The Slightly Inauthentic Yet Delicious Taco Recipe
As a kid from Southern California, I love tacos. No matter where you’re from you’ll love tacos too. So I came up with an easy and relatively healthy taco recipe that requires little culinary experience. I guarantee that if you do this right, you will impress your friends. This recipe will feed 2–3 hungry people, but if you want more just double the proportions. Here’s what you’ll need:
2 chicken breasts
1 white onion
Fresh cilantro and basil
Yogurt or sour cream
Tobasco hot sauce
Spices: salt, pepper, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder
Queso fresco if you’re feeling wild
Prep: Chop up the white onion, basil, and cilantro.
Step 1: Cooking the chicken
Place the chicken breast in a high sided pan and submerge them in water. Turn the heat on high and let those bad boys cook. Usually, I let it come to a boil but make sure it doesn’t over boil. The chicken is going to turn into an ugly, white, unseasoned piece of poultry, but bear with me. The idea is to thoroughly cook the chicken but maintain the moisture. While this is happening, let’s move on to the sauce.
Step 2: Cilantro Sauce
In a blender, you’re going to mix 2 cups chopped cilantro, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped basil, 2 tbsp hot sauce, 3 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp mayo, and 2 tbsp sour cream (fat free yogurt can be substituted for my healthy people out there). If you want it to be extra spicy, you can double or triple up on the hot sauce or add chili flakes. In any case, blend all that goodness together until you don’t have any chunks of onion or cilantro. It should be a creamy-ish green purée. Taste it and add as you like!
Step 3: Back to the chicken
Now that we have our sauce, let’s check on the chicken. You need to confirm the chicken is cooked, I usually do this by taking two forks and kind of ripping into the breast to really get a good look at the insides. Once you’ve confirmed, empty the water and place the two chicken breasts in a mixing bowl. You will now shred the chicken with those two forks. This is where the manual labor comes in. The first time I did this, I was a true skeptic and probably a carpel tunnel syndrome candidate; HOWEVER now that I know the end result it’s all worth it. Leave some inconsistency in there, it doesn’t need to be finely shredded…you just don’t want any big clumpy pieces.
Step 4: Season the chicken
Now that your two chicken breasts are adequately shredded it’s time to season these guys. To the mixing bowl add half a tbsp of salt, pepper, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. If you’re feeling spicy again, go ahead and toss some chili flakes in there too. Take some tongs and mix it up, make sure that every shred of chicken is seasoned equally.
Step 5: Let’s bring it all together
Get a pan and add enough vegetable oil to lightly cover the bottom. Toss a few handfuls of the chopped onion you had leftover and let those cook for a good 30–60 seconds until slightly browned. Then throw the seasoned, shredded chicken into the pan and toss with the vegetable oil/onion mixture. The purpose of this is to really let the onion, oil and seasoning blend together. Don’t be afraid to try the food while you’re cooking, it’s the only way you can truly tell if the salt, pepper, spiciness etc. is to your liking. Once you’ve tossed and mixed the chicken around in the pan it’s time to serve.
Presentation is everything so we want to make sure to get the order of operations correct. Heat up the tortillas and add in the following order: first chicken across the middle, then dress it up with the cilantro sauce without soaking the tortilla. You want the tortilla to be a firm, mouth delivery shuttle. Then I like to garnish with raw chopped onion and cilantro to give it that freshness. Finally, you can top it off with some queso fresco which adds a creamy,salty texture to the taco that I really enjoy. Finish it all off with a squeeze of a lime and enjoy.