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Liven up your dinner tonight with crispy mojo chicken tacos! Pair the Cuban and Mexican fusion dish with avocado tomatillo salsa and pickled radish for an amazing meal.
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What makes this dish special
Hand me a taco and I won't say no. There's just something so satisfying about a warm tortilla filled with savory flavorful meat topped with homemade salsa that I can't resist. What's even better is that there are endless taco possibilities from chipotle mojo pork tacos to roasted cauliflower fajitas to birria tacos. Today, I'm fusing Cuban and Mexican flavors to create crispy mojo chicken tacos with avocado tomatillo salsa and pickled radish. It's the perfect mashup taco!
So what exactly is mojo chicken? Mojo chicken is a Cuban dish in which the chicken is marinated in a citrus, garlic-y, spiced sauce. The chicken is excellent by itself but I decided to take it a step further and turn it into crispy mojo chicken tacos. I loved the flavors of the citrus-marinated chicken together with the creamy salsa and tangy pickled radish. What made these tacos even more special were the crispy cheese ends. A truly fabulous taco if I do say so myself!
- Chicken: I used chicken for these crispy tacos because they cook quickly but you can substitute it with pork or beef. Seafood would also work great but you will need to reduce the marinade time to 30 minutes. I purchased my chicken from Farm Foods.
- Citrus: Oranges and limes are a crucial part of the marinade. Use fresh citrus for the best results. You can use cara cara oranges as I did or regular navel oranges instead.
- Tomatillos: A type of fruit with a slightly tart flavor that is commonly used for salsas, soups, and stews.
- Tortillas: I prefer corn tortillas but you can use flour tortillas as well.
- Cheese: Shredded Mexican cheese works great but you can swap it out for any other cheese that melts well including cheddar, Monterey jack, or even pepper jack.
How to make crispy mojo chicken tacos
Step 1: Marinate chicken
To make the chicken marinade, blend all of the ingredients until smooth in a Vitamix. Set aside ½ cup of the marinade to make the sauce later on. Then, with the remaining marinade, toss it with the chicken until well coated. I used chicken thighs but you can use chicken breast or choose another meat completely such as beef, pork, or shrimp. If you do choose seafood, cut the marinade time to just 30 minutes.
Let the chicken sit in the marinade overnight, flipping them over halfway through.
Step 2: Make toppings
Meanwhile, prepare the pickled radish. Mix the brine for the radish, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Then, pour the liquid over thinly sliced radish and let it sit overnight.
You can also prepare the avocado tomatillo salsa the day before if you prefer. This salsa is a fairly standard one but one that I love.
Remove the husks from the tomatillos and roast them with a jalapeno until lightly charred. Next, pulse together the roasted vegetables in a food processor with the remaining salsa ingredients just until combined. I like to keep the salsa a little chunky so I only pulse it in the food processor until I achieve the desired texture. If you don't have a food processor, you can chop the ingredients by hand.
Season the salsa with salt and pepper and set it aside.
Step 3: Cook the chicken
Now let's go back to the chicken. Remove the chicken from the marinade and lay them on a baking sheet. Roast the chicken until the juices run clear, about 20-25 minutes. You can also grill the chicken or cook them on the stovetop.
While the chicken is roasting, prepare the finishing sauce. Saute shallots and garlic until tender. Then, add fresh orange juice, lime juice, cumin, and coriander. Make sure to use fresh orange juice for the best flavor.
Simmer the liquid until it's reduced by half, then add the chicken broth and reserved marinade. Continue to simmer until it's reduced by half once again. Can you smell the goodness?
Shred the chicken and simmer it in that wonderful sauce, making sure to coat every little bit.
Step 3: Assemble tacos
Now that all of the components are ready, it's time to assemble the tortillas. You can make regular tacos but since we're already here, let's make crispy mojo chicken tacos.
Heat corn tortillas in the microwave until they're warm and pliable. Rub them with olive oil and fill half of the tortilla with shredded chicken and plenty of shredded cheese. Fold over the tortillas to create tacos and pop them in the oven.
After about 5 minutes, flip over the tacos and bake them for another 2 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
Serve the crispy Mojo chicken tacos with homemade avocado tomatillo salsa, pickled radish, and lime wedges on the side if desired.
Frequently asked questions
You can prepare all of the components ahead of time including the chicken, salsa, and pickled radish. However, it's best if you assemble the tacos and bake them right before serving to make sure they don't get soggy.
Yes! You can pair these tacos with almost any other type of salsa including roasted tomato salsa, salsa verde, or pico de Gallo. A fresh mango would also work well!
The leftover tacos can be frozen, but they may not be as crispy when reheated. To freeze, wrap the tacos tightly in plastic wrap and then foil. To reheat the tacos, bake them in the oven or pop them in the air fryer.
More Mexican chicken recipes
Looking for more Mexican chicken dishes? Try these:
Crispy Mojo Chicken Tacos
- 2 lb chicken breast or thighs boneless skinless
- 1 cup cilantro
- 6 tablespoons orange juice
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 jalapeno
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup thinly sliced radish
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup boiling hot water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
- pinch of salt
Avocado tomatillo salsa
- 5 medium tomatillos
- 1 jalapeno
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 2 scallions chopped
- 1 avocado pitted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 shallot minced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ½ cup reserved marinade
- salt and pepper
- 12 corn tortillas
- olive oil as needed
- 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
- Marinade chicken. Blend together cilantro, orange juice, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, jalapeno, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper until smooth. Set aside ½ cup marinade. Combine remaining marinade with chicken, tossing to coat. Let sit overnight.
- Pickle radish. Mix together vinegar, boiling water, sugar, mustard seeds, and salt until sugar dissolves. Pour brine over sliced radish and let sit overnight.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Remove tomatillo husks and place on baking sheet with jalapeno. Roast for 12-15 minutes or until charred, turning over vegetables halfway through. Remove from oven and place in food processor along with remaining salsa ingredients. Pulse until coarsley chopped. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Lay chicken on baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until tender and cooked. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Shred chicken into bite-size pieces.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Saute shallot and garlic until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add orange juice, lime juice, cumin, and coriander, and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add chicken broth and reserved marinade and simmer for 7-10 minutes or until reduced by half. Add shredded chicken and let simmer for 1 minute, tossing to coat.
- Wrap tortillas in damp paper towel and microwave for 1 minute or until warm. Lay tortillas on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil on both sides, rubbing oil evenly. Pile shredded chicken on one half of each tortilla and sprinkle cheese on top. Fold over tortilla to create tacos.
- Bake tacos for 5 minutes. Flip tacos over and bake for another 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Serve crispy mojo chicken tacos with avocado tomatillo salsa and pickled radish.