Tostada literally means “toasted” in Spanish. It’s a corn tortilla that’s fried until crisp, drained and then used as a base for toppings. It’s a nice little twist on a crunchy taco because it’s more versatile and you can fit more toppings on it! The best part about tostadas is they’re quick and great with leftovers. If you’ve made a big batch of frijoles, make these and use up some of that pinto beany goodness.
Can I also just say that these are amazing when made fresh? They’ve got nothing on those stale-grease pre-made shells from that old-company-that-shall-not-be-named.
Ingredients you’ll need
Corn tortillas (I get the 10pk Woolies home brand and they’re fine.)
A cast iron pan for frying
Your choice of topping
Have all your toppings ready and set aside. Get your pan nice and hot, then add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom, maybe 1cm deep.
Add your first tortilla to the hot pan with some heat-proof tongs and flip immediately, then back. Keep turning occasionally after this, and carefully, until it’s golden brown evenly on both sides. As long as your pan is hot enough, they should only take a couple of minutes until golden. Pick them up with your tongs delicately, as they should be crisp and prone to cracking now and place on a plate prepared with paper towels to drain. Set aside and repeat process until you have enough shells for your guests.
Once they’re all done and are cool enough to handle, spread a thin layer of refried beans to the base. You want to do this because this will act as a tasty adhesive for more toppings. After this is done, get creative! Add your favourite crumbly or shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, sour cream and hot sauce. Try them with shredded chicken, carnitas, seasoned beef mince, avocado, onions, salsa, prawns, the possibilities are endless!
How easy was that? The only thing left to do, is eat and enjoy your delicious tostadas.
(Pictured: hubby @wombat1974)
Tacos in general are traditionally made with corn tortillas. One nice thing about the corn tortilla is it’s naturally gluten free. Please check your labels to be sure. Some companies put weird ingredients in everything.
If you’ve tried corn tortillas and haven’t liked them before, like my mother-in-law, try using them in different ways. I’ll show you how and hopefully convert you! If my mother-in-law can be converted, anyone can. I take this as proof that miracles can happen.
A pack of corn tortillas found in the “ethnic” food aisle at your local major grocery store or at the specialty stores located on my Where to Buy page. Please, don’t get the Old El Paso brand, the home brand is actually better.
Actually, while I’m at it, please don’t buy Old El Paso anything. Have I mentioned how much I loathe baked enchiladas? No wait, I take that back. The only thing you may buy from Old El Paso are their jarred, sliced jalapeños. Ha-la-pen-yoes. Say it with me.
Chicken breast chunks seasoned in granulated garlic, cumin and pepper and “dry fried” in lemon juice (instead of oil.)
Light sour cream and cheese optional, but tasty.
1. Cut your chicken breasts into small to medium sized chunks and dry fry in your preferred seasonings and lemon juice. It doesn’t need to be fried in oil because it doesn’t need the extra fat. Like my hips. I like granulated garlic, it’s different from garlic powder which is awful, ground cumin and pepper. When just cooked, put in a bowl and set aside.
2. Heat a large cast iron fry pan on medium-high heat and coat the bottom liberally with vegetable oil. Please don’t skimp on this part or your tacos will not be crispy, only toasted.
3. With frying tongs, put in your first corn tortilla and coat in oil.
4. Flip after a few seconds, when soft. This is so that they’re pliable enough to fold without breaking.
5. Add some of the cooked chicken in a row, just off center so there’s room to fold.
6. Fold and repeat until your pan can’t hold anymore.
7. When one side is crisp, flip with your tongs and fry the other side until also crisp.
8. When both sides are adequately crispy, remove with tongs onto a serving plate with a few paper towels spread over it to drain the excess oil away. Be careful when flipping or removing, the juices from the chicken, when dripped into the oil in the pan can bubble and splash hot oil onto your hands. You’ll probably need to give your stove a wipe down after as well. I never promised they wouldn’t be messy, just easy. Like Al’s mum.
9. Repeat until you’ve made as many tacos as you need for dinner. Two medium chicken breasts should make 10-12 tacos.
When they’re all done, add cheese and sour cream if using, add your shredded lettuce and douse with Tapatio or your favourite hot sauce. But really, you should be using Tapatio. They’ll stay crisp through dinner, but should be eaten straight away.
Other topping ideas: If you don’t want to go the cheese and sour cream route, you can add a fresh tomato salsa, a salsa verde, black beans or pinto beans, diced radishes, jalapeños, cilantro/coriander with fresh onion and lime juice or any combination of these so they never get boring. If you want to use something else besides chicken, try some mince beef with the same seasoning or make some carnitas.
That’s it! Invite some friends over, crack open your favourite dark ale and enjoy!
Tapatio (pronounced “Tah-pah-tee-o”) signifies a person originating from Guadalajara, a city in the heart of Mexico.
If you’ve been to a Mad Mex recently, you’ll be familiar with the hot sauce they provide on every table. Forget that fire water/vinegar stuff. Get this. Tapatio is full of flavour and mild enough that even my husband likes it! It was introduced to me by my “I-eat-chile-with-every-meal” father. I take that as a sign of a good quality hot sauce.
There are of course other good commercial hot sauces available, some based on chipotle (dried, smoked jalapeños) or habanero, but those who value flavour over intolerable high heats should thoroughly enjoy this hot sauce.
Disclaimer: Not endorsed by Mad Mex, Tapatio nor do I have a vendetta against Tabasco.