Tostadas: the mysterious things that they are, apparently. To me, a tostada is as common as a taco. However, there are surprisingly many who have no idea what it is. I kid you not. This strange occurence has happened to me many times. In many different grocery stores, might I add. The worst was a store manager that directed me to first refrigerated uncooked flour tortillas, then refrigerated tamales, and finally to the bakery and gave me a stack of bowls for a salad. Shockingly, I described a tostada to him about 5 times. I ended finding them in an isle with the chips, without any help. This was right after I was told by this manager that all of a sudden remembered that they discontinued them years ago. Crazy. Just crazy. I’ll spare you from the details of the other times I’ve asked where to find tostadas at a grocery store…
All this to say- if you’re reading this, and you’ve never had a tostada, stop right now and go get one. This not-knowing-what-a-tostada-is phenomenon must end.
Given that both my parents are Hispanic, I grew up in a home where my mother made Hispanic style food every single day. You might think burritos. Not quite. My mother would make sure there was rice and beans everyday, as well as a constant supply of tortillas. Whatever meal she decided to make, the rice, beans, and tortillas would compliment the meal. My father is a farmer, so naturally they always used their own peppers to make sauces and such. She made everything from scratch: enchiladas, sopes, tamales, bistec, pozole, caldos, mole, tostadas etc.
Now that I am married, I try to cook like my mother does, which I must admit, doesn’t always turn out the same… I’ve come to the conclusion that as unique as people are, so is their cooking. I’ll master mine sooner or later.
My comfort foods are quite different than the comfort foods of my husbands. Here, I’ll share the recipe to one of mine: Chicken Tostadas. When the weather gets warmer, I tend to prepare more dinners that aren’t eaten hot, and can be made ahead to avoid cooking in the heat of the day, like tostadas.
The tostadas themselves you can purchase in a store, if you don’t want to make them. Trust me, they’re there. Or you can opt to make them, like my mother and I like to do.
To make the tostadas, pour cooking oil of your choice into a frying pan, about an inch high. I avoid canola oil and vegetable oil, and recommend grape seed oil. Heat to medium, or until a small piece of bread browns quickly without burning. If it takes to long, it will soak up oil, and you don’t want that. It’s gross, trust me. Have a flat plate next to the pan lined with paper towels or napkins to catch excess oil. Fry each tortilla until golden in color. Fry for a minute or two on each side. You can make these ahead and store in an air tight container.
For the chicken mixture , start out by boiling about a pound of chicken with one bay leaf, two cloves of crushed garlic, and salt. My personal preference is to use chicken breast, but any part of chicken will work great. This is a type of meal that will work great if you forget to defrost your meat. Frozen meat will work fine. Cook thighs and dark meat for approximately 20 mins, and breasts for approximately 30 mins. Add approximately 10 mins to each if you’re starting out frozen. Bring to a boil, then to a steady simmer.
Meanwhile that’s cooking, cut up about a cup each of: potato, carrot, and zucchini. The smaller the chunks, the better.
Once chicken is cooked fully through, pull it out and place it on a plate to cool. Use two forks to shred your chicken, and set aside.
Pour your veggies into the boiling chicken broth. The key is to NOT over cook the veggies. About 5-7 mins. Taste a piece to make sure they’re semi-soft, but not crunchy. Once done, immediately rinse them in cold water to stop cooking.
Meanwhile veggies cook, cut up about 1 cup of lettuce into small bits. I recommend sturdy lettuce, like hearts of romaine. Squish lime juice over it, and toss it together. Don’t be afraid to put too much, the lime juice will give it a fresh flavor. About one lime should suffice.
Add lettuce, cold veggies, chicken, one can of sweet whole corn, 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, and 1/2 cup of sour cream. I recommend Best Foods mayonnaise, it simply tastes the best. I only buy that “bad Best Foods mayo” for certain things, this is one of them. If you don’t have it on hand, I like to mix a 1/2 cup sour cream with a 1/2 cup of any alternative mayonnaise. Season with lots of salt and pepper, and extra lime juice if you wish.
Top tostadas with a nice helping of the chicken mixture. I always use hot sauce and slices of avacado as toppings. Feel free to have fun with your tostadas! I’ve tried toppings such as pickled jalapeños and pickled spicy onions, just to name a few. That’s what’s fun about tostadas, the endless combination of toppings. See? Tostadas are awesome. All should know about them.