2 February, 2024

Today’s episode is a repeat from August, 2021, but a well deserved repost! A few updates have been added as well (including prices). And now … how I ‘El Mono’.

Tortas ahogadas are one of those great foods from Jalisco (as is birria). Bolillo roll, carnitas, onion salsa, lime, all swimming in a bath of tomato sauce! I’ve made a couple of posts before about El Mono, but today I thought I’d lead you through the procedure I use when I make my almost-weekly order.

I place my order via WhatsApp. Tacos y Tortas Ahogadas ‘El Mono’s number is +52 669 74 98. They’re closed on Monday’s so don’t order then! I almost always get a response to my whatsapp message within 5 minutes. They speak Spanish, not English – so make sure you use something like Google Translate to cut/paste if you don’t speak Spanish. I usually order four tortas ahogadas de carnitas (pork). They also have a decent birria, tacos, tacos dorados, and other items – check out the menu on their facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/elmono.tortasahogadas). They charge me a 10 peso delivery fee. I’m not sure if it changes on how far they have to go, so you should ask them what your total is, including delivery. Currently (and for quite a while now) the tortas ahogadas are 80 pesos. My four come to $280. Add the delivery charge and a tip and I’m out $340 pesos. It’s a great deal for four meals. You can always go there in person too!

Tortas Ahogadas de Carnitas

If you’re like me and are ordering ahead you’ll have a little prep to do to get them ready for the fridge/freezer. The tortas arrive packaged as in the photo above. Styrofoam tray, bolillo roll stuffed with carnitas, a bag of demon hot onion relish, a couple of lime wedges, and tomato sauce. You will probably get a plastic spoon – which I find difficult to use so I tell them not to include them.

Step one

Step one: Get your torta ahogada dish ready, remove the outer bag, and the bag from the torta. Place the torta in the dish! Make sure your dish is torta ahogada friendly! You want it to be fairly deep, and small enough that the tomato sauce ‘drowns’ the torta. Mine was a gift, but I think you can find them at either Sharks’ Dean in the Gold Zone, or the place near the corner of Azueta and Zaragoza. [2024 update: Since the original post I have purchased an air fryer. I have added a step of air frying them at 375 f. for 8 minutes. This makes them very toasty, and helps to keep them crunchy as I’m eating them. I’m a big fan of crunchy – if you aren’t, then skip the air fryer, or just put it on reheat for 3 or 4 minutes.]

Put the torta in the dish

Step two: Add the onion relish. If you haven’t had it before give it a LITTLE taste!!! I’m pretty sure the sauce around those onions is pureed habanero. It’s HOT. It will definitely get your endorphins flowing. Be forewarned! I usually squeeze the lime over the torta now. ** El Mono says the sauce is from chile de árbol. I don’t know … those are supposed to be the same heat, or a tad more, than the serrano chile and I don’t find serrano’s all that hot. I think they’re not telling me about a secret ingredient!

Step two. Add onion relish

Step three: Add the tomato sauce. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to make sure the bag has been tied securely, flip it so a corner is at the top, snip off the corner with kitchen shears and slowly pour the sauce over the torta. [2024 update: I add a pinch of Méxican oregano to the tomato sauce. Just a little pinch makes a big difference!]

Step three

The bolillo rolls used are fairly dry and take a few minutes to soak up enough tomato sauce for you to be able to eat it with a spoon. Let your torta ahogada sit for 5 or 10 minutes, then grab a spoon and dig in!

Ready, set, eat!

Now – prepping the other tortas ahogadas for the fridge/freezer. First you’ll want to open each bag and make sure the components are secure. Tighten each knot, and place things upright on the tray. Remove the limes if it’s going in the freezer. Place the tray back in its bag and tie it closed. When I order I eat one when they deliver. I put one in the fridge, and the other two go in the freezer. When I eat the one in the fridge, I replace it with one from the freezer.

[2024 update: As I said earlier, I now have an air fryer. 375 f. for 8 minutes to get them a crunchy, toasty, golden brown. No need to remove the carnitas. While it’s air frying, I bring the tomato sauce, with a pinch of Méxican oregano, to a simmer. When the torta is done, it goes right in the dish, the sauce gets poured over it, and then I sprinkle some of the onions, and sauce if you’re brave, over that.] To reheat them, I pull out the carnitas from the bolillo roll, crumble them, and put them in a skillet. I add the onion and the tomato sauce, cover, and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes. If you’ve frozen it, the tomato sauce will have separated – it’s still good. While it’s reheating I open up the bolillo roll and lay it fairly flat in the serving dish. I eat these open faced as its much easier just to pour everything slowly over the bolillo roll when ready. And it lessens the time I have to wait for the roll to get soggy enough for the spoon!

Of some small note, if you visit México City there’s a restaurant very near the main entrance to Chapultapec Park called El Pialadero de Guadalajara that also has excellent tortas ahogadas – and they’ll even give you a plastic glove if you want to get down and skip the spoon!

Tacos y Tortas Ahogadas ‘El Mono’. Closed on Monday’s. Two locations to choose from. Visit their facebook page for more information! https://www.facebook.com/elmono.tortasahogadas

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