Aficionados of Mexican cuisine may consider the chalupa to be a favorite meal item. This tostada platter consists of a deep-fried corn-based dough filled with the diner's choice of foods. Common ingredients include ground beef, beans, or shredded chicken and vegetables.
The word chalupa comes from the Mexican-Spanish word for a canoe-like boat. This is because the chalupa itself resembles such a long canoe when shaped and cooked. Made from masa dough, the flavorful wrap is shaped by a mold. Once fried, the thin dough yields a crispy, flaky cup-shaped edible container. The crunchy tex-mex cuisine can then be filled with whatever the cook or eater prefers.
No matter the filling chosen, a chalupa is almost always a savory meal. A chicken chalupa, for example, is typically a blend of shredded chicken marinated in a flavorful sauce, combined with vegetables such as chopped onions or peppers. Various salsas can be added to the filling as well, such as red and green varieties. When pork is used to fill the shell, it is also often shredded, while beef can be shredded or ground and cooked before inserting.
Vegetarians can also enjoy chalupas. The fried dish can be very fulfilling when stuffed with beans. Cheese can also be used to fill the tortilla. Any vegetables desired can be added for a full-flavored, rounded meal.
In terms of tortilla-based dishes, this meal is similar to the sope and garnacha. The sope is a similar dish that is shorter, denser, and softer. The garnacha is smaller, fried corn tortilla, and usually features fillings similar to those used to fill tacos.
American chalupas differ from the traditional Mexican creations. They typically feature a deep-fried flat bread, which is chewier and thicker than a traditional chalupa. The fillings used for these types of chalupas are usually ground beef-based, accompanied by cheeses, sour cream, and lettuce. Special sauces, bacon, or salsas may also be used.
When preparing chalupas at home, they can be baked for convenience. Many cooks mix the filler together, stuff the tortilla being used with the mixture, and bake the whole piece until complete. Tortillas can also be fried, then filled with any desired fillings that have been sautéed, fried, or prepared in any way preferred.
Smaller versions of the chalupa, called chalupitas, can also be made. These little snacks are often served as appetizers. To make a chalupita, prepare a smaller chalupa crust, and fill it with beans, pepper, and sour cream. This treat is comparable to nachos.