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Improve my chicken tacos

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone. I love the more authentic chicken tacos taste. I use a very basic recipe that is very good. However I feel it needs a sauce (aioli) to bring it all together.

Current recipe:

Corn Tortillas (chared over the gas burner)
Grilled chicken seasoned with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.
Raw red onions
Diced tomatoes
Cilantro
Fresh squeezed lime juice
Queso Fresco cheese

Thanks,
Nate
post #2 of 25

Try another salsa - either green tomatillo, or roasted red chile, or chipolte - in addition or as an alternative to your faux pico de gallo to bring it together in a very auhtentic way.  Your taco is missing spice.  It can't be authentic without some chile pepper in it.  Consider adding avacado or mexican crema to cool the spice if needed.

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
I forgot to mention that I really love the cilantro and lime flavor and do not want to take away from that. Am I better off seasoning chicken more and going with a cilantro lime aioli?
post #4 of 25

Sure, but I wouldn't call that authentico. Aioli isn't eactly Mexican  :)

 

You could flavor some Mexican Crema (or even regular sour cream) also.

 

I'd add a ground red chile, like guajillo, to the chicken meat... and seriously consider a chopped roasted green chile, like Pasilla, to your aoli/crema sauce.

 

Niether should overpower your lime-cilantro orientation and would give the taco the kind of kick an autehntic taco should be delivering.

post #5 of 25

Try some to put some cumin on your Chicken before you grill it.

Every smoker quits smoking sooner or later!

Only the smart ones are doing it while they are still alive.

Wer den Pfennig nicht ehrt,

Ist des Talers nicht wehrt !

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Every smoker quits smoking sooner or later!

Only the smart ones are doing it while they are still alive.

Wer den Pfennig nicht ehrt,

Ist des Talers nicht wehrt !

Reply
post #6 of 25

I marinate the chicken in some olive oil, lime juice, cumin, onion, garlic, cilantro, serrano and whatever else I may have on hand. I prefer a dried chili salsa or even something like Tapatio with some raw onion and a bit of cilantro and maybe a squeeze of lime rather than the pico de gallo. 

 

Corn tortillas really suck charred over gas or on the barbecue and one should be hit if they microwave them(damn you Rick B) .  They are much better when cooked  on a comal or a dry pan. Watch how the Mexicans cook them and not the guy selling cook books.  Heat the pan, lay out the tortilla for a minute or so, flip, they should puff up a bit then flip again.  You want to see some brown spots.

 

A taco, IMO, is about the tortilla as much or more than the filling( like a pizza judged by it's crust).  If it takes more than three fingers to hold it then it's too big.  For a better chicken taco, take your left over chicken and chop it up and heat it in some oil and get a bit of color on it.  It's nice different sizes where some is soft and some has a bit of crunch.

 

Aioli?  I don't need no stinkin aioli.

post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hmmmm I actually prefer the char and it goes really well with the lime juice. When they are microwaved they fall apart.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by carpenter View Post

Corn tortillas really suck charred over gas or on the barbecue and one should be hit if they microwave them(damn you Rick B) .  They are much better when cooked  on a comal or a dry pan. Watch how the Mexicans cook them and not the guy selling cook books.  Heat the pan, lay out the tortilla for a minute or so, flip, they should puff up a bit then flip again.  You want to see some brown spots.

I didn't want to get into it because I know how passionate some folks are about gas-charring and microwaving corn tortillas... but carpenter is right: dry comal is the only way to go.

post #9 of 25

I've had them charred before and it seems to suck out more moisture than on a comal.  Try putting a cast iron or carbon pan on the grill for a bit of smokey taste.

post #10 of 25

Every body above is right as their are at least 50 variations .

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Carpenter,

I will definitely give the cast iron a shot. I guess the big thing that is missing from my taco is wetness which is why I brought up the aioli. I do use sour cream but it is still missing something. It's just a tad dry.

Nate
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post

Sure, but I wouldn't call that authentico. Aioli isn't eactly Mexican  smile.gif

You could flavor some Mexican Crema (or even regular sour cream) also.

I'd add a ground red chile, like guajillo, to the chicken meat... and seriously consider a chopped roasted green chile, like Pasilla, to your aoli/crema sauce.

Niether should overpower your lime-cilantro orientation and would give the taco the kind of kick an autehntic taco should be delivering.

I guess by authentic I was talking about the corn tortillas, cilantro and lime as that is how the Mexicans serve them in the taco trucks in IL. I do use some sour cream but I feel it's a tad dry. Maybe it just needs a marinade.
post #13 of 25

If I could throw my 5¢ in to the pot

I hear you about the 'wetness'

maybe it's the quality of the tortilla and/or dryness of the chicken?

are you using thigh or breast meat?  The meats here are ususally marinaded for hours.

we're pretty close to the boarder and it's all about the tortilla and the meat.  They're simple treats here, a couple of good, fresh corn tortillas, some kind of mystery meat, maybe some shredded cabbage or pickled onion, a squeeze of lime and that's about it.  I love it when they run down your arm, yum!

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by CookandEat View Post


I guess by authentic I was talking about the corn tortillas, cilantro and lime as that is how the Mexicans serve them in the taco trucks in IL. I do use some sour cream but I feel it's a tad dry. Maybe it just needs a marinade.

