I don’t believe in rules. I don’t believe in recipes.
There is no one recipe to make biryani. There is no right or wrong here. There’s just your way of making biryani and my way of making biryani. To say that biryani should be served with raita but not brinjal gothsu, without eggs, with Mirchi Salan, made in a dekchi, not in a pressure cooker, cooked together with meat, cooked separately, layered, mixed is to say there is just one true biryani out there. There are many, many delicious, splendid biryanis out there, each fundamentally or minutely different from the other. There is a place for each one of those biryanis. Anybody who talks about his idea of biryani being the only true biryani is a fool. I am sure a few fools come to your mind instantly. But this is not about the fools.
Kal dosai can go with korma or kadai paneer. Choosing to spend an hour alone in bed reading over spending an hour with family is legal. Butter chicken can go in a pita. FabIndia top and Pondy bazaar skirt can go together. Chicken thokku on ghee rice is a legit chicken-rice bowl. It’s ok to not want to compete. It’s wise even to let someone else win, to let them have the satisfaction. Dunking vadai in payasam, poori in sambar, mixing broken appalam into rice are all fair game. Purists may kindly go to hell. Don’t feel compelled to make sourdough bread for your Shakshuka or Butter Naan for your Mutton Rogan Josh. Wear saree to office, the sweater to the night show, skirt to visit your maamiyaar, shorts to drop off kids at classes and freak out other parents.
I made Mexican style chicken but I didn’t roll them up in tortillas or load them onto Tacos. I didn’t have these on hand. I served Mexican style chicken with regular steamed rice, Keerai masiyal (mashed lentil and greens) and stir-fried paneer for a south-Indian cum Mexican meal. No rules.
I was building up this entire post all along so you’d buy my Mexican chicken pairing with Keerai and rice. It’s ok if you choose a more conventional pairing. The Mexican style chicken is a winner any which way. I am sure you’ll be making this Mexican chicken on repeat mode.
This Mexican style shredded chicken is so incredibly flavourful and simple and quick to put together that I really was kicking myself for not having tried this before. It doesn’t get simpler than this. It takes just a handful of common place ingredients, a nice rub, a good sear in a well-greased pan, shred and toss together for a just saucy enough, juicy, flavour-packed chicken that can be scooped into tortillas, tacos, layered between bread or served alongside rice.
Mexican style chicken
- 350 gm Boneless Chicken (breast or thigh)
- 1 tsp Paprika powder
- 1-1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
- 1 tsp Cumin powder
- 2 tsp Crushed garlic
- 1 Lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp Black pepper powder
- 1 tbsp Tomato paste or tomato ketchup
- 1/2 tsp Sugar (optional)
- Salt to taste
- 2-3 tbsp Oil
- To a large bowl, add the chicken breasts/thighs. Add all ingredients except tomato paste, oil and sugar into the bowl. Rub well until the chicken pieces are well coated. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Heat a thick bottomed pan. Add oil to the pan. When the oil turns hot, place the spiced chicken pieces in the pan without crowding the pan. Sear the chicken on both sides and remove on to a plate. Continue to sear the rest of the chicken in batches. Allow the seared chicken to cool for 5 minutes. Then shred the chicken using a knife and fork.
- To the same pan, add the shredded chicken. Add the tomato puree/ketchup and sugar. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cook for 2 minutes or until the flavours have melded. Switch off. Scoop into tortillas, tacos, in between bread or serve alongside rice. Enjoy!