Thursday, July 09, 2015

Chicken Taco Salad

Are you a fan of the Batman trilogy?! 

I am! A HUGE fan!! 

Why do I ask, you may think.... 

Because I'm going to quote Alfred Pennyworth

"Why do we fall Sir? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.

I had to do just that today. Picking myself up after falling quite a few times in the kitchen. Not literally but metaphorically. 

It was one of those days- hot n humid, again not the right weather to be working in the kitchen but you know me, gotta cook to keep the soul happy. My heart was set on on a Taco Salad. the flavours of Mexico still ruling my mind, I needed that delicious chicken loading my fork with salad and the crunchy taco chips and that bold dressing. The perfect bite! A Summer boon! 

So here I was, trying to make me something Gooooooooodd (read it Jim Carrey's voice) and the Kitchen Gods won't co-operate. 

But hey! Setbacks are just nature's way of seeing how determined you are. Right from the moment I started gathering ingredients for this salad until I finally got to eat it..... wait, let me share what happened. 

Firstly I had to go to 4 different places in the city to find avocados. Usually they are in stock everywhere but today- nope! nada! Nowhere to be found! I finally sourced them from a vegetable vendor, and got 3 of them cause they looked nice and ripe. 

Came home and started my prep. Wanted to use home made baked taco chips and tried to make everything from scratch twice and yes, burnt them both the times!! I usually make them at home and they turn out perfectly well. Guess I shouldn't have turned my eyes from the oven even for a second! Had to use ready tortilla chips. 

I couldn't find my knife that I use to cut meats and so couldn't chop my chicken the way I wanted. 

Then I thought that my bottle of ranch dressing was finished and so I made a whole batch of ranch dressing from scratch. I had salsa lying in the fridge and I still used plain ole hot sauce

The worst part, I cut open the avocados, they were raw on the outside and almost rotten on the inside. What a waste! All three of them.

Despite this, yes, I still cooked! Despite this, I kept going. I went out again to find avocados and finally found one that was almost perfect. The ready tortilla chips were reeeallllyyy yum(ofcourse!), the chicken tasted like da bomb (yikes! I used those words) so who cares about how evenly it was cut. And that dressing, it was just perfect for the salad! If you're still reading this, keep reading for the recipe. 




Side note: I feel so much better after the rant. Thank you for hearing me out. Thank you for your patience. 


Serves: 2 (easily double, triple the recipe)

Time taken: 30 mins

Complexity: **


You'll need

2 chicken breasts (mine were small, one big would suffice for 2 people) 
favourite mexican spice rub (details below) 
1/2 head lettuce, chopped/ torn
2-3 scallions, sliced thin with greens
1 cup corn kernels
1 tomato, diced
1 avocado, diced
Cheese of your choice, I used Monterey Jack
Coriander leaves
Tortilla chips/ nachos/ even crispy flatbread would work great
1/3 cup ranch dressing 
2 tbsp hot sauce/ salsa
oil to cook chicken
Pinch of love 

Mexican spice rub

salt
cayenne/ paprika
roasted n ground cumin
dried oregano
Garlic powder
Lemon zest


Method

I began by marinating the chicken first. Using the clean and dry chicken breasts (you can use thighs too ofcourse) I sprinkled all those spices, herbs and lemon zest over it and massaged it thoroughly. Covering it I set it aside. If you're going to take more than 15 mins to make the salad, I would suggest you refrigerate the chicken. 



I then started to make the tortilla chips by cutting up tortillas in triangles. 



Adding olive oil, about 1 tbsp 



adding some cajun seasoning+ paprika or whatever seasoning you like



Grating some cheese over it



Mixing it all and laying them out on a baking tray. Line them up so they don't overlap.



Bake for 10-12 min on 170C or 350F till they turn golden and crispy. 



The result should be like this, 



But it came out like this. 



Even the second time. It was an oven-timer issue. I have it sorted out now. 



To make your dressing, use about third of a cup of ready ranch dressing or use freshly made one, whatever you think is easy. Add salsa to it or hot sauce. 



Mix them both. Look at the swirl design.... Its pretty, isn't it?! 



Mix till the dressing becomes a pale coral colour. Add in chives/ parsley/ cilantro whatever fresh herbs you want to. I didn't because my ranch mix already had chives in them 



To cook the chicken, drizzle some oil in a skillet on medium heat. 



When the oil gets hot in a couple of minutes, add the chicken to the skillet. You should hear a sizzle. Thats how you know the pan is at the right temperature. 



Cook chicken on both sides for around 3 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken breast. Let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing into it. 



Slice the chicken into 1/2" cubes and toss the chicken in any juices that have escaped. 




In the same skillet- look at these yummmy chicken juices. Liquid gold baby, liquid gold!! 



Add in the corn on a medium high heat. 



Saute till its all coated in those fantabulous chicken juices and coloured well, should take around 3-4 minutes on medium high heat. 



To assemble to salad, lay down the lettuce in a plate/ bowl- the fresh and almost sweet juicy green



Lay down the chicken cubes next



Then come the tomatoes



And the avocados



Grate some cheese over this. Cheese = yummm, repeat after me, cheese= yummm



Throw in some beautifully delicious golden corn. I kept popping this in my mouth while I was plating it up, couldn't stop! So darn good! 




Some cilantro/ coriander leaves for that fresh earthy fragrant flavour




Smash some tortilla chips over the salad.....mmmm.... that yummalicious cheesy crunch! 



Second to last, the scallions




Lastly drizzle over that dressing, and grate some more cheese. Remember? Cheese = yummm!! 



Et voila!! 




Taco salad ready!! 



The real question is- are you ready for it?! That explosion of flavours, textures, colours - food heaven!! 



Indulge! 










(Adapted recipe)




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