Estrada’s Kitchen Look A Like Taste A Like

Tostada Compuesta

Tostada CompuestaThis looks simple enough. And perhaps you might be feeling a little too simple for your palate. But I promise this salad will surprise you! A few of the techniques in building this Tostada Compuesta create the distinctive flavor and shouldn’t be skipped. You’ve heard me boast about Estrada’s Spanish Kitchen. I’ve been fortunate enough to come across an enchilada sauce recipe that tastes just like theirs. If you wish to try it out just let me know and I’ll send the recipe. My brother has given the recipe a try and, it’s spot on! And for those interested in the Chile Relleno give my recipe a try. It’s so so close.

There you have it! A complete meal!


4 large salads or 6 small

Beans First:

One pound red beans-pick out stones and rinse, soak overnight. You will have extra cooked beans left over from this recipe. They are great alone or over rice. 2 cups cooked beans will be used to make refried beans for this recipe. Canned refried beans do not work here.

1 Tablespoon leaf lard-organic if possible (Totally can’t do lard? Use a quality cooking oil without residual flavor.)
2 Cloves garlic-peeled and smashed
1 Teaspoon salt, more if needed

Sauté garlic in the lard over medium/low heat in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot for about one minute. Add drained soaked beans that have been lightly rinsed. Add enough fresh water to cover by one-two inches. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 2 hours. Add the salt after the beans have become slightly tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours into cooking. Taste after added for additional need.

While the beans are cooking continue with the following:

Lettuce Preparation:

One large head iceberg lettuce-core and wash, after draining cut in half and half again, then shred with very narrow slices. In the post photo the lettuce appears thickly sliced. 1/4 inch and less is good. Place in a bowl and cover. Refrigerate to crisp.

Salad Dressing: (Make 2 hours ahead to achieve deeper flavor, keeps refrigerated for 24 hours)

2 Cloves garlic, peeled
1 Teaspoons salt
1 Cup white vinegar (or red wine vinegar or combination)
1/3 Cup cooking or salad oil, do not recommend olive oil unless very light with no olive taste)
1/4 Teaspoon ground pepper

Use a mortar and pestle or the back of a spoon and a small bowl. Mash the garlic and salt together and form a paste. Add all ingredients to a jar and shake vigorously. Let set at room temperature for about 2 hours or less if needed. Pour through a fine strainer before using.

Hot Sauce:

1 Cup of El Pato Tomato Sauce pushed through a strainer with the back of a spoon then measured

1/3 to 1/2 Cup plain tomato sauce depending on the need to lower the heat of El Pato. No more than 1/2 cup or the sauce begins to taste like tomato sauce and not hot sauce
1/4-1/2 Teaspoon pepper

Mix ingredients together and set aside. Serve extra on table for those that enjoy lots of hot sauce.

Refried Beans:

3 Ounces of Mexican chorizo (Not all chorizo is created equal. The next time around I’ll be choosing one with less redness, chili powder or paprika? Perhaps trying beef chorizo.) Chorizo is essential to this recipe for the slight flavor and texture it gives to the refried beans.

2 Teaspoons of lard (again use oil if you are not able to use lard)
2 cups of red cooked beans with 1/4 cup bean juice-mashed thoroughly with a potato masher

Remove the casing from the chorizo and cook in a heavy skillet and drain off the fat. The chorizo I used had very little fat. The result from cooking should be small crumbles of meat. Set aside.

For ease use a nonstick skillet for refried beans. Add the lard over medium heat and melt.

Add the mashed beans to the melted lard and cook to heat through. You can mash in the skillet as you heat.

Add the cooked chorizo and thoroughly mix. Set aside.

Putting It All Together:

You’ll need yellow corn tostada casera 4-6 (These are precooked (yellow) corn tortillas. Trying to cook corn tortillas to this texture and crispness is difficult and these precooked tortillas not only make this easy but the taste is hard to duplicate.)

Heat broiler to Hi

Strain the salad dressing to remove any garlic pieces. Pour the salad dressing over the shredded lettuce in a large bowl. This needs to be done in the last few minutes to avoid soggy lettuce result. Not to worry, the excess dressing will go to the bottom of the bowl. Mix with you hand.

Spread the tostada with about 1/4 cup of refried bean mixture. Spread evenly. Place into broiler and watch carefully. This will only take a minute or two. Broil the tostada until the edges are approaching a deep golden brown.  If you have a salad plate equipped to take the heat this is best. The idea is to have the dressing (wet salad) evaporate as it hits the hot plate and tostada … causing the sizzle.

Immediately after removing the plate from the oven mix the salad with your hand again and then scoop with your hand a large amount of dressed salad, letting it drip/drain first, and place onto the hot tostada. I have large hands and it takes about two handfuls.

