September 15, 2014
Chicken Tostadas ♥ It's good to know we are doing it right
Like everyone that eats Tex-Mex food such as tacos, tosdadas, enchiladas, burritos and fajitas to name a few, we have all tweaked them to satisfy our personal preferences.
Those dishes we can't make, we find a place that does and everything is good in the world. I suppose that the majority of us have no idea if we are even eating authentic Tex-Mex the way they did when Texas was part of the Mexican territory.
Being overly curious about such things I decided to look into the history of tostadas.
Tostada is a Spanish word which literally means "toasted". It is used in Latin America to name several different traditional local dishes which only have in common the fact they are toasted or uses a toasted ingredient as the main base of its preparation. Note there's a gender difference between "tostada" (feminine) and "tostado" (masculine). Despite the fact both terms means exactly the same (toasted), tostado is used in reference of a specific degree of toast, (coffee, roasted grains and seeds or bread toast) while tostada is usually the name of a particular dish.
In Mexico it refers to a flat or bowl-shaped (like a bread bowl) tortilla that is toasted or deep fried. It also refers to the finished dish using a tostada as a base. It is consumed alone, as a salty snack known as nachos, in Tex-Mex cuisine, or used a base for other foods. Corn tortillas are the ones usually used to make tostadas, although in some regions it is possible, but rare, find tostadas made of wheat flour.
Tostada initially has its origin in the need to avoid waste when tortillas went stale, no longer fresh enough to be rolled into tacos, but still fresh enough to eat. The old tortilla is submersed into boiling oil until becomes golden, rigid and crunchy, like a traditional slice of toast bread (hence the reason of its name). Then is served alone as companion for different kinds of Mexican food, mostly seafood, and spicy stews, such as Menudo, Birria and Pozole. This last one is usually accompanied with tostadas dipped in acidified cream.
An extremely popular way to eat tostadas in Mexico is as a dish of its own. Beans, cheese, acidified cream, chopped lettuce, sliced onions and salsa are spread onto the tostadas like an "open faced" rigid taco, mostly like a pizza. Then is finally topped with the main ingredient, usually meat cooked and chopped specially to dress the tostada. In most cases, is cooked chicken meat or pork. The "Tostada de Pata" (chopped pork fingers in conserve) has become an icon of Mexican tostadas, and it is found in almost every place where tostadas are prepared. As a general rule, due to the flat and fragile body of the tostada, the main topping must be sticky or pasty enough to stay on top. This helps prevent the other toppings or garnishes from falling off while it's being eaten, although due its natural fragility, tostadas have the tendency to break noisily when eaten.
In addition to ingredients typically used as taco fillings, tostadas are also extremely popular topped with seafood, such as cooked tuna, shrimp, crab, chopped octopus and ceviche or as companion for spicy shrimp stew.
Wow, I like the idea of octopus or crab but other than that, that I guess in this world of fast food convenience, the tostada has remained the same.
I admit that I was layering the ingredients wrong so with this batch I did it the right way. I put the chicken on top of the beans, queso blanco, lettuce, pico and avocado and used the sriracha crema as the sticky glue to hold everything in place.
I liked the new set-up. Usually all the toppings would fall off as soon as I took a bite and I just wasn't a fan (like making a taco with those useless hard taco shells).
There really is no recipe here, nothing special with the food. I used leftover roasted chicken, homemade black refried beans, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, Wholly Guacamole and a sriracha sour cream. A final snowing of queso blanco and pico for garnish and my dinner was done.
I would spray the tortillas with a spray and then bake them in the oven until they are crispy brown.
I seasoned mine with Adobo to give them some flavor but I think a packet of taco seasonings would also work well.
A fairly healthy meal if you use vegetarian refried beans (or homemade) and use grilled or roasted meats.
These are the perfect vehicle for using leftovers and I don't know anyone that does not like crunchy, spicy, creamy, and sweet.
Consider changing your boxed taco night to a tostadas party and save the ground chuck for spaghetti and meatballs.