If you haven’t noticed, Mexican food is something I adore. It’s right up there with French cuisine, which I think is my ultimate favorite. Mexican food is pure comfort because of the ingredients; beans and rice, grilled meat of some kind, and a warm tortilla to wrap it all up. Even if you weren’t raised in California, I can definitely see how Mexican food would become a favorite pretty fast, because it’s so addicting.
When I was young I started my Mexican food journey with ground beef tacos, which were pretty Gringo, if you ask me. Then, after further exposure to good Mexican restaurants I created enchiladas and burritos at home, nothing fancy – just tortillas filled with shredded chicken or beef, beans, cheese and green chilies. Then, I had a private tamale lesson in my young twenties with a Hispanic girl who used to work for my in-laws. Looking back, it was a pretty special event because there weren’t Mexican cooking classes available like today. She taught me how to make masa from scratch, and a saucy pork filling made with dried chilies and shredded meat. We spent the entire day making tamales and freezing them for a later date – it was pretty cool.
Things are different today. Most people don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, but they do want authentic food that tastes homemade. Grilling chicken rubbed with dried herbs and spices is an easy start to a homemade tostada. If you don’t have a grill, or if weather doesn’t permit, a grill pan will do the trick right on top of the stove. Canned beans with some spices added, and freshly steamed rice from your pantry, will add an additional tasty layer. My Mexican Coleslaw piled on top will be the finale, making this tostada divine, maybe not traditional, but worth every bite.
3-4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, divided
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
1 1/2 cups canned black beans, drained
4 flour tortillas
Mexican Coleslaw or shredded cabbage tossed with crema & lime
oil for cooking
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, optional
1 lime, sliced
- Remove chicken from packaging and pat dry, set aside. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon cumin, onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, cayenne and black pepper. Sprinkle spices on all sides of chicken.
- Preheat grill pan over medium-high heat and drizzle with oil. After 3 minutes, add chicken and cook for 6-7 minutes. Flip over and grill second side for 5 minutes. Remove chicken and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
- In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon oil and place over medium heat. After 2 minutes, add tortilla and cook until golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip over and cook other side for 1 minute. Remove and place on paper towel lined plate.
- In a small microwave safe bowl, mash beans slightly with fork. Add remaining cumin, salt and 1 tablespoon water, stir until incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes, remove.
- Begin layering tostadas by starting with a tortilla, then beans, sliced chicken, rice and top with slaw and cilantro. A squeeze of lime too. Enjoy!