These chicken tostadas are reminiscent of panuchos, where the black beans fill the inside of the masa tortilla and are a favorite dish of the Yucatán. Panuchos are basically black bean filled tostadas and take a little work to make, but are delicious and worth the effort. Pressing the tortillas and getting them to puff and form a pocket takes a little practice, but goes faster once you get the hang of it. Watch out for burning your fingertips!
But if making homemade masa tortillas isn’t in your skill set, or time is short, using prepared tortillas is the way to go. In this recipe I got some fresh masa tortillas from my local Latino grocery store and cooked them without oil on the griddle.
To get that rich, deep red color in Mexican cooking I use achiote seeds. To enrich the flavor and color of an oil – just steep the seeds in heated oil, strain and discard the seeds, cool and use as you would oil in any Mexican flavored recipe. You can find the musky, deep red achiote paste, ground from annatto seeds, also at a Latino grocery store.
Aside from the other toppings and to keep thing a bit authentic I made a habanero sauce. This very fruity, hot sauce is a tabletop fixture like salt and pepper in Yucatan homes. It was everywhere on my last visit to Tulum and on Cozumel.
Preheat grill to 400°F.
- 4 large chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar or
- ½ lime, juiced
- 4 teaspoons achiote paste
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Slaw Topping
- ¼ cup distilled white vinegar or
- 1 lime, juiced
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ green cabbage, sliced thin
- ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
- 1 small firm-ripe avocado, sliced or mashed
- ¼ cup Cacique Crema Mexicana, optional
- Habanero Sauce
- 4 ounces habanero chiles (yellow or orange)
- ⅓ cup chopped white onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- In a medium bowl, combine vinegar or lime juice, achiote, oil, and salt; add chicken and turn to coat well. Grill, turning once, until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Let cool and set aside.
- Thinly slice cabbage, onion and avocado or make guacamole instead if desired.
- Make the slaw toppings: In a bowl, combine ¼ cup water, the vinegar or lime, salt, cilantro and crema mexican (similar to sour cream) to bind it if you like. Pour over cabbage mix. Chill until used.
- Habanero Suace: Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan and add chiles, onion, and garlic. Cover, then reduce heat and simmer until chiles are very tender when pierced, about 15 minutes. Whirl chile mixture in a food processor with vinegar and salt until fairly smooth. May keep refrigerated up to 1 week.
- Drain onion and assemble tostadas. Set them on a platter and top with black beans, chicken, cabbage mix, onion, tomato, and avocado slices or guacamole. Serve sauce on the side.