Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chicken Tacos with Quick Pickled Onions and Avocado Crema

So, I know I've said it before, but man do I love tacos.  And I think that the rest of DC must agree with me because there has been an EXPLOSION of taco shops.  Everything from Asian-style tacos, to traditional shops.  I squealed with delight when I saw that near me, there was a new taqueria opening up.  Yeah, I'm irrational.  But so are people who don't love tacos.  Just take my word for it.

Back to the DC area tacos. Some of my favorites, in case you're ever here:

Pica Taco (2 locations, Florida & 14th NW and Columbia & Harvard NW) - This place is legit.  Traditional tacos that have never failed me.  And when questioned by others who say, Jenn, you don't know real tacos.  Well fine, but my friend Melissa who has lived in both Texas and California says they make her homesick.  SO TAKE THAT.  I'd recommend the barbacoa and fish tacos.  Plus, they have forever made me love radishes as a topping on tacos.  Why did I never do this before?

El Centro DF (14th and S NW) - Richard Sandoval, a prominent Latin American chef/restauranteur who has several other fabulous spots, opened this place not too long ago.  And their tacos rock.  The fish tacos here are really fantastic.  Crsipy, but moist, with an excellent sauce.  And as an excellent pair, I'd recommend their take on a Mexican mojito, which is made with a spicy tequila rather than rum.  It's definitely a more upscale place, but still has a great vibe.  They also have an excellent happy hour up on the roofdeck, which includes their guacamole, which in my opinion is the best in DC.

Far East Taco Grill (It's a truck, you gotta find it) - I would be remiss if I omitted perhaps my favorite food truck.  Far East Taco Grill does a riff on Korean tacos, including an array of toppings, meats (or tofu) and sauces.  You can choose from kimchi to sauteed onions, pork or tofu...there are endless combinations.  And for 3 tacos for $8 it's a steal.  Because believe me, you will be more full than you can imagine.

So, as an homage (maybe?) to all the lovely tacos, I decided to make some tacos.  As a nod to Asian tacos, I used sriracha and as a nod to Pica, I used radishes, which make the most awesome crunch in tacos.  Rather than the classic guacamole, I made some quick avocado crema, which is simply Greek yogurt, avocado, a touch of white vinegar and honey and boom.  You got yourself some SAUCE.

These tacos are really easy to put together and the whole meal can come together in less than an hour, which makes it a great weeknight meal.  You can put whatever you'd like in yours.  But this combo was pretty amazing.


Quick Pickled Onions
1/2 C fresh orange juice - like from an orange, NOT in a bottle, so about 1 orange
1/4 C fresh lime juice - about 2 limes
1 T sugar
1 T coriander seeds
1 red onion

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t black pepper
1 T olive oil
1 T sriracha

Avocado Crema
2 avocados
1 T white vinegar
1 C 0% fat greek yogurt
1/2 T honey
Salt and pepper to taste

8 corn tortillas

Juice the orange and limes.

Combine the orange juice, lime juice, sugar and coriander.  Stir well until the sugar dissolves.

Slice the onion very thinly.  I'd recommend using a mandoline.   If you have no idea what I'm talking about this is a mandoline, and in fact the exact same one I own and use.
Image via Kohl's

It's like $20 and will make slicing things thinly IMMENSELY easier. 

ANYWHO, like I said, slice the onions thinly. 

 Add to a pot and fill with water and bring the onions to a boil. 

Drain immediately once the onions come to a boil.  Add to the juice mixture and chill until you need to serve the tacos.  I'd give it at least a half an hour. 

Cut the chicken thighs into about 1" strips.   Season with the cumin, chili powder and pepper.  

Heat up the olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high.  Once the oil is shimmering add the chicken.  After 2 minutes, add the 1 T of sriracha.  Stir constantly until cooked through, or about 10 minutes. 

Cut the radishes in half and then slice in about 1/4" pieces. 

Peel and cut the avocados and add to a bowl.  Add all the remaining ingredients and combine well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk well to combine. 

All of the ingredients should now be ready!

Spread the crema on the tortillas, add the chicken, onions, radishes and a dash of sriracha if you like it hot!  Serve and enjoy.  

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