Fresh and made from scratch with your own two hands, this interpretation of chicken tacos has just the right kick of spice. You'll need to plan ahead before making this recipe, as some ingredients may need to be purchased online.
- 2 ancho chillies (see note) or 2 tsp ground chilli
- 280 ml warm water
- 160 g (1⅔ cups) yellow corn masa flour (see note)
- 1 tsp salt
- vegetable oil, to deep-fry
- 4 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
- 3 vine-ripened tomatoes, finely chopped
- chopped jalapeños, coriander leaves and grated queso fresco (see note), to serve
- 3 spring onions, chopped
- ½ cup coriander leaves and stems, chopped
- 1 long green chilli, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 3 avocados
- 2 limes, juiced
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 800 g (about 4) chicken breast fillets
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 red capsicum, chopped
- 3 jalapeños or long green chillies, seeded, finely chopped
- 1 cup coriander leaves and stems, chopped
- 800 g can tomatillos (see note), drained
- 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make shredded chicken, heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then cook for 3 minutes each side or until golden. Transfer to a plate.
Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in same pan, then add onion, garlic, capsicum and jalapeños. Cook for 8 minutes or until softened. Add coriander leaves and stems, tomatillos, stock and chicken to pan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked and tender.
Remove from heat and rest for 10 minutes. Using 2 forks, shred chicken. Return to sauce and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
To make guacamole, process spring onions, coriander leaves and stems, chilli and garlic in a food processor until chopped. Add avocado flesh, lime juice, salt and white pepper. Process until combined. Transfer to a bowl, cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. Makes 2 cups.
To make tacos, place ancho chillies in a frying pan over low heat and toast, turning, for 5 minutes or until skin starts to darken; do not allow to blacken. Remove from heat. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard seeds. Tear chillies. Using a mortar and pestle, grind chillies until finely ground.
Place the warm water in a bowl and add flour, ground ancho chillies and the salt. Stir until mixture forms a soft dough, adding a little more water if necessary. Divide into 6 balls and cover with plastic wrap.
Using a 12 cm tortilla press, flatten each ball between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. (Alternatively, using a rolling pin, roll each ball between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to 12 cm rounds.)
Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds). Working with 1 tortilla at a time, drop tortillas into oil and fry, pressing lightly in the centre to form a bowl shape, for 45 seconds or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
To assemble, divide lettuce and tomato among tacos, and top with chicken, guacamole, jalapeños, coriander and queso fresco.
• Ancho chillies are from Herbie’s Spices (herbies.com.au), Monterey Mexican Foods (montereyfoods.com.au) and Fireworks Foods (fireworksfoods.com.au).
• Queso fresco is a soft, mild cheese made from cow’s milk. Substitute mozzarella.
• Masa flour is a fine flour made from corn. Tomatillos look like small green tomatoes but are slightly tart. Both are from selected delis and Fireworks Foods (fireworksfoods.com.au).
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 14, pg86.
Photography by Derek Swalwell