Improve my chicken tacos

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by cookandeat, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. cookandeat

    cookandeat

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    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
     
  2. brianshaw

    brianshaw

    Messages:
    3,073
    Likes Received:
    335
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    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.
     
  3. cookandeat

    cookandeat

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    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?
     
  4. brianshaw

    brianshaw

    Messages:
    3,073
    Likes Received:
    335
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  5. berndy

    berndy

    Messages:
    639
    Likes Received:
    27
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Try some to put some cumin on your Chicken before you grill it.
     
  6. carpenter

    carpenter

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    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.
     
  7. cookandeat

    cookandeat

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Hmmmm I actually prefer the char and it goes really well with the lime juice. When they are microwaved they fall apart.
     
  8. brianshaw

    brianshaw

    Messages:
    3,073
    Likes Received:
    335
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  9. carpenter

    carpenter

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    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.
     
  10. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    176
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Every body above is right as their are at least 50 variations .
     
  11. cookandeat

    cookandeat

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    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
     
  12. cookandeat

    cookandeat

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  13. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

    Messages:
    4,998
    Likes Received:
    331
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    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!
     
  14. brianshaw

    brianshaw

    Messages:
    3,073
    Likes Received:
    335
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  15. brianshaw

    brianshaw

    Messages:
    3,073
    Likes Received:
    335
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    ... but as chefedb said...

    I'd even like your taco the way you originally described them!
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  16. chicagoterry

    chicagoterry

    Messages:
    963
    Likes Received:
    85
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    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.
     
  17. cookandeat

    cookandeat

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    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.
     
  18. cookandeat

    cookandeat

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I use breast meat and el milagro corn tortillas. Is that ok?
     
  19. chefbuba

    chefbuba

    Messages:
    2,238
    Likes Received:
    516
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    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.
     
  20. carpenter

    carpenter

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Try a bit of lard. Mmmm.