When most of my friends from BU think of tacos, they think hard shell lettuce-topped cream-and-cheese-sprinkled mince-meat-filled hard shells served with chips, guac and salsa on the side. Contrary to their belief, those are not tacos.Let start with the basics. There is no such as a "hard shell" in Mexico. A crispy tortilla, otherwise known as a "tostada" is flat and served with beans, cheese, and chicken (or other variations), but you will most likely never see an u-shaped hard shell in an authentic Mexican plate.
That being said, a tacos is really just a corn tortilla wrapped around your choice of meat. Usually there is no lettuce, cream or cheese involved. But, there's also another type of taco, which some people call "flautas." I'm talking about shredded chicken rolled up in a tortilla and fried until perfectly crispy. These are served with lettuce, cream, cheese, guac, and salsa.
So there you have it, Mexican cuisine 101.
Yesterday my roommate wanted a Mexican dinner, so I decided to go all out and make her chicken tacos, rice, beans, and pico de gallo from scratch (with Trader Joe's guac since I couldn't find ripe avocados).
I wasn't able to find corn tortillas, so I substituted with flour ones, but ideally the tacos would have corn tortillas, and the rice would be red.
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 white onion cut into chunks
- 1 shallot cut into big pieces
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- Chile powder to taste
- S & P
- Place onion, shallots and chicken breasts in a large pot and cover with water. Add cumin, chili powder and S & P.
- Cover pot and bring water to a boil, getting rid of any foam if necessary.
- Reduce heat and simmer with pot slightly uncovered until chicken is cooked through, about 30 mins.
- Remove chicken from water and let cool on a plate. Shred chicken with fingers.
- Place about 4 tablespoons of chicken on each tortilla (depending on the size) and roll, securing with a toothpick.
- Heat canola oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Fry each taco until golden. Remove tacos from oil and pat down with paper towels before serving.
Pico de Gallo
- 4 large tomatoes
- 1/2 onion (I used red, but white works as well)
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Chile powder or jalapenos (optional)
- S & P
- Cut tomatoes into 1 inch cubes (or smaller if you want the pico to be more like salsa) and place in a large bowl. Finely chop onion and add to tomatoes. Add cilantro, lime juice and olive oil. Mix well.
- Add chile powder and S & P to taste. Mix well. Serve or reserve in the fridge for later.
I took the rice recipe from Epicurious. Quick and easy Mexican White Rice