Torta Ahogada


Got a hangover? This Mexican sauce-coated
sandwich from Jalisco will cure you



In my search for hangover cures from around the world, I learned about torta ahogada, a sandwich filled with carnitas and drenched in salsa. This sandwich is the signature food of Guadalajara, Mexico. It is a spicy, warm, juicy sandwich famous for curing hangovers.

Torta ahogada was introduced by Leonor, who lives in Guadalajara, Mexico, a city known for its rich traditions and history. One of these traditions was the creation of this sandwich. It was first accidentally created in Guadalajara, Mexico, in the early 1900s when Luis De La Torre dropped the whole torta into the salad container. The customer yelled, “you drown it!” In Spanish, the word for drowned is ahogada, which is why the sandwich is now called torta ahogada, or drowned sandwich. Even though the torta was soaked, the customer happily ate it and loved it anyway. Thus the torta ahogada was born!

The traditional torta ahogada is created with a bun called a birote, carnitas, refried beans, and pickled onions. It is then covered with a sauce made from tomatoes, garlic, salt, oregano, and vinegar. The birote bread is perfect for this sandwich since it has a hard, crunchy outside that holds up with the sauce and is soft and fluffy inside. The torta ahogada is also topped with marinated onions and lemon juice.

Although this sandwich is traditionally made with carnitas, which is shredded pork, it was made with a variety of meats once the sandwich became popular. For example, you can now find it with beef, chicken, shrimp, panela cheese, or even oyster mushrooms, which is how Leonor eats it since she is now vegan.

Leonor explains that the spiciness of the chili de arbol hot sauce and the drenched sandwich is great for hangovers since the chili is said to help flush out the alcohol. I was personally a bit intimidated by this recipe at first, but the savory refried beans, spiced pork, tangy sauce, and pickled onions all came together really well for a food experience like no other. I would definitely eat a torta ahogada as hangover food.

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Torta Ahogada


  • 4 hard rolls halved horizontally
  • 1 lb pork carnitas
  • ¾ can refried beans
  • 2 lbs ripe tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • ½ tsp dry Mexican oregano
  • ¼ large thinly sliced onion and marinated in lemon juice
  • hot sauce your choice
  • salt to taste


  • Cook the tomatoes in a pot with water, drain and blend in blender with garlic, vinegar, oregano and salt.
  • In a large pot put the sauce to a boil ½ hour, adding water, depending on how liquid you would like it (in many places it is thick in others don’t, depending on your taste) taste for salt, if you feel that it needs more oregano, add more, or a little more vinegar; it should be a little acidic, but rich.
  • Now to assemble the sandwich, spread some refried beans on each side of the rolls, top bottom half with a portion of the pork carnitas.
  • Serve on a plate and top with the tomato salsa, serve with marinated onions alongside, a wedge of lemon and dig in! If you like to spice your sandwich, add the hot sauce.
Course: Lunch
Region: Latin America


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