These rolls are a speciality of Jalisco and its capital, Guadalajara. Birote, the bread that is traditionally used for this sandwich, is quite dense, with a thick, hard crust, which prevents the roll from falling apart in your hands. The sandwich can be served either ahogadas – completely submerged in the spicy salsa – or media ahogada – partially submerged. It can also be stuffed with shredded roast pork.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (10 votes)


  • 1 kg skirt steak
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 kg tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 100 g dried chilli de arbol (see Note) (optional), soaked in boiling water
  • 8 crusty white bread rolls
  • refried beans, sliced white onion and lime wedges, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Place steak, bay leaf, onion and 1 garlic clove in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes or until meat is tender. Remove meat from the cooking liquid, set aside to cool, then shred with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, using a stick blender, blend tomatoes, cloves, remaining 2 garlic cloves and oregano until smooth. Strain through a sieve into a saucepan. Place over medium heat and simmer for 3 minutes or until slightly reduced. Season and set aside.

Drain chilli de arbol, if using, and grind with a mortar and pestle. Slice rolls in half horizontally. Spread refried beans on both sides, then fill with shredded beef and ground chilli. Place on plates, pour over reserved salsa and serve with onion and lime wedges.


• Chilli de arbol is a long, red, hot Mexican chilli related to cayenne pepper. It is available from Mexican food shops.


Photography by Mark Roper.