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May 14, 2015

Cemita Poblana with Pork Milanesa

Cemita Poblana with Pork Milanesa

This Cemita Poblana is based on a regional Mexican sandwich from the historic city and state of Puebla located southeast of Mexico City. It is distinguished by its sesame seed roll.

I loved this sandwich! It's soooo good! The flavors of the layered fillings give it an amazing depth of flavor. There are no extraneous ingredients, such as lettuce, to fill out the sandwich. It stands on its own.

Cemita Poblana with Pork Milanesa

Fillings typically include avocado, marinated vegetables and chipotles in adobo, meat such as a "milanesa" cutlet (meat that is smashed, breaded, and pan fried), tinga, or carnitas, and a queso blanco such as Panela.

The sandwich also includes palapo, a regional Mexican herb that is usually not available elsewhere. I substituted arugula for the palapo. I've also seen recipes that use a mixture of arugula and mint, cilantro, or fresh basil.

Cemita Poblana with Pork Milanesa

After making these amazing Cemita Rolls, I definitely had to try making this sandwich.

Fun facts:

  • Cemita is derived from Semite, and the bread has its roots from the Middle East. 
  • Milanesa is a term used for breaded cutlets, and refers to its Italian heritage. I used pork, but you can prepare beef, veal, or chicken Milanesa for these sandwiches.
  • Mexico's European heritage is not just Spanish

Cemita Poblana with Pork Milanesa

These sandwiches are all about the layering of flavors. Fortunately, in southern California, we have lots of hole-in-the-wall restaurants that serve every kind of ethnic food available, including cemitas. I'm really hoping that these Mexican sandwiches catch on. They are really tasty. In the meantime, here's my version. 

Cemita Poblana with Pork Milanesa Recipe

For two sandwiches


2 5-ounce boneless pork chops, sprinkled with sugar and marinated in balsamic or apple cider vinegar overnight (I used balsamic)
1/2 C flour (I used harina preparada por tortillas) and/or bread crumbs or masa harina
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, scrambled
Peanut or vegetable oil for frying
Cemita Rolls, or good quality sesame seed kaiser style rolls
1/2 ripe avocado, sliced or smashed
2 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
Thinly sliced onions, carrots, and sweet peppers, marinated overnight in vinegar and sugar to taste (you can substitute fresh onions and peppers)
2 ounces shredded queso panela or mozzarella cheese


  1. Pound the pork chops to flatten them to 1/2 inch or less.
  2. Mix the flour or harina with salt and pepper and place it on a shallow plate.
  3. Dip the pork chops into the flour, dip it into the scrambled egg, and dip in the breadcrumbs or back into the flour or masa harina (I used the harina preparada por tortillas instead of the breadcrumbs or masa). Set aside.
  4. Heat a skillet over high heat and add oil to 1/4 inch. The oil should reach a temperature of 325 degrees F. You can test a small piece of pork to see if it sizzles. 
  5. Fry the pork in the pan for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through, and place on a plate. Cover with foil.
  6. Slice the bread in half, scoop out some of the bread from the top half to make more room for the fillings, and broil in a grill pan or oven until lightly browned. 
  7. Build the sandwiches, beginning with the avocado, chipotles, vegetables, pork, queso, and arugula. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. Karen, what an amazing sandwich! I had never heard of it, and now I am craving it..... 😏

    1. Thanks Sally! It's very regional, and a lot of my Mexican friends aren't familiar with cemitas. I was so happy with this sandwich and highly recommend it =)

    2. I just know Phil would LOVE it! The bread is amazing too, so you really went the extra mile with this post...

  2. This looks amazing! I've never heard of cemitas, I'm glad you shared this.

  3. Ooohhh - I recently learned how to make these at a cooking class I attended, but didn't have an actual recipe. Can't wait to give this a try!

  4. For the flour it says "(I used harina preparada por tortillas) and/or bread crumbs or masa harina". I'm a bit confused about what "harina preparada por tortillas" is. I would have thought it was masa harina, but the quoted sentence indicates that must be something else. Is it masarepa? Thanks.

    1. Masa harina is fine for this. What I used was wheat tortilla masa.

  5. Well the real cemitas goes with Oaxaca cheese and papalo this is what gives the flavor of a real cemitas💯👌👍


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