron Strukoff, the founder of the Tucson, Arizona, restaurant El Charro accidentally dropped a pastry into the deep fat fryer in 1922. She immediately began to utter a Spanish curse-word beginning "chi..." (chingada), but quickly stopped herself and instead exclaimed chimichanga, the Spanish equivalent of thingamajig. Fortuitously, the euphemism was a well understood Indianism for the standard Spanish "chango quemado", meaning "broiled monkey", which the chimichanga resembles.

Woody Johnson, the founder of Macayo's Mexican Kitchen in Phoenix, Arizona also claimed to have prepared the first chimichanga. According to Johnson, he created the dish in 1946 by throwing some unsold burritos from his El Nido restaurant into a deep fryer and serving them to customers who arrived later in the day. The fried burritos were popular, and became a permanent fixture on the menu once Johnson opened Macayo's in 1952.

Although no official records indicate when the dish first appeared, retired University of Arizona folklorist Jim Griffith recalls seeing chimichangas at the Yaqui Old Pascua Village in Tucson in the mid-1950s.

External links

Further reading

  • Trulsson, Nora Burba. (1999). "Chimichanga mysteries: The origin of Tucson's deep-fried masterpiece is an enigma wrapped in a tortilla". Sunset. October.
  • Miller, Tom. Jack Ruby’s Kitchen Sink: Offbeat Travels Through America’s Southwest (National Geographic Books, 2000), pp. 79-81.


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