There are as many recipes for chilaquiles as there are cooks who make them. This version is served, throughout the day, at the Grand Hotel in Tijuana.
2 cups corn oil
24 6" day-old corn tortillas, cut into sixths
1 1/2 lbs. (about 3 large) ripe tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped
Leaves of 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. Knorr chicken broth powder, optional
2 1/2 cups shredded boiled chicken, optional
3/4 cup crema or crème fraîche
6 oz. cotija cheese, crumbled
1. Heat 1 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, fry tortilla segments until crisp, about 2 minutes per batch, letting them drain on paper towels as they are done. Discard oil, then wipe out skillet and set aside.
2. Put tomatoes, jalapeños, and garlic into a medium pot. Set aside 1/4 cup of the onions for garnish, then add half the remaining onions to pot. Fill pot with water and boil over medium-high heat until tomatoes are very soft, about 20 minutes. Add half the cilantro and cook for 1 minute more. Drain tomato mixture in a colander. Peel and core tomatoes and stem jalapeños (for a milder sauce, remove and discard seeds), then put into a blender. Add cooked garlic, onions, and cilantro and purée until sauce is smooth.
3. Heat remaining oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add all but the reserved 1/4 cup of onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato–jalapeño sauce and, if using, chicken broth powder, increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Add tortillas and, if using, chicken, stirring and turning in sauce until well coated. Simmer until tortillas are tender and chewy, about 3 minutes.
4. Chop remaining cilantro and set aside. Transfer chilaquiles to a warm serving platter, top with crema and cotija cheese, and garnish with cilantro and reserved onions. Serve hot.