Chicken tinga with tortillas

Sexy Mexy: Chicken tinga with tortillas.
Sexy Mexy: Chicken tinga with tortillas. Photo: William Meppem

Chefs are reinventing the taco, seeking a truer Mexican cuisine than that offered by stodgy beans and melted yellow cheese. One uniquely Mexican ingredient helping their quest is chipotle in adobo, a rich, dark, smoky, spicy sauce of smoke-dried, ripe jalapeno chillies. With it, we can add smoke and fire to the simplest of dishes. Like this fabulous chicken tinga of shredded chicken and onions simmered in chipotle and tomato sauce, ready to serve with tortillas, tacos, tosta


800g boneless chicken thighs or breast

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 onions, halved and finely sliced

4 garlic cloves, grated

400g canned tomatoes, chopped

1-2 canned chipotles in adobo, chopped

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp cinnamon stick or 1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp dried oregano

sea salt and pepper

handful of coriander leaves

tortillas, coriander, lemon, pepper and sour cream to serve


Small cans of chipotles in adobo are available from gourmet food stores such as The Essential Ingredient and Thomas Dux.


1. Place the chicken in a pot and add cold water to just cover. Add half a teaspoon of salt and bring gently to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat, cover and leave to steep for 30 minutes.

2. Heat the oil in a frypan, and cook the onions over medium heat until golden, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the tomatoes, chipotle in adobo, cumin, cinnamon stick, oregano, sea salt and pepper. Add 400 millilitres of the chicken cooking broth, and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Remove the chicken from the remaining broth (save broth for another dish), and shred the meat. Add the meat to the sauce and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat or until the liquid has almost evaporated, stirring occasionally.

4. Stir in the coriander, season well, and serve with hot tortillas (pan-fried on one side), coriander, lemon, pepper and sour cream.