A Mexican/American twist on the Aussie classic, it's time to reignite your love for the Chiko Roll, with a Chiko Roll! #BringBackTheClassics






Skill level

Average: 4.7 (9 votes)

Boy, did I love Chiko Rolls. I’m an eighties child, so that’s somewhat expected, but I continued to eat them in secret years after friends turned their nose at them. By that stage, deep-fried and convenience store foods were well on their way out, but that mushy filling! The crisp yet chewy pastry! The signature greasy Chiko Roll bag!

The original Chiko was created in the 50s by an enterprising Aussie named Frank McEnroe who reimagined Chinese-style chop suey rolls into the robust pre-made hand-held snack we all knew and loved (well, some of us). In the 70s at the height of their popularity, about 40 million Chikos were sold each year.

With its slow-cooked beef barbacoa filling and corn or flour tortilla casing, my ode to the classic takes inspiration from the crisp, crunchy flautas and chimichangas (deep-fried burritos) of Mexico and the US, where I lived for a few years. I’ve dubbed it the Chiko Roll and like its namesake, it’s golden, deep-fried and seriously moreish.


  • 2 tbs vegetable oil, plus extra to deep-fry
  • 1 kg brisket, trimmed, cut into 5cm pieces
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 100 g chipotle chilli in adobo sauce
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 litre (4 cups) beef or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp cornflour combined with 2 tbs water
  • 400 g can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 12 20 cm flour or corn tortillas, warmed briefly to soften
  • 1½ cups warm cooked rice
  • 2 limes, cut in half
  • 1½ cups grated cheddar
  • 1 bunch coriander, leaves roughly chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeds removed, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 tsp flour combined with 2 tsp water

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.


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a casserole or large saucepan over high heat. Cook the beef, in 2 batches, for 4 minutes each side or until browned. Transfer to a bowl. Reduce heat to medium, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until softened. Return the beef and resting juices to the pan with the cumin, cloves, oregano, chilli in adobo sauce, vinegar, sugar and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 2-3 hours or until beef is very tender (you may find the stock very spicy; don’t worry, by the time you add the rice and tortillas, you’ll barely notice the heat).

Transfer the beef to a bowl, then strain the stock back into the saucepan, discarding the solids. Bring the stock to the boil over medium-high heat, then cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until reduced slightly. Meanwhile, shred the beef. Stir the cornflour mixture into the stock and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the beef and beans.

Fill a deep-fryer or saucepan one-third full with the extra oil and heat over medium heat to 190°C. Working with 1 tortilla at a time, spread 1 heaped tablespoon rice along one edge. Top with 1-2 tablespoons beef mixture, then squeeze over lime. Scatter with cheddar and coriander, and a few jalapeno slices if using, then fold in edges and roll up tightly to form a roll (try to make it cylindrical rather than flat). Spread a little flour paste under edge, then press to seal (roll may pop open when fried if not properly secured or there are holes at the ends). Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. Working in batches, deep-fry rolls, turning once, for 2-3 minutes until golden and crisp, returning heat to 190°C between batches. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Cool slightly, then dig in.


Photography, styling and food preparation by Yasmin Newman.

Feeling nostalgic? We want you! For the month of November, SBS Food is asking food lovers far and wide to get creative by putting a multicultural twist or your creative spin on an Australian classic... Welcome to #BringBackTheClassics - enter now!