These tasty little Yucatan treats start with homemade ‘tortillas’ that are topped with pulled chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, ‘pickled’ onions, avocados and jalapeños.
The ‘tortillas’ are made with corn ‘masa’, to which a small amount of wheat flour (for texture), salt and water are added. The resulting dough is kneaded, the hands continually dipped in water, until it is able to form a small ball without cracking.
The ball is placed onto a tortilla press and squished. Note that this press is covered with saran wrap to keep the dough from sticking. If it doesn’t work too well (and it didn’t in our class), the little tortillas can be formed by patting and pinching, the old-fashioned way. I suspect that waxed paper might work better.
In the meantime the chicken was prepared by butterflying the breasts, and marinating them in a mixture of bitter orange and achiote paste for at least an hour (or even overnight). It was cooked in a frypan until done, and then shredded—once it had cooled down of course!
The ‘pickled onion’ was also prepared ahead of time. First a purple onion was julienned. Then, in a shallow bowl, the onion was marinated in a mixture of bitter orange, Mexican oregano, salt and white vinegar for at least an hour or so.
When everything was pre-prepped, the little ‘tortillas’ were deep fried, causing them to puff up and turn slightly golden. Once each batch was done, they were placed on paper towel to remove excess oil, and then put in oven to keep warm.
To serve, the warm tortillas were topped with a few pieces of romaine lettuce, shredded marinated chicken, wedges of tomato, avocado, marinated red onion and a ring or two of pickled jalapeño.
These little treats were like a trip to Mexico without all the hassle of flying and I suspect it was the hand-pinched tortillas that did most of the transporting.
Chef Rossana is on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MiMetate