Another Chino-Tex-Mex fusion recipe for you. 1-because I am loving all things Chinese at the moment and 2-because I’m trying to use up everything in my fridge before I go on my jolly holidays. Seeing as I had an abundance of salad related items and plenty of Asian sauces and spices, this was a no-brainer. Crisp, refreshing herbs and sweet, zingy chicken are wrapped in a fluffy, soft taco. A more substantial version of duck pancakes if you like, this is a nice easy recipe, ready in about 15 minutes and absolutely lovely as a meal everyone can help themselves to.
Serves 2 (3-4 tacos each)
3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 fat garlic clove, grated
Small knob of ginger, grated
1 tsp five spice
½ tsp ground white pepper
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Spring onions, julienned
Cucumber, middle removed, julienned
¼ iceberg lettuce, shredded
Fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Extra hoisin sauce for dipping
6-8 soft tacos
Prep your vegetables. Julienne the cucumber and spring onions and place in a serving bowl. Finely shred the lettuce and place in a serving bowl
Heat 1 tsp oil in a wok over medium heat. Gently fry the chicken thighs for 5 minutes on each side until cooked through. Remove from the wok and place the chicken on a chopping board. Shred the meat with two forks then return to the wok with the garlic and ginger. Fry until the garlic and ginger become fragrant.
Add the five spice, hoisin and soy sauce. Stir well to combine and remove from the heat.
Microwave the tacos for 20-30 seconds so they become pliable and do not crack when assembling.
To assemble, place a handful of mixed vegetables on a taco then spoon some of the shredded hoisin chicken on top. Sprinkle with chopped coriander and extra hoisin if desired. Fold into a taco shape and apply to face!
I have included a recipe for homemade corn tortillas using masa harina which is a bit tricky to come by in the UK but is available in some international grocers or online. The flavour from this very fine cornmeal is unrivalled by anything you can buy in the shop and is totally worth a little extra effort. You can of course use shop bought tortillas – corn or flour – if you prefer.
The vegetables in the salsa are grilled to char them before blending which gives a sweetness to the onions and garlic and a deep flavour to the tomatoes.
Then there is the guacamole with creamy avocado and fresh citrus flavours. Splodged on top of zesty, spicy, smoky pulled chicken, what more do you need?
For the corn tortillas:
(Makes 12-24 depending on how generous you are)
150g/5½oz masa harina
100ml/3½fl oz cold water
1 tbsp olive oil
Mix the masa harina and salt in a bowl. Add the water and olive oil and mix until a smooth dough is achieved. (If it’s too sticky add a little more masa harina, or, if it’s too dry, add a drop more water.)
Divide the dough into 24 balls. Cover and leave to rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Flatten the balls of dough with your hands – alternatively, use a tortilla press or roll them between two layers of cling film. Flatten to approximately 3mm thick.
To cook the tortillas, lightly oil a flat griddle pan or frying pan and place over a hot heat.
Cook the tortillas for approximately one minute on each side, or until lightly coloured.
Cover in foil or with a damp towel until ready to serve.
For the spicy shredded chicken:
2 tsp celery salt
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 limes, zest and juice only
6 chicken thighs, skin removed
For the roasted tomato salsa:
6 tomatoes, halved
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
2 fat red or green chillies
2 tsp chipotle chilli paste
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small bunch coriander
2 limes, juice only
salt and pepper
For the guacamole:
3 ripe avocados
3 tbsp soured cream
½ lime, zest and juice
½ lemon, zest and juice
salt and pepper
To serve (optional):
Monterey Jack or strong cheddar cheese, grated
spring onions, finely chopped
fresh coriander, finely chopped
Fresh green salad
Method for the fillings:
For the spicy shredded chicken, preheat the oven to 180C.
Add all the dry ingredients and the lime juice and zest to a bowl. Stir to combine.
Pat dry the chicken thighs using kitchen paper and then place the chicken thighs into the bowl and coat in the spice mix.
Leave the chicken to marinate for at least an hour. Remove the chicken from the bowl, place the coated thighs on a foil lined baking tray and cook for 35 minutes, or until cooked through.
Meanwhile make the roasted tomato salsa. Preheat the grill to high. Place the tomatoes, red onion wedges, chillies and garlic onto a baking tray. Lightly brush with oil.
Place under the hot grill and cook until the tomato skins are blackened, approximately 10 minutes.
Place all the charred ingredients into a food processor with the chipotle paste, coriander and lime juice. Pulse until a chunky consistency is achieved. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.
For the guacamole, cut the avocados in half and remove the stone. Remove the flesh from the skin and roughly chop.
Place in a bowl and lightly crush using a fork. Add the soured cream, lemon and lime juice and zest. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.
For the spicy shredded chicken, once the chicken is cooked set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and shred.
To serve, simply place a dollop of whichever fillings you desire (I recommend a bit of everything… yolo) into your corn tortilla and apply to face!