I used to eat these nearly every night with my aunt Aruna in San Francisco. She always used whole wheat tortillas that gave the quesadillas a chapati-like flavour. Quesadillas are incomplete without pico de gallo, my favourite condiment from the Mexican kitchen. I add toasted cumin to it to enhance the savoury quality of the salsa and as a complement to the earthy quality of the whole wheat tortillas. You can make the pico de gallo up to a day in advance. But it will have to be semi-drained (a slotted spoon works well) prior to serving, as it gets juicier the longer it sits.

If you can only find 8-inch tortillas, increase the cheese to 1/2 cup and increase the pico de gallo to 4 tablespoons per quesadilla. For shredded cheese, any combination of cheddar, mozzarella, Queso Blanco or Monterey Jack will do.

  • Serves


    Makes 4 quesadillas
  • Cook Time


    Prepare pico de gallo a day in advance


For pico de gallo

  • 3 medium very ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2-3 small red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapenos (or 3-4 green chillies), finely diced
  • 1.25 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp toasted cumin seed powder (bhuna jeera)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves and tender green stems
  • Juice of 2 limes or to taste

For quesadillas

  • 8 6-inch whole-wheat tortillas
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • Sour cream and guacamole for serving (optional)


  1. Mix pico de gallo ingredients in a large bowl. Let them stand for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours, to allow the flavours to come together. Taste and adjust the seasoning as you like.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer 3/4 cup pico de gallo to a small bowl, pressing extra liquid from the salsa with the back of a spoon, and set aside.
  3. Preheat your oven to 200°F (93°C) and place the melted butter and a pastry brush next to your stovetop.
  4. Brush one side of the tortillas with melted butter.
  5. Warm a griddle or medium nonstick skillet for 2 minutes over high heat. Reduce to medium and place 1 tortilla, buttered-side down, on the griddle. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Top with 3 tablespoons of strained pico de gallo, cover with another tortilla and brush the top with melted butter.
  6. Cook until the tortilla is browned, which should take about 2 minutes, and then flip. Brush top with more melted butter and cook for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until the bottom is browned. Flip again, cooking for 1 minute longer to brown the butter.
  7. Remove the quesadilla from the griddle. Transfer to a baking sheet and place it in the oven to stay warm. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, cheese and salsa.
  8. To serve, cut the quesadilla into quarters and serve with additional pico de gallo, sour cream and guacamole.
Suvir Saran

Suvir Saran

Suvir Saran, the Chef-Owner of The House of Celeste in Gurgaon, is Scroll Food’s Chef of the Month for August. A legend in New York’s food circles, Chef Suvir garnered a Michelin star at Devi, a first for Indian cuisine restaurants in North America. He is the chairman of Asian Culinary Studies for the Culinary Institute of America and has written three cookbooks: ‘Indian Home Cooking: A Fresh Introduction to Indian Food’, ‘American Masala: 125 New Classics from My Home Kitchen’ and ‘Masala Farm: Stories and Recipes from an Uncommon Life in the Country’. His fourth book, ‘Instamatic: A Chef’s Deeper More Thoughful Look into Today’s Instaworld’, released earlier this year. Chef Saran’s approachable style helped demystify Indian cuisine in the US and ultimately formed American Masala, his culinary philosophy that celebrates the best of Indian and American cooking.

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