Milanesa, a breaded meat fillet that is most often made from beef — though can also be made from chicken or veal — is a recent addition to the Vagabond Cookbook. I would relish this meat in restaurants throughout my travels in Mexico, and one day my wife ended up just making it herself in our apartment kitchen with outstanding results. Milanesa is truly one of the meals that we cook ourselves that ranks very high on the low price/ ease of preparation to nutrition/ taste ratio.
Milanesa is eaten throughout Latin America, but seems to be most common in Mexico and in the southern cone countries. This dish was originally brought to the Americas by Central European immigrants, and I’m told that it closely resembles Austrian Wiener Schnitzel.
To make milanesa, all you need is a a frying pan, any type of stove, a bowel for dipping, and a fire source. This dish can be made in camp, in a hostel kitchen, or in a hotel room alike — though it may be a little messy for inside cooking without a kitchen.
- Meat fillets (preferably beef or chicken), very thinly sliced
- One or two eggs (depending on how many you want to make)
- Spices: your choice of salt, pepper, fresh parsley, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, etc . . .
- Beat eggs in a bowl. Use one egg if you’re only serving yourself, add more to match the amount of people you’re serving.
- Mix breadcrumbs, spices, and salt together on a plate or in a separate bowel.
- Fire up your stove, put oil in a frying pan, and bring to a sizzle.
- Dip a meat fillet in the beat eggs, covering it generously.
- Take the egg dipped fillet and place it on the breadcrumbs/ spices. The latter should stick to the fillet, completely covering it.
- Take the now breadcrumb covered fillet and toss it in the pan. Cook until finished — usually around five minutes.
How to make milanesa video
If you are reading by email, you need to go to How to make Milanesa to watch the video.
How to serve
Milanesa is a generalist protein course and can be served with rice, noodles, or in a sandwich. I’ve even seen milanesa tacos in Mexico. Feel free to spice up the supporting dishes, adding lime, avocado, and tomatoes to the rice, or anything else you desire (or can get locally). Milanesa can also be put into a baguette or between slices of bread with lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, onions, and anything else you want to add into it to make a sandwich.
Total cost of meal
The cost of a meal based around milanesa depends on the cost of meat in the country you’re making it in. Generally, meat sells relatively cheap in most countries with a thriving agriculture industry, and I usually spend $2 to $3 for enough beef fillets to graciously feed my entire three person family. Add 50 cents for breadcrumbs (or make them yourself), and roughly a dollar for vegetables and rice per meal. In all, I generally spend around $4 for my entire family to eat a meal of milenasa, rice, and vegetables. Add on a dollar or two if preparing it in the USA or Europe.
Milenasa, and other breaded meats, have become a specialty item of the Vagabond Cookbook. Try your own twists on this recipe and take whatever local influences you can as you cook your way around the world.
The Vagabond Cookbook is a project to offer ideas for self-catering travelers throughout the world. As we travel, we learn local recipes and cook for ourselves — as it is generally a cheaper, more filling, more nutritious, and safer way to eat. For more recipes, visit the Vagabond Cookbook.