This is a marvelous vegetarian twist on the classic Mexican dish, Chicken Tinga. Shown here atop blue corn tostadas, you could substitute yellow corn tostadas (look for small ones), or corn chips. Tinga also makes a terrific taco filling, sopa, or vegetarian side dish. It’s spicy, textural, fresh tasting and easy as can be. To achieve an ideal carrot texture, I recommend using a mandoline for a fine julienne. The largest holes on the box grater or the grating disk on the food processor will also produce a great texture, but the uniformity of the mandoline cut is a nice touch. Our friend Janet served these botanas alongside chili rellenos (the best I’ve ever eaten).
Makes about 18 botanas
2 tablespoons neutral oil
1 pound (500g) white onion, thinly sliced
1 pound (500g) carrots, in a fine julienne or grated
4 roma tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 chiles from a can of chipotle in adobo
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Garnish with cilantro leaves
Small (4-inch) Tostadas
In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onions and cook until translucent and collapsed. Add the carrots to the pan and stir to coat with the oil. Continue to cook until the carrots have barely softened. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a dry cast iron skillet or on a comal or griddle, char roast the tomatoes and garlic cloves. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and chipotles to the beaker of a blender, cover, and puree on high speed until smooth.
Warm the remaining tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan until shimmering. Add the tomato, garlic, and chili mixture to the hot oil and cook until reduced and flavorful. You should have about a cup of salsa. Taste and add salt, if needed, and a couple of grindings of black pepper.
Gently stir the carrots and onions into the salsa to coat. Pile the mixture onto the tostadas. Garnish with a leaf or two of cilantro. Serve with avocado, crema, and pickled red onion or pickled jalapeño.
This recipe first appeared in the calendar Janet produces each year to raise funds for Tepoz Rosa, a group dedicated to easing the way for breast cancer patients in the town of Tepoztlan. Each year, a beautiful calendar (with 12 recipes!) is made available through the website www.tepozrosa.org.