Chilaquiles is a traditional Mexican dish consisting of fried or dried tortilla chips, bathed in green or red salsa or mole, and broiled or grilled with a cheese topping. Sometimes chicken strips are mixed into the sauce, or the dish can be served with a fried egg on top or a strip of meat alongside.
They are most commonly eaten at breakfast time, served alongside fried or scrambled eggs or a Mexican style grilled beef. Moreover, chilaquiles are often lauded as a cure for la cruda--the common hangover; this is because in Mexico it is believed that spicy foods help in the recovery process from a hangover, but since a stomach after a night of drinking usually gets very irritated, adding spicy chilaquiles would only worsen the stomach irritation. Even so, tradition leads an abundance of drinking persons with hangovers to look for this dish or prepare it themselves in Mexico.
Unlike nachos, which are served as a crispy snack, chilaquiles are a main dish and are not served until the tortilla chips are thoroughly soaked and softened by the salsa. This makes them a popular recipe for stale chips, or those with a bad taste, as the other flavors mask that of the chips.
The name chilaquiles is derived from the Nahuatl word chil-a-quilitl which means "herbs or greens in chile broth".
As with most dishes, there are regional versions. In Sinaloa, Mexico the chilaquiles are prepared with a white sauce. Chilaquiles are commonly mistaken for Migas, as each is a dish that uses tortilla chips/strips served primarily in the morning. Despite these similarities, most agree that Chilaquiles take much more time and skill to prepare and are generally thought of in higher respects.