Ladle with a large scoop of hot sauce.

“Careful the plate is hot!” Enjoy!


  1. Barbara
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    I would love to see your enchilada sauce recipe!!

    • Posted September 12, 2015 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Hi Barbara, Would love to do the sauce. Get your Mexican chocolate out … I’ll be posting the recipe soon.

  2. Mimi
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Would love the enchilada sauce recipe

  3. Phil
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Greetings – Thanks for this recipe.

    Please send me the enchilada sauce recipe.

    I grew up in Fresno and Estradas was a weekly event, whether at the restaurant or take out. I can still see it, smell it and taste!! It holds a special place in my family’s life.


    • Posted January 29, 2016 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Your welcome and thank you for visiting! Hope the recipe works for you.

  4. Charles Worrell
    Posted February 28, 2016 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I would really love to get your enchilada sauce recipe

    • Posted February 28, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Sure, here it is!

      Makes about 2 1/2 Cups Enchilada Sauce

      5 Cups water
      3 T Mojave California Chili powder
      1/2 t garlic powder
      1 t dried oregano
      1 1/2 T Ibarra Mexican Chocolate
      Salt to taste
      Cook up roux with the following:
      1/3 Cup lard
      1/2 Cup all purpose flour
      Add other ingredients to roux and mix thoroughly. Makes about a dozen enchiladas. Stuff enchiladas with your favorite ingredients. We’re purists and like finely minced onions and shredded Mexican cheeses only. If you have any “how to” questions SEARCH enchiladas.

  5. Sage
    Posted May 25, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    I’ll tell you 100% Estrada’s did not use chocolate in the enchilada sauce, I’ve seen it made 100’s of times

    • Posted May 25, 2016 at 5:11 pm | Permalink


      Wish we knew Estrada’s family who would spill the beans on their best kept cooking secrets. The only choice we have is to search for possible look-alike taste-alike recipes. My brother, an Estrada’s enchilada connoisseur for over 40 years, says the enchilada recipe I share tastes exactly as it was. All we have are our fond memories and a desire to repeat this history. For me it’s the macaroni and plain beans. We will always love Visalia’s Estrada’s Spanish Kitchen!

  6. Nancy
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    My dad grew up with Cruz Dillard’s boys-he lived across the street and spent more time at their house (upstairs over the restaurant) than at home. We ate there frequently, sometimes eating in the booth in the kitchen. My dad would take me out to the cooking shed to watch Ralph deep fry the chile rellenos. My favorite was the macaroni as well. The rice had the same cheese sauce. It was a red sauce with melted cheddar on top.

  7. Nancy
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Have you a recipe for that macaroni and rice red sauce? Thanks.

    • Posted December 28, 2016 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Hi Nancy,

      Try my latest post on Estrada’s. Do a search for Our Family Tradition. You’ll find my taste-a-like recipes. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. I appreciated your history with Estrada’s Spanish Kitchen. It was a sad day for us when they closed their doors.

  8. Denise Roberts
    Posted March 10, 2017 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    We grew up in Visalia, going to Estradas every fri. Or sat. Night for dinner. The Spanish macaroni was our all time favorite along with the tostada compestas. Moved to bay area & tried th one in Daly city about 30 years ago. Would love anything close to the macaroni recipe. Have tried to duplicate it often, but not there yet. Any help would be appreciated. !😗

    • Posted March 11, 2017 at 4:23 am | Permalink

      We’ve come very close to the Estrada’s Style Macaroni recipe but it still needs a little tweaking. The long ziti noodle is hard to come by in Visalia. I have found something close on line but the diameter is a size too large. Here is my current best efforts. It’s not disappointing but again needs just a little revision, perhaps the cheeses. Thank you for stopping by. The Estrada’s connection is pretty powerful.

  9. Judy
    Posted October 8, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I’m 72 & as long as I can remember I had dinner at Estrada’s in Visalia every Sunday. First at the house then on Mooney till they closed. Then at the house in Fresno & on to the strip mall. Such a loss no one continued on. Rice was my favorite when I was little. Tostada Compuesta, macaroni, & enchiladas every time once I was a bit older. Nothing has ever come close to the taste. Even Fresno was a bit different.

    • Posted October 9, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure during those times our family had dinner at an adjacent table to yours. We, too, experienced the old house on Main Street and then the Mooney location. We often had the same waitress over the years. It was just so wonderful in every way. I remember my grandfather pulling out a hundred dollar bill to pay for our dinner … the first bill of that size I’d ever seen. He was paying for dinner for six. It was a long time ago. I love stories about Estrada’s.

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