Taco trucks in IL... I can't imagine...  :)

 

Here in Los Angeles, a major city in Northern Mexico it often seems, we put salsa on our tacos to moisten them.  Every truck will have two or three salsas ranging from moderately hot to 3rd-degree-blistering-hot-your-tongue-won't-taste-a-thing-for-the-rest-of-the-week hot.  "Salsa, por favor" are the magic words if it isn't apparent where they are.  On our trucks the salsa is often on the end of the truck or a small table near the pick-up window... right next to the roasted jalapeno and pickled carrot.

post #15 of 25

... but as chefedb said...

 

I'd even like your taco the way you originally described them!

post #16 of 25

Another option is to make a chicken tinga to use as a taco filling. Shredded chicken in a tomato/chipotle in adobo sauce. There are lots of recipes for it around if you google it.

 

I often make my chicken tacos from a recipe out of an old/out of print Rick Bayless cookbook. It's sort of like a tinga but it's basically shredded chicken in a simmered tomatillo/serrano/cilantro salsa. Or I make chicken fajitas marinated in cumin, ancho chili powder, jalapenos or serranos, cilantro, garlic, salt and enough oil to make it into a paste. And I always make tomatillo salsa to go with it.

post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post

Taco trucks in IL... I can't imagine...  smile.gif

Here in Los Angeles, a major city in Northern Mexico it often seems, we put salsa on our tacos to moisten them.  Every truck will have two or three salsas ranging from moderately hot to 3rd-degree-blistering-hot-your-tongue-won't-taste-a-thing-for-the-rest-of-the-week hot.  "Salsa, por favor" are the magic words if it isn't apparent where they are.  On our trucks the salsa is often on the end of the truck or a small table near the pick-up window... right next to the roasted jalapeno and pickled carrot.

Not sure if you've heard about IL but besides LA and AZ they all come out here. We have three salsas too but I'm really looking for something to harmonize with the lime and preferably a dairy sauce.
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneohegirlinaz View Post

If I could throw my 5¢ in to the pot
I hear you about the 'wetness'
maybe it's the quality of the tortilla and/or dryness of the chicken?
are you using thigh or breast meat?  The meats here are ususally marinaded for hours.
we're pretty close to the boarder and it's all about the tortilla and the meat.  They're simple treats here, a couple of good, fresh corn tortillas, some kind of mystery meat, maybe some shredded cabbage or pickled onion, a squeeze of lime and that's about it.  I love it when they run down your arm, yum!

I use breast meat and el milagro corn tortillas. Is that ok?
post #19 of 25

This is my go to marinade for grilled chicken, cilantro, lime, garlic, olive oil, red chili flakes, s & p. Marinate over night, cook on the char grill, don't over cook.

 

Fire roasted salsa would go good with this also.

10 tomatillos, charred, 3-4 jalapenos, charred, 1 onion sliced into 3 rings, charred,  1 can stewed tomatoes, wizz all that up in the food processor, add cilantro, garlic, lime juice, Mexican oregano, s & p

 

Tortillas need to be soft, and doubled up. Hot pan, tiny bit of oil in the pan, wipe the oil up with the tortillas on both sides, then heat. Nothing worse than a dry tortilla.

That's my nickel's worth.

post #20 of 25

Try a bit of lard. Mmmm.

post #21 of 25

I don't consider it a taco unless there is oregano, cumin and chili in the meat.  Personally I'd never use chicken breast because it is very dry.  If you have to use chicken use thigh meat.  Otherwise you're better off slow cooking some pork shoulder and shredding that.  Anyway, you're looking for charred meat so all that is out.  Going that route you have no choice but to squirt on some kind of sauce for moisture.  Aoili sounds interesting, not authentic but I never give a toss about authentic.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #22 of 25

Posted by CookandEat View Post

I'm really looking for something to harmonize with the lime and preferably a dairy sauce.

 I'm not sure what you mean by harmonizing with the lime, but you may want to try a little bit of chopped onions, cilantro, and some sliced avocado, instead of a wet salsa.  Cebollas, cilantro, y poca pedas de aguacate.  Or, get the salsa cruda aka pico de gallo which (as I'm sure you know) is going to onions, tomato, cilantro and lime juice.  Lime and avocado is an ultimate pairing. 

 

As to a dairy sauce, just ask for una poca de crema.  Sometimes it will be fairly sweet and a little salty (crema), and sometimes it will be sour (crema agria).   Not knowing which you'll get is part of the adventure.

 

BDL

post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by CookandEat View Post
 but I'm really looking for something to harmonize with the lime and preferably a dairy sauce.

You might look into adding rajas con crema to your tacos.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

...  Or, get the salsa cruda aka pico de gallo which (as I'm sure you know) is going to onions, tomato, cilantro and lime juice. 

As it is, the OP is using these ingredients aleady, hence my earlier reference to "faux" pico de gallo.  Traditionally pico de gallo also includes chile - jalapeno or serrano.

post #25 of 25

If you must use chicken breast go with a wet marinade. I use a little oil, toasted cumin and mexican oregano, some chili flake for a little heat, and lime juice.  Grilling you are leaning more towards a fajita meat wise.

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