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Who can resist the allure of a well-made taco? If you’re a fan of this iconic Mexican dish and have been wanting to try your hand at making it at home, you’re in the right place! Welcome to our guide on how to make Fresh Homemade Chicken Tacos.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of creating delicious, restaurant-quality chicken tacos right in your own kitchen. From the juiciest chicken filling to the freshest toppings and the perfect tortilla, we’ve got you covered. So, whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, get ready to embark on a culinary journey that will transport you straight to the heart of Mexico!
Fresh Homemade Chicken Tacos are a delight for the senses. The star of the dish is the chicken, which is typically marinated and cooked until it’s tender and bursting with flavor. The chicken is then nestled in a soft or crunchy tortilla and topped with a variety of fresh ingredients like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, and a squeeze of lime.
The result is a dish that’s a symphony of textures and flavors – the juiciness of the chicken, the crunch of the fresh vegetables, the creaminess of the cheese, and the tanginess of the lime all come together to create a truly satisfying eating experience.
As for its history, tacos are a traditional Mexican dish with a history that dates back many centuries. The exact origins of the taco are not known, but it’s believed that it was first created by Mexican silver miners in the 18th century. The term “taco” referred to the explosive charges they used to excavate the ore. These were pieces of paper wrapped around gunpowder and placed into holes carved in the rock.
Chicken tacos, like the ones we’re making in this guide, are a more recent innovation. They became popular as people started to experiment with different fillings for their tacos. Today, chicken tacos are loved not just in Mexico but all around the world. They’re a testament to the versatility and enduring appeal of Mexican cuisine.
For the Chicken:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2-4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
For the Tonkatsu Sauce:
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
For the Cabbage Slaw:
- ½ head green cabbage, thinly sliced
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1½ tablespoons rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 8 small flour tortillas
- Sesame seeds
- Thinly sliced scallions
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Lime wedges
- Fill a heavy-bottomed, high-sided skillet with about ½ inch of vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350°F (180°C).
- Place the chicken thighs on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Pound the chicken with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until all of the thighs are between ¼ and ⅓ inch thick. Season the flattened chicken on both sides with the salt.
- Add the panko, eggs, and flour to 3 separate shallow bowls. Coat each piece of chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess, then in the egg, then in the panko. Gently press the panko into the chicken to ensure a thick, even coating.
- Working in batches, carefully fry the chicken in the hot oil for about 2 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Set on paper towels to drain and immediately season lightly with salt.
- In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce to make the tonkatsu sauce. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage, mayonnaise, vinegar, and salt until well coated to make the cabbage slaw. Season with additional salt if needed. Set aside.
- Wrap the tortillas in a damp kitchen towel and microwave for 30 seconds.
- Slice the chicken thighs into ⅓-inch thick pieces. Place about half of a thigh's worth of meat onto a flour tortilla. Top with about ¼ cup of cabbage slaw, a drizzle of tonkatsu sauce, sesame seeds, scallions, and cilantro. Repeat with remaining chicken to make 8 tacos total. Serve with lime wedges alongside.
Panko bread crumbs are a key ingredient in this recipe. Originating from Japan, panko is a type of bread crumb that's known for its light, airy, and crispy texture. When used as a coating for the chicken, it results in a beautifully crispy and golden exterior that's a delight to bite into.
Tips and Tricks
- Be sure to pound the chicken to an even thickness. This ensures that it cooks evenly and stays juicy.
- When frying the chicken, don’t overcrowd the pan. This can lower the temperature of the oil and result in soggy, greasy chicken.
- Feel free to customize your tacos with your favorite toppings. Some other ideas include diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, or a dollop of sour cream.
Fresh Homemade Chicken Tacos are best served immediately while the chicken is still warm and crispy. Present them on a large platter, allowing everyone to see the vibrant colors and textures. Pair these tacos with a side of Mexican rice or a fresh salad for a complete meal. A cold beer or a tangy margarita would also complement the flavors of the tacos nicely.
As for variations, the possibilities are endless. You could switch up the protein and use beef, pork, or fish instead of chicken. For a vegetarian version, grilled vegetables or beans could be used.
You could also experiment with different sauces and toppings. For example, you could use a spicy salsa, a creamy avocado sauce, or even a tangy pineapple salsa for a sweet and savory twist.