Food by VICE

Chicken Tinga Recipe

This spicy, smoky shredded chicken recipe is perfect paired with homemade corn tortillas.

by Jessica Moran
Apr 19 2019, 1:00pm

Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Servings: 6
Prep time: 120 minutes
Total time: 1 hour and 30 minutes


for the tortillas:
2 cups|232 grams instant corn masa flour
1 ¾ cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons lard
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

for the chicken tinga:
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 pounds|950 grams)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 small yellow onion, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 medium Spanish onions, thinly sliced
4 vine-ripe tomatoes, cored and diced
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 (7-ounce|200 gram) can la morena chipotle in adobo sauce

for the garnish:
crema mexicana
cotija cheese
radish slices
cilantro leaves


1. Make the chicken tinga: Place the chicken in a large saucepan with ½ teaspoon salt, the black pepper, garlic, bay leaf, and yellow onion. Cover completely with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cover. Cook until tender and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes, then strain, saving the cooking liquid. Discard the garlic, bay leaf, and onion and cool the chicken, then shred it.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add the onions and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, the tomatoes, boullion, cumin, and white pepper and cook for 5 minutes more, or until the tomatoes are soft. Add the shredded chicken and the chipotle peppers with their liquid and cook for 3 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

3. Make the tortillas: In a large bowl, combine the 1 ¾ cups of the reserved chicken cooking liquid, the masa, lard, and salt. Mix well to form a play-dough-like consistency, then divide into 12 equal-sized balls. Cover with a damp towel.

4. Cut 2 circles from a plastic bag the same size as your tortilla press. Place one ball of dough in the middle of the tortilla press and press down, creating a tortilla. Lift the tortilla and rotate it 1/4, then press it down again. Do this 4 times until it is an even thickness.

5. Heat a comal or nonstick skillet over medium-high and cook the tortillas, flipping once, until charred and puffed, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a board and wrap in a dish towel to keep warm.

6. Heat the oven to 350°F. Place the tortillas on a baking sheet and bake until crispy, 15 minutes. To serve, top tortillas with the chicken tinga and garnish with some crema, radishes, cheese, and cilantro.

corn tortillas
homemade corn tortillas