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Tamarind Chile Braised Chicken Tacos

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword chicken
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6
Author Cherry on My Sundae


Tamarind chile braised chicken

  • 6 guajillo chiles
  • 2 tablespoons oil divided
  • 2 lb chicken breast or thighs skinless, boneless
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ¼ cup tamarind paste
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ¼ cup brown sugar

Remaining ingredients

  • 5 medium tomatillos husks removed
  • ½ small red onion
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 2 cups chopped cantaloupe
  • ¼ cup chopped mint
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 tortillas
  • ¼ cup crumbled cotija
  • guacamole for serving
  • lime wedges for serving


  • Soak guajillo chiles in hot water for 30 minutes or until softened. Drain water and remove stems and seeds. Set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a braising pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and sear on both sides until golden brown. Remove chicken from pot.
  • Heat another tablespoon oil in same pot. Add sliced onions and saute until softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic cloves and cherry tomatoes and saute until tomatoes begin to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Add back chicken to pot along with guajillo chiles, cumin, tamarind, paste, cinnamon stick, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, cover pot, and reduce heat to low. Continue to simmer for 25 minutes or until chicken is tender.
  • Meanwhile, make cantaloupe mint salsa. In a food processor, pulse tomatillos, red onion, jalapeno, and cilantro until roughly chopped. Alternatively, chop all ingredients by hand. Pour tomatillo mixture into a large bowl and add chopped cantaloupe and mint. Season with juice of 1 lime, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let sit for at least 20 minutes.
  • Remove chicken and cinnamon stick from pot. Add brown sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to reduce braising liquid until thickened and reduced by at least half. Remove from stove and pour braising liquid with vegetables and chiles into a blend. Puree until smooth.
  • Shred chicken and pour pureed braising liquid. Season once more if needed with salt and pepper and stir to coat.
  • Assemble tacos. Top tortillas with tamarind chile braised chicken, salsa, guacamole, and cotija. Serve with lime wedges.