Tacos are a universal language; they are a well-loved dish no matter where you live. But what happens when you are inspired to take the taco one step or maybe two steps further? This article will show you how to elevate the taco by fusing flavor, specifically by introducing the fried chicken kimchi taco!
Several components make these flavors work together harmoniously. First, grill the tortillas. This gives the dish that delicious Texas flavor. Next is the fried chicken. I like to use good, old- fashioned buttermilk as part of the dredge, with a little Sriracha added for that zing. For extra crispy chicken, add corn starch to the flour mix. Once the chicken is fried, toss in a sweet and spicy blend of sweet chili sauce and Sriracha.
Last but not least, kimchi is a spicy Korean side dish that is traditionally fermented, similar to sauerkraut. It is usually made with Napa cabbage along with other vegetables like carrots, onions, ginger, and garlic. Korean chili flakes give it a spicy kick! Kimchi is surprisingly easy to make. Not only do I like to use it for its distinct flavor, but also for the health benefits. Probiotics are bountiful in kimchi, which promotes healthy bacteria in your gut. These probiotics come from the process of fermentation. This process does take a couple of weeks, but you are free to create once you have it made! However, to simplify this recipe, kimchi can also be found at a local supermarket.
Ingredients | Yields 4 Tacos
- 1 small head red cabbage, thinly sliced
- Fried chicken
- 1 jar of Cacique Mexican crema
- 1 package of Queso Fresco
- 1 bunch cilantro, minced
- 1 pound Napa cabbage (1 to 2 medium cabbages)
- 1 tablespoon pickling salt, plus more as needed for extra brine
- 1 ½ cloves garlic
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
- ¼ cup Korean chili flakes
- ½ tablespoon soy sauce, or tamari as a gluten-free option
- ½ tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 carrot, peeled, scrubbed, and grated
- 1 bunch green onions (scallions), green and white parts thinly sliced
- Slice Napa cabbage into 2 ½ inch ribbons, and the place the cabbage into a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage (this works best by using your clean hands), squeezing to release the liquid. Cover the bowl and let it stand for 1 to 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, process the garlic, ginger, Korean chili flakes, soy sauce, and fish sauce in a food processor until it forms a paste.
- After the salted cabbage has rested for 1 to 2 hours, add the grated carrot, green onions, and chili paste. Massage everything in the bowl to combine, wearing gloves if desired.
- Pack the kimchi into a wide-mouth quart jar, pressing it firmly down with your hands or a spoon. Leave at least 2 inches (5 cm) of headspace. Pour any liquid from the bowl over the kimchi, pressing down firmly to help the liquid cover the cabbage. There may or may not be a lot of natural brine, but the cabbage will continue to release it as it ferments. If more liquid is needed, you can easily find a recipe for a quick and simple brine solution.
- Place a weight, such as a small bowl, on top of the kimchi, then place on the lid.
- Wipe the jar down and cover it with a cloth. Store in a cool place for 24 to 36 hours.
- Check daily to make sure that the cabbage and vegetables stay under the brine.
- Let the kimchi ferment for one week, then do a taste test. If you like the mild tangy flavor, proceed to the next step. If you prefer a stronger flavor, you can ferment for one more week, tasting every 3 days, until the desired flavor develops.
- Once the kimchi has achieved desired flavor, store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
- 1 pound chicken tenders
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 to 2 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Fry oil of choice
- ½ cup Sriracha
- 1 cup sweet chili sauce
- Place chicken strips in a medium bowl. Combine buttermilk and Sriracha, then pour mixture over the top of chicken strips until they are submerged. Place in fridge and soak for at least 30 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, and seasonings. Heat your deep fryer to 375°F or add 1 inch of oil to a cast-iron skillet, and heat oil to temperature over medium heat.
- Once the chicken tenders are done soaking, remove them from the buttermilk mixture and dredge in the flour mixture. Turn them over to thoroughly coat each side.
- When oil has come to temperature, add the chicken tenders, frying in batches if necessary. Cook them on each side for about 2 minutes, until golden brown. For safety measures, use a digital thermometer and make sure tenders reach 165°F. Mix the Sriracha and sweet chili and toss as soon as they are finished in the fryer. Coat generously.
- Place a grilled tortilla on a plate. Add red cabbage and fried chicken.
- Drizzle with crema, and then top with kimchi, queso fresco, and fresh cilantro.
- Enjoy with a glass of sparkling hard cider, a batch of warm tortilla chips, and your favorite salsa!