Do you need some peace and quiet? I am finding that food is a good way to accomplish that. When everyone is hungry, food in the mouth has a calming affect. Especially these delicious tacos. No talky, no more.
I don’t know about you but I just love tacos. I love them so much that you all are going to get sick of my taco posts. I love them every way they are made. Seriously. I have never met a taco that I didn’t like.
We love any Mexican food. My first, and only, visit to Texas was when my son graduated from boot camp. We went to San Antonio, Texas. While there, we did two very memorable things, (aside from screaming my sons name from the bleachers and acting like a crazy parent); The Riverwalk and Market Square. These tacos remind me a lot of how we ate at the Market Square. This market was filled with Mexican and Spanish influenced foods and shops. We, my husband and I, sat on a bench eating homemade foods; sausage and chalupas, homemade guacamole, salsa and chips, and of course ice cold Dos Equis beer. We watched an elderly lady dance for at least an hour. The band played and she danced. I wish I had that on film. Clearly, I was too busy stuffing my face full of the most delicious, homemade chalupas. Literally, we were eating street fare, singing, laughing and experiencing Mexico, right here in the USA.
There are so many great places to eat in America. We have so much diversity, when it comes to food. I just love learning how people eat from different countries. I can’t get enough of it.
Locally, we love to eat tacos at Barrio. Here is their website in case you live in Ohio and want to check them out: www.barrio-tacos.com
I don’t make any money for suggesting companies. I do it strictly to enhance my reader’s experiences.
Barrio is such a quaint place. Very trendy. But most importantly, Barrio has amazing tacos. They have a huge selection. They throw stuff on a taco that you would never think to eat and they do it with great success.
Now, I don’t have a fancy kitchen with tons of ingredients. I have come a long way though. There are things that I use now, that I would have never even looked at years ago. Mostly, out of necessity, I would pass things up that I thought to be exotic. I had children to feed. I couldn’t afford to buy this stuff. The thing is, deep down, I am an adventurous person. I love to try new foods, especially. I am not picky. If I see something that I want to try, then it will just scream at me until I do. There is nothing like sitting up at night and thinking about a food that I want to eat. I can’t be the only person that does this?
So what is my point here?
Frugal tip: When I see a recipe, I don’t run out and buy a bunch of ingredients. I look at the recipe and I find things in my pantry instead.
That is exactly how I make these Tako No Mo, Asian Tacos. The only ingredients that you must have are easily available. There are two things that I have in my house, that I would have just passed right up, when I was a younger cook.
Seriously!! Where have these ingredients been all my life? I use them religiously now. They are both spectacular. They make such an impact on flavor for so many meals. They are great in fried rice, egg rolls, wonton soup and these tacos. They both are great on any meat. I love to put it on grilled pineapple and mix it with grilled veggies and meat, then serve it over rice. They are both amazing in your ham glaze or pork rub. There are loads of health benefits to ginger. Ginger is known to improve immunity, sore throats, stuffy noses, etc.. So putting it in your soups when you are sick, could be a great way to naturally fight off the side affects.
I store my ginger in my freezer to keep it fresh. Frozen ginger grates easily as well.
Are we ready to make these?
For the chicken:
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs
2 cups BBQ Sauce (any kind)
Juice of one lime
2 teaspoons grated ginger (or 1 if you are not use to using ginger. It takes time to get use to the flavor)
2 teaspoons Chinese five spice
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons cumin
Sriracha to taste, or something with heat, like pepper flakes or cayenne (optional)
Mix all the ingredients with a whisk in a mixing bowl.
Cut chicken in to cubes or leave whole depending on which cooking method you go with. Me, personally, I like to grill the chicken whole and then dice it after it’s cooked. It’s 3 degrees in Ohio right now, so I went with the oven method. Therefore I cut my chicken in chunks
Put the chicken and half of the sauce in a zip lock, or a covered bowl, and let it marinate for as long as you can. If you don’t have time to marinate, it’s not a big deal but you still want to mix half the sauce with the chicken. Set the other half aside until later.
When you are ready to cook the chicken, heat your oven to 375 degrees, or start your grill. A crock pot is ok too. I am not a big fan of over cooked chicken breast but the thighs hold up well in a crock pot.
Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spread the chunks around. Or, throw your whole pieces on the grill. Now if you are grilling this, be careful because the sugars in the BBQ sauce burn easily. Or, of course, throw it in a crockpot.
Cook the chicken until thermometer, placed in the middle of the chicken, reaches 160 degrees.
If you are cooking in the oven, or crockpot, you will have a bunch of juices. I drain the juices into a small saucepan and cook it down until reduced in half. This step is very important. The sauce is where so much flavor is. If you cook down the liquid, you get even more of a concentrated flavor. I do this anytime I am cooking something with a sauce on it.
Once the liquid is reduced, I add, to the reduction, my other half of the BBQ sauce. Again, very important part. You are basically incorporating all these levels of flavor into a store bought BBQ sauce. You are not spending a lot of time on the other ingredients, so make this part shine. You want to cook this mixture for at least 5 minutes. The stickier your sauce the better. The longer you cook it, the stickier it becomes. It is still delicious if you are in a hurry and can’t cook it for awhile. If you are using a crockpot, you should be doing this with anything that requires a sauce. This technique is great when you are making General Tso’s Chicken in a crockpot. This final technique takes it from great to spectacular.
Once reduced and sticky, pour it over top your cooked chicken pieces. Stir it in the chicken is done.
For the slaw:
I cheated and bought this mix at Aldi:
Feel free to use whatever dressing it comes with. I have tried the Asian sesame one and it was really tasty. Last time I shopped they didn’t have that flavor so I made my own dressing.
You can easily make your own mix with cabbage, carrots, green onion, etc. But for $2.29, this was worth it for me.
I put the chopped salad in a bowl and added about 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and white wine vinegar, along with about a teaspoon of Chinese five spice and ginger. Then I added a small amount of sour cream. A large dollop of sour cream from my big tablespoon. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients. I’ve used other ingredients like lime juice. I don’t always have lime juice. I try to substitute an acid for an acid; a sweet for a sweet, etc. I have omitted the sour cream too. Be adventurous!
To assemble the tacos:
Using a very hot pan, you want to cook corn tortillas. You throw them in and wait until they start to bubble and steam. Then you flip the corn tortillas over and do the same on the other side. At this point, you have to really watch things. Things move quickly at this point. That is a good thing and a bad thing. Fast is good but fast means burn; and I mean you can really create a smoke-filled home in a minute. This is the part where you need to stay close to your stove.
Once the tortillas are done, you simply top with a couple hunks of chicken, some slaw and something crunchy. The slaw mix had crunchy stuff with it. However, I like crunchy lo mien noodles for this recipe. Use what you have but at least try the lo mien noodles once.
Then, finally, the last thing that I love to use but it is not 100% necessary, is fresh cilantro. It adds a whole new level to these tacos. I grow it in my garden. When it’s not garden season, I buy it every time I go to the store because it’s my favorite. It’s $1.00 at our local grocer. I would suggest, if you can’t get your hands on it for a reasonable price, forget about it. For this recipe, I keep the cilantro in big pieces. Yum!
For the picky eaters, they just ate tacos with chicken, the cheese from the mix and lo mien noodles. They ate several tacos though. That is just one more reason to love tacos. You can make them how you like them.