This is the kind of fast food that I love to make and am happy to feed my family. Spicy chicken tacos are the tastiest way to a quick midweek supper. No take-aways required. Soft flour tortillas, crunchy fresh slaw, topped with succulent chicken and a drizzle of creamy buttermilk dressing. It’s like summer in your mouth. Muddle a frosty mojito and the party is on! This is Mexican style street food, with vibrant colours, textures and punchy flavours.
If you’re looking for speedy deliciousness with a healthy Tex-Mex kick, then these tacos are a quick and easy surefire-crowd pleaser. If you give it some heat, I’m almost sure you could have it done in under 15 minutes. It couldn’t be simpler. The chicken filling makes these tacos an altogether healthier option, but if you’re a die-hard red meat eater, rib-eye steak will be a good alternative. I’ve kept the salad ingredients fresh and simple, with shredded cabbage, red peppers and scallions. You could swap the cabbage for romaine lettuce and cucumber, if you prefer.
To keep the dressing light, I’ve added buttermilk and fresh lemon juice, which gives it a nice tang. The spice mix is key to this recipe. By mixing up your own blend, you get to decide what level of heat you’re after as everyone has a different tolerance level. This is not ‘blow your head off’ hot, but quite acceptable, even for children. Far from heavy and greasy, my Tex-Mex tacos are packed with goodness that’ll make this ‘wrap n roll’ a firm family favourite.
Taco spice mix
Enough for 2 servings
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
a pinch of red chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
a genroeus grinding of black pepper
Mix all the spices together and store in a spice jar or well sealed bottle.
Healthy chicken tacos with buttermilk dressing
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 free range chicken fillets, deboned and skinned
2-3 teaspoons taco spice mix
juice of half a lemon
half a small purple cabbage, finely shredded
half a small green cabbage, finely shredded
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into small dice
2 scallions, finely cut on the diagaonal
fresh parsley or coriander
extra red chilli, to serve (optional)
4 flour tortillas
lime or lemon wedges, to serve
For the dressing
3 tablespoons good quality mayonnaise (not salad dressing)
3 tablespoons buttermilk
a good spritz of lemon juice
a pinch of salt
Place all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Pour into a squeeze bottle for easy use.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the chicken fillets and season on both sides with the taco spice mix. Place in a non-metallic dish, cover with cling film and leave to marinade for a few minutes. If you have the time, leave overnight in the refrigerator.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add the chicken fillets once the oil is really hot. Brown on one side, season with a little more salt and turn over. Turn the heat down to a medium high and continue to cook until it is dark and caramelised on all sides. Spritz over the juice of half a lemon. Deglaze the pan with a splash of water and turn the chicken over to coat in the sauce. Remove the chicken from the pan and rest, covered, for 2 minutes before carving into slices. Scrape all the lovely pan juices over the chicken.
Heat the tortillas separately in a pan or for a few seconds in the microwave. If you’re heating the tortillas in the oven, remember to cover them tightly in foil to prevent drying out. To assemble, lay the tortillas out on a large board and start with a handful of purple and green cabbage. Follow with the chicken slices, red peppers, scallions, coriander or parsley and extra chilli, if you like. Drizzle over a generous amount of the buttermilk dressing, hit it with an extra squeeze of acid, fold up and tuck in!