Puffy tacos, napa chicken salad & tomatillo verde

Puffy tacos, napa chicken salad & tomatillo verde

Chris Middleton

I’ve been fortunate to represent Tourism Victoria at many events in the United States. One such trip to San Francisco was where I first encountered – what the Melbourne food media has dubbed – Cal/Mex food, a kind of fusion of authentic Mexican flavours with American locavore spirit. There were many new, fun, produce-focused and really tasty dishes, all of which helped to inspire this chicken salad served in crispy, buttery taco shells with lashings of tomatillo verde. These tacos can be cooked well ahead of time and reheated for a minute in the oven as required.


Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Tlayudas dough
plain flour, for dusting
sunflower oil, for deep-frying
125ml Tomatillo verde
80g salted ricotta or hard goat’s cheese, finely chopped
lime, to garnish (optional)

Napa chicken salad

Quantity Ingredient
1 smoked boneless, skinless chicken breast, finely shredded
1/3 head napa or chinese cabbage, very finely shredded
70g butternut pumpkin, finely shredded
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 breakfast radishes
1 small handful flat-leaf parsley
1 small handful tarragon leaves
80ml Latin vinaigrette


  1. Roll your dough into 30 g balls. Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough out into 7 cm discs, approximately 1 cm thick.
  2. If you don’t have a special taco frying basket, simply drape the discs over a wooden spoon and pinch the ends together. Place in the freezer for 10–15 minutes to firm up.
  3. Meanwhile, to prepare the salad, combine all of the ingredients, except the dressing, in a medium bowl.
  4. Half-fill a medium heavy-based saucepan with oil and heat to 180°C.
  5. Arrange the tacos, ends facing upwards, into the oil and place a sheet of folded aluminium foil on top. (This applies just enough pressure to maintain the shape of the tacos.) Cook for about 3–4 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Lightly season with salt. If some tacos are still sealed, simply cut through them with a pair of scissors.
  6. Add the dressing to the salad and toss to coat.
  7. To assemble, spoon a little of the tomatillo verde in the tacos, top with a small pile of chicken salad and sprinkle generously with cheese. Alternatively, place the tacos on a serving plate and everything else in separate serving bowls and invite your guests to build their own tacos. Add other condiments such as jalapeños, avocado, chopped iceberg lettuce, and a squeeze of lime, if desired.

* Tips

  • These tacos are great with left-over roast chicken or cooked prawns and Jalapeño & lime crema.
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