Munch on sesame crunch chicken tacos with cos, avocado and zesty crema
It’s really hard to go past good Mexican food – the sheer vibrancy in both colour and flavour is a feast for the eyes and the tummy combined. Plus, what’s not to love about foods you can eat with one hand? Chef Paul Wilson has focused firmly on feel-good eats in Taqueria, a cookbook that features tacos, salsas and cocktails as the main event. In Taqueria, Paul explores regional flavours and specialities whilst playing with flavour, proving that there’s so much more to this country’s cuisine than lime and jalapenos. The book celebrates taco culture, showcasing the art behind these little parcels of love. What better way to say hola to Mexican cuisine than with a good old favourite like the taco? Far from humble, this recipe for sesame crunch chicken tacos with cos, avocado and zesty crema will have you rethinking everything you thought you knew about Mexican food.
12 homemade masa flour tortillas or store-bought tortillas
4 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon sea salt
500 g panko breadcrumbs
150 g sesame seeds
sunflower oil, for deep-frying
2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
500 g boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 2 cm pieces
1 whole cos lettuce, cut into 8 wedges
squeeze of lime
pinch of salt
1 small avocado, cut into wedges
250 ml low-fat sour cream
juice of 2 lemons
zest and juice of 2 limes
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
To prepare the chicken, add the beaten egg and salt to a shallow bowl and mix well. Add the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds to a separate shallow bowl and mix.
Half-fill a large heavy-based saucepan or deep-fryer with oil, set over medium heat and heat the oil to 180°C.
Combine the flour and spices in a plastic food bag, then add the chicken pieces, seal to close and shake together well to coat. Remove the coated chicken pieces from the bag and add them first to the beaten egg and then the breadcrumbs and sesame seed mixture. Fry the chicken pieces in batches for four minutes until golden and crispy. Remove using a slotted spoon or tongs and place on paper towel to drain, then transfer to the oven to keep warm.
Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over high heat. Lightly spray with oil and briefly fry the tortillas to warm them. Stack the tortillas, wrap them in a warm damp tea towel and set aside to keep warm.
Combine the salad ingredients in a bowl and toss together.
To make the crema, mix together the ingredients in a bowl.
To serve, transfer the warm tortillas onto taco stands or plates and top with a little of the salad, a few pieces of crispy chicken and spoonfuls of the zesty crema. Serve.
The chicken can be grilled with the same seasoning minus the breadcrumbs but won’t be as crispy. Dial up the flavours with some new salsas each time you prepare these tacos – I like a spicy peanut and sesame salsa or tomatillo verde – while if you really adore chilli, top it off with some fried dried arbol chilli pieces.
This is an edited extract from Taqueria by Paul Wilson, published by Hardie Grant Books and available in stores nationally. Photographer: © Chris Middleton.
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