Homemade Authentic Chicken Taco Recipe

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homemade chicken taco

Homemade Chicken Taco

Chicago is well known for having the best Mexican food in the world, but it seems as if the line between tex-mex and authentic Mexican cuisine is being blurred more and more. Most people don’t even know what authentic Mexican tacos really are. They actually are very different from tex mex style tacos. The blurring of culinary lines began in the 1970s during the massive migration of Mexican immigrants to the US. At that time, Mexico’s economy was very weak and jobs were hard to obtain. The immigrants flocked to ethnically friendly cities like San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, and New York City. Texas and Northern Mexicans had always shared a similar cuisine which later formed into tex mex, but authentic Mexican food was a whole new concept to Americans.

Tex mex is very different from Mexican, and some of these differences may surprise you. Burritos, nachos, fajitas, and quesadillas aren’t Mexican at all – they are all tex mex. Real Mexican food also doesn’t really use cheese, olives, ground beef, lettuce, or tomato since these ingredients are all very expensive and hard to come by in Mexico. Authentic Mexican street foods like tacos pretty much only use lime, cilantro, onion, and occasionally some crema (a thin sour cream) for toppings. The meat is also spiced much heavier than tex mex tacos since the meat is the main focus of the taco. If you aren’t familiar with authentic cooking methods for tacos, just follow these guidelines.

Preparing the chicken:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • 1 handful of chopped cilantro
  • 1 bulb onion diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2T cooking oil
  • 1t ground cumin
  • 1t sea salt
  • 1t chili powder
  • 1t ground cayenne pepper

Using a very sharp knife, disjoint the chicken at all joints and cut into pieces. Peel the skin off and remove all bones and tendons. Cut the chicken meat into 1 inch pieces. Combine all ingredients in a Ziploc bag and marinate overnight.

Prepare the toppings:

  • 1 bulb onion finely diced
  • 1 handful of chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime cut into 8 wedges

Using a sharp knife, cut up each topping and set aside. Remove the chicken, yellow or white corn tortilla, and crema from the fridge and let sit until it reaches room temperature.

Cook the meat:
Heat up a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chicken mix in the skillet and sauté until the chicken is cooked through. Stir and flip the chicken frequently.

Prepare and serve:
Turn the burner on your stove to medium heat. Place two tortillas on top of each other and place on the burner. Once the bottom starts turning brown, flip the tortilla stack and heat until the other side begins turning brown. Separate the tortillas onto a plate with the uncooked side faced up. Slather a small amount of crema on the tortillas. Add meat on top of the crema. Sprinkle on the fresh cilantro and onion. Squeeze the lime juice onto the tacos and serve.

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