The kids and I just fell in love with the cuisine of a local food truck. "Chow Truck" has the best Asian tacos. The addiction was immediate. In fact, we hunted down the Chow Truck three times in one week. The tacos were so fresh and flavorful.
I just love it when East meets West.
I tried to re-create the chicken tacos from Chow Truck and came up with this recipe version.
I think it's a great idea to have a pantry stocked full of "Asian" food staples. The best and least expensive place to purchase these items is at an Asian market.
You will need the following: Sambal (chili sauce), which has some serious heat. Soy sauce, Sweet red chili sauce and coconut milk. I seriously purchase coconut milk by the case. I'm quite partial to the "Mae Ploy" brand, but any brand will work.
Fresh ginger and lemon grass.
A plateful of chicken. I'm using 5 chicken thighs and 4 chicken breasts.
Yes. The thighs are higher in fat, BUT I want the chicken to be moist not dry. Another fact is that I am pouring an entire can of coconut milk over the chicken, so what's a little more fat.
I am using a crock pot to cook the chicken in. You can use a heavy pot with a lid and cook in a low temperature oven, if you'd prefer.
Pour in the entire can of coconut milk.
Add 1/4 cup soy sauce.
1/4 cup of the Sweet red chili sauce.
1 tablespoon of the Sambal hot chili sauce. I can take the heat. If you can't, just omit this fabulous addition.
Ohhhhh about 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of fresh chopped ginger.
I love ginger so I don't hold back.
Cut about a 4-inch piece of the lemon grass.
Make some cuts in the lemon grass with a knife. I like to get the flavors released by using the back of my knife and giving the lemon grass a few hits.
Whisk the ingredients together.
Toss in the lemon grass.
I like to brown the chicken first. You can pan sear the chicken pieces or throw it on the grill for a few minutes. I grilled mine because just seemed easier at the moment.
Place the browned chicken into the coconut milk mixture. Stir to coat the chicken.
Place a lid on the crock pot and cook on high heat for about 4 hours. You can cook the chicken low and slow for 8-10 hours. If you are using an oven, cook for 4-6 hours at 300 degrees.
The chicken has been simmering for about 4 hours on high heat in my crock pot. It has started to fall apart.
Remove the lemon grass and discard.
Take two forks and pull the chicken apart.
You want the chicken to be shredded.
Place the lid back on the crock pot and continue to cook while preparing the slaw topping.
This slaw topping is the best part. It add such a great crunch to the taco. I love it!
You will need 1/2 head of cabbage, one red pepper, a 4-inch piece of cucumber, shredded carrots, rice vinegar, sugar and lime.
Pour 2 tablespoons of the rice vinegar into a small mixing bowl.
Add 2 teaspoons of sugar.
Whisk to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.
Cut the half head of cabbage into half. (get it?)
Remove the core from the cabbage.
Using a knife or a food slicer, but the cabbage into thin slices.
Place in a large bowl. Set aside.
You can shred your own carrot, but I just happen to have a bag of pre-shredded carrots. I'm using it.
Grab a handful and throw it into the bowl of cabbage.
Slice one red pepper.
Add to the cabbage and carrots.
Cut a 4-5 inch piece of cucumber.
Slice the cucumber into circles.
Stack the circles and slice into little match stick pieces. You can adjust the amounts of all the slaw ingredients to your own personal taste. I pretty much just chop and toss.
I'm using mint. Oh, I forgot to mention the mint.
You don't have to use mint. I just have it growing in my garden. You can use cilantro or Thai basil.
Wow! What if you used all three? The combination of mint, cilantro and Thai basil would be fabulous. I'm doing that next time.
Slice the mint into strips...or whatever.
Toss the ingredients together.
Pour the vinegar mixture over the slaw and toss.
Slice the lime into wedges. I like to give my taco a little squeeze.
This is how I steam my corn tortillas.
Pour one teaspoon of water into a microwave safe dish that has a lid.
Take a stack of corn tortillas. I plan on two tortillas per taco. You do the math for however many you will be serving.
Place a clean cloth in the baking dish and add the tortillas.
Fold the towel over the tortillas and cover with a lid.
Place in a microwave for 2 minutes. Remove from the microwave and let stand for about 5 minutes.
Uncover and the tortillas will be hot and steamy.
To serve: Take two hot tortillas and place about 1/3 cup of the chicken down the center.
Top with a heaping scoop of the cabbage slaw.
Drizzle with more of the sweet red chili sauce and a squeeze of lime.
Look at me! I'm giving my taco a squeeze of Sriracha. I'm not afraid of the heat.
I think this looks pretty darn fabulous if I do say so myself.
Coconut Ginger Tacos are a light summer meal. I'm really digging the cabbage slaw on top...really.
Coconut Ginger Tacos
1 15 oz can of coconut milk
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sweet red chili sauce
1 tablespoons Sambal hot chili sauce
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
1 4-inch piece of lemon grass.
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
24 corn tortillas
In the bowl of a crock pot or a heavy pot with a lid, add coconut milk, soy, sweet chili sauce, hot chili sauce, ginger. Cut slits in the piece of lemon grass and add it to the coconut mixture. Stir to combine. Lightly brown chicken in a skillet or on a grill. Add the the coconut milk mixture and cook in a crock pot on high for 4 hours or low heat for 8-10 hours. If using an oven, slow roast on 300 degrees for 4-6 hours.
Once the chicken has cooked, remove the piece of lemon grass and discard. Using two forks, shred the chicken. Keep warm until ready to use.
Cabbage slaw topping:
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
1 red pepper, slice
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup cucumber, cut into matchstick slices
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
In a small bowl combine the vinegar and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside. In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, red pepper, carrot, cucumber and mint. Pour the vinegar mixture over the slaw and toss.
In a microwave safe bowl with a lid, place 1 teaspoon of water. Line the dish with a clean towel and place the tortillas in the towel. Fold the towel over the tortillas, cover and microwave for 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and let stand for 5 minutes.
To serve: Remove two steamed tortillas. Fill with a heaping spoonful of chicken top with cabbage slaw, sweet red chili sauce and a squeeze of lime.
This should easily make 12 tacos. Maybe even more. The cooked chicken can be frozen for up to 1 week, if you are likely to have leftovers.
Let me know if you enjoy this fusion of East and West.