Recipe: Mexican Tostadas

Alright, Mexican food happens to be a specialty for me. I mean…I am, after all, Mexican-American. There are two things I feel defines a culture pretty well- music and food. Mexican food is beloved the world over because it’s just delicious. Growing up, I almost never had the opportunity to eat at Mexican restaurants because we would just eat that food normally at home; not to mention we were too poor to eat out at restaurants most the time. But at home, and at neighbors homes, we always had the best Mexican food anyway. When you eat out at a Mexican restaurant in the US (or anywhere not Mexico) 9 times out of 10 you are getting the Americanized version of Mexican food.

  • The sauces are pretty much wrong. 
  • The hard tacos are wrong. 
  • Burritos are wrong (for the most part). 
  • Chips are wrong. 
  • Yellow cheese (in some places they use yellow cheese) is wrong. 

Don’t get me wrong, all of those things are delicious in their own right. But they are not Mexican food. Mexican restaurants serve what most American tongues want to taste. There’s nothing wrong with that either. It’s business. But it’s mostly a Tex-Mex variety of food you’ll get if you go to a Mexican restaurant.Mexican food is so much better than what you will get in a Mexican restaurant.

So, I am going to give you a recipe to make one of my favorite foods, tostadas.  Tostadas are delicious and I’m not exactly sure how to describe them. We eat these as regular meal but we also eat these during special occasions. Though special occasions usually include other foods such as carnitas, chicharron, asada, frijoles charras, and a number of other sides. So here goes! I hope you enjoy them!

Chicken Tostadas

Yields: 6 servings

Prep: 45 mins

Cook: 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 12- Corn Tortillas (or Pre-made Tostada Tortillas found at a Latino Grocery Store)
  • 2 cups- Vegetable oil for frying (any oil will do)
  • 1- whole chicken organs, neck, and backbone removed. 
  • 1/3 cup- squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup- cilantro (also known as coriander)
  • 1 tbs -salt and pepper
  • 3 tbs-olive oil
  • 2 cans of refried beans (You can make your own but this is the easier route)
  • 3 cups- Queso Fresco (found at Latino Grocery Store) or Monterrey Jack or (if nothing else) Mozzarella Cheese shredded
  • 1 -small head of cabbage shredded
  • 2- avocados thinly sliced
  • Crema Mexicana, creme Fraiche, or sour cream
  • Your favorite salsa to taste
  • You can always vary the recipe by adding other ingredients such as shredded carrots or using shrimp. 

Directions

  1. If you could not find Pre-made Tostada Tortillas, heat a deep frying pan over medium heat t. Add the two cups of vegetable oil to a deep frying pan and heat to 375 degrees F or 176 C. Add the tortillas one at a time  and fry until golden brown and crispy about 1.5 minutes. Use tongs to transfer the fried tortillas to a paper towel-lines pan and sprinkle with salt. Set aside. (The tortillas must be fried until very crispy). 
  2.  Add the chicken to a large pot and cover with water. Boil the chicken until cooked…about 30-35 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool. Remove the meat from the bones and shred using two forks. In a small bowl, mix together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup of cilantro. Add the chicken and toss well. Cover and set aside. 
  3. To assemble the tostadas, evenly spread refried beans on each tortilla and top with cheese. At this point you may melt the cheese if you desire by broiling the tortillas in the oven on a baking sheet for 30 seconds. I don’t do this. Instead I move on to the next step.
  4. Evenly mound chicken on each tortilla and top with cabbage. Top this with avocado, salsa, and cream. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves and add a bit more cheese if you’d like. Place two tostadas on each plate…that makes a serving. 
  5.  Serve immediately and enjoy! 

If you want to make your own raw salsa…

  1. In a small bowl mix together chopped up tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Boom…salsa cruda.

If you want to make your own refried beans…

  1.  Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, cilantro, and cumin. Cook, stirring, until light brown…about 2 minutes.
  2. Add freshly minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Add cooked, smashed beans and stir frequently until thick and amber brown…about 4 minutes.
  4. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.

 I hope you enjoy these! 

J Harvey

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