Chicken Tinga Tacos
Food happens to be the reason behind most things I do. Sometimes, I force myself to wake up for early morning meetings with the greed for a gourmet-fied cup of coffee, or fried egg on a bun. Some days you’ll find me hurrying to get through most of my task list, so I can carve out some time for lunch with coworkers at the park. A seldom suffers through repeat meals because I love cooking with fresh ingredients or repurposing left-overs. What I love love about Mexican food is that it allows me to do both. Between you and me, I could eat Mexican food all day every day.
Unfortunately, my first taste of Mexican food was quite a letdown. Granted, it was at a food court at the end of the day, but what I received was a hard shell taco filled with greasy beef strips, a mountain of shredded lettuce and what could only be some form of Cesar dressing. Oh, and processed cheddar. Yeah. But I really enjoyed the hard shell taco.
But then I had real Mexican food, and the incredible things some Mexican joints are doing with those flavors. Contemporary and fusion flavors in Texas and NY have blown me away and Toronto has a pretty wicked food scene, so it has also become a prominent feature on my menu.
Mexican food is said to be derived from Mayan Indians, who apparently used corn tortillas and bean paste as a staple but also ate wild game, fish and tropical fruits. The absence of white, starchy foods, that can be heavy on the simple carbs, make it an attractive option for meal planning as well. They’re a huge crowd pleaser, easy to make ahead and assemble later.
Although I enjoy the occasional enchiladas, burritos, tamales, quesadillas etc., I’m a sucker for good tacos, street corns and rancheros for breakfast. I used to wake up early on weekends to have “brunch” at a local market that made fresh churros to order, and chocolate chili paletas! Ok, so you get my point right?
I’ll fast forward to the recipe part now. I love the flavors of barbacoa and smoked carnitas. The toppings, fixings and their respective quantities can really enhance the overall flavor profile of this dish.
I tend to buy small sized corn tortillas, but feel free to experiment with making them at home. I can’t imagine them to be very different from ‘makkey ki roti’. Some of my favorite fixings are also the easiest things to make – green tomatillo salsa, lime crema, mango salsa, caramelized onions, purple cabbage slaw, guacamole (or simply chopped avocados) with a side of chopped cilantro, lime and scallions. Easy peasy! The lime crema and mango salsa really perk up the flavors and add that extra oomph, so try not to leave them out from our line up.
This recipe is for chicken tacos, but feel.free to make this using carne asada or pork carnitas. I promise you, it will become one of your favorites too.
(Recipe after the images)
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