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Popcorn chicken tacos with blue cheese-buttermilk dressing

Celery heart salad and fried chicken give these tacos an unexpected crunch.

You'll need

4 boneless chicken thighs, skin on, cut into bite-sized pieces 375 ml (1½ cups) buttermilk 1 tsp Tabasco, or to taste 225 gm rice flour 75 gm (½ cup) self-raising flour For deep-frying: vegetable oil 1 celery heart, thinly sliced   Yellow corn tortillas 250 gm (1¾ cups) yellow masa flour (see note)   Blue cheese and buttermilk dressing 125 ml (½ cup) buttermilk 125 gm good-quality mayonnaise 40 gm Danish blue cheese, coarsely chopped 2 golden shallots, finely chopped Juice of ½ lime Pinch of cayenne pepper 1 tbsp each coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley and dill


  • 01
  • Combine chicken, buttermilk and Tabasco in a bowl and refrigerate to marinate (1 hour).
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for yellow corn tortillas, combine flour, 330ml hot water and a large pinch of salt in a bowl and mix with your hands until a soft dough forms. Cover closely with plastic wrap and set aside to rest (15 minutes). Divide dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls. Line a tortilla press (see note) with two squares of baking paper, then, working with one ball at a time, press gently but firmly in press to form a thin disc. Set aside on baking paper and cover with a tea towel.
  • 03
  • For blue cheese and buttermilk dressing, whisk ingredients in a bowl to combine, season to taste and set aside.
  • 04
  • Drain chicken (reserve buttermilk mixture). Combine flours in a bowl, season to taste, add chicken in batches, toss to coat, then shake off excess flour. Return to buttermilk mixture, then drain again (discard remaining buttermilk mixture). Return to flour mixture, shake off excess flour and set aside.
  • 05
  • Preheat oil in a deep saucepan to 170C. Deep-fry chicken in batches, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through (3-5 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit), drain on absorbent paper, keep warm.
  • 06
  • Preheat a cast-iron frying pan over medium-high heat, add tortillas one at a time and cook, turning once, until bubbles appear on the surface and base browns (30-45 seconds each side). Wrap in a cloth napkin to steam, soften and keep warm.
  • 07
  • Add celery to blue cheese and buttermilk dressing, stir to combine. Top tortillas with fried chicken, celery salad and hot sauce and serve.

Note Yellow masa flour (also known as masa harina or harina de maíz) is a yellow nixtamalised corn flour. If you don't have a tortilla press, you can use a rolling pin to flatten the tortillas. Yellow masa flour and tortilla presses are available from Mexican food shops including Monterey Mexican Foods.

At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people

Drink Suggestion

Really pungent, herbaceous sauvignon blanc.

Featured in

Nov 2012

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