Chicken Tinga Tostadas

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Delicious chicken in a subtly spiced sauce on crisp corn tostadas, served with soured cream, lettuce and cheese – I don’t think you can get much better in my opinion!

If you follow my blog, you’ll know a couple of things about me; I am going through a Mexican food phase and fajitas are a staple in my house. My boyfriend, Rien, is obsessed with fajitas and would eat them everyday if he could. I am unashamed to say that I use a spice mix to make it a very quick and easy dinner for during the week.

I wasn’t holding out high hopes for his opinion of these Chicken Tinga Tostadas because of how much he loves the usual fajitas I make and I wasn’t sure if anything could compete with them. Once I’d made these tostadas, I was extremely happy with them as they tasted even better than I thought they would. I sat there waiting for Rien’s verdict and finally he said he thought they were delicious and even better than his beloved fajitas! Now to anyone else, this may not sound like much of a compliment; he thought the Chicken Tinga Tostadas were better than using a fajitas spice mix, wouldn’t that be obvious? Well no, not with Rien. He has a lot of positives, but he has quite simple tastes when it comes to food, bless him. He hadn’t heard of Camembert before we started dating and I’m pretty sure he hadn’t heard of a fig, let alone tried one. I am by no means adventurous with food as I am so fussy, but I have managed to introduce him to quite a few new foods; even if his favourite meal is still chicken and chips!

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I got this recipe from ‘Mexican The Cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arrote’ which is crammed with hundreds of authentic Mexican recipes. I’d heard of Chicken Tinga before and thought it sounded tasty so wanted to try this recipe. On a trip to Borough Market I went to the Cool Chile Company stall and stocked up on dried chillies and tostadas. I love this stall and stock up each time I go to Borough Market – or recently when Rien was in London for work, he picked me up some tostadas on the way home (I told you he had many positives!)

I’m sure you can get the ingredients in other places, for example I’ve seen dried chillies in supermarkets now. I am still yet to see tostadas in supermarkets, but they do sell mini tortillas. Although they tend to be made from wheat instead of corn, you could try toasting them slightly. They wouldn’t get as crisp as tostadas do and would be more like tacos, but they would still be as delicious so don’t let not being able to find tostadas put you off!

The original recipe used a whole chicken, but that would make an awful lot of Chicken Tinga, so instead I like to use two chicken breasts. This is enough for two people as a dinner and could be enough for 4-6 people as a starter. These tostadas do obviously take longer than cheats fajitas, but they taste amazing – definitely worth spending the extra time and effort. This is one of my favourite dishes at the moment.

I love all of the different flavours in this recipe without it being too hot. I used to think that if a recipe had chillies in it, then it would be really hot. Although some can obviously pack a punch, the chillies in this recipe add a great smoky flavour with only a slight warmth. Feel free to add a little bit more of the chillies in adobo sauce if you do want it a little spicier, or go easy with it if you prefer things really mild.

Make sure you read the whole recipe and make sure you have the ingredients before you start.

For the chicken
½ onion

2 chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 tsp sea salt

  1. Fill a medium pan with water and add the chicken, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary and salt to the pan

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  1. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and take the chicken out of the pan. Set the chicken aside and make sure you keep the cooking liquid

For the tinga sauce
3 large tomatoes

1 dried chipotle chiles, soaked and drained
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp diced chorizo
1 onion
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs 
1 tbsp chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp dried oregano
½ tsp sea salt
Pack of tostadas

  1. While you are waiting for the chicken to cool, make the tinga sauce. Preheat the oven to 200ºC and roast the tomatoes for 30 minutes
  2. Put the dried chili into a mug and cover completely with boiling water and allow to soak for 15 minutes

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  1. Once roasted and cooked, add the tomatoes, dried chili and garlic into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Strain the mixture into a bowl, discarding any skin and seeds, and set aside

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  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the chorizo, cooking over a low heat for five minutes

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  1. Add the onion and continue to cook for another 8 minutes until lightly browned
  2. Shred the chicken
  3. Add the garlic, tomato and chipotle mixture, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, salt and chipotles in adobo to the pan. Stir occasionally until the sauce has thickened
  4. Add the shredded chicken and approximately 150ml of the reserved poaching liquid and sugar. Cook for another 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the chicken is warmed through

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To finish
Tostadas
Soured cream
Shredded lettuce
Feta cheese (or cheddar if that’s all you have)

  1. Heat the tostadas for a couple of minutes on each side in a pan or in the oven. Spread each tostada with soured cream and then top with the chicken mixture. To finish, add shredded lettuce and crumble with feta

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