Tinga Con Pollo - The Dish that Inspired Tostada's in America

So I'm Mexican American and one of my clients happens to employ many people from Mexico.  So my rooted Mexican food is more Southwest mixed with Native Indian Influence and theirs is straight up Mexico.  You should have seen the look on the face of the gal who coordinated the office Posada for Christmas when I pulled the paper that said I was to bring posole for the event.  "Do you know what posole is?"  Jorge told me, "Youuuuu are going to make posole?"  EXCUSE ME my posole was different and NOTHING WAS LEFT THAT DAY!  So there people!   On the flip side they really should learn that even though I cannot speak Spanish other than the mere basics of super basic things, I understand more than they think!

Regardless I've discovered a few things about my not so gente from the South.  The corn tortillas they get are super pillowy heaven.  In fact they would do very well living in India the way they eat with those corn tortillas with their hands! I never knew there was a Mexican Chicken Salad.  Never heard of Morisqueta de Mihoacan dish.  Heck never knew white rice was a Mexican staple also.  And then one day they brought in a huge pan of this chicken concoction called Tinga.  

I guess Tinga refers to a cooked shredded meat.  That was not in my Spanish Language book but if you say so Google.  And I made it.  It was super simple and my husband said it was a keeper!  Now if I can get his super picky Southern behind to say it's a keeper, it's a keeper for sure!   Considering, I assume since this dish originated out of Puebla Mexico, it was the idea for the Americanization called the 'Tostada'.



  • Chicken breast is common but I used boneless skinless thighs.  You want about a half a pound per person or 1 pound per person if want leftovers.  My recipe was 3 pounds of thighs for five people.
  • Traditionally they use chopped tomatoes in the recipe.  I am more time conscience and utilized two 14oz cans of roasted, diced tomatoes.  
  • Oregano, Mexican if you can find it.  If not, any oregano.   About 1/8 cup. 
  • Cumin, one spoonful.
  • Three Large Onions,  Two sliced and halved.  One quartered. 
  • One head of garlic.
  • One can of chipotle peppers.  They normally come in that little mid size can in the markets.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • If you live near a Mexican Super Market, but the Tostada shells they make.  If you do not, then strongly suggest frying thick corn tortillas.  Last resort would be taco chips of your choice but the authentic Mexican Tostada shells are thick and sturdy but delicious. 
  • Iceberg lettuce sliced thin to spread across the shell.
  • Mexican crema/sour cream or whatever sour cream you can find.
  • Mexican cotija cheese.  If can't find a Mexican crumbly cheese, even like a shaved pecorino, parmesan, anything you have that is crumbly or a tad hard goes well but use whatever or no cheese at all if you wish.

Put your chicken, quartered onion, and about 4 garlic cloves in a pot.  Cover with enough water to about 2 inches above the chicken.  Salt the water and bring to a rolling boil.  Turn down to medium and let cook for 30 minutes.

In a deep pan saute up your two sliced and halved onion until translucent.
Add the rest of the garlic bulbs peeled or use a teaspoon of garlic powder if you wish.
Then add your two cans of roasted diced tomatoes.
Put the oregano in your hands and crush while sprinkling into the mixture.  
Add the spoonful of powdered cumin.
Add the whole can of Chipotle peppers.  If you do not like heat, maybe add one and then go from there.  The chipotle smokiness makes this dish.
After 30 minutes drain water and shred your chicken.  If easier you can dice it if do not want to deal with shredding it.  The onion and garlic that cooked down with the chicken can be added also to the Tinga.
Add shredded chicken to your Tinga base and cook on medium for another 20 minutes.  


I was told by Jorge that you first put the crema/sour cream on the tostada shell.  Then the shredded iceberg lettuce.  The Tinga con pollo and then the cheese.  He also added another salsa on top of it but felt it would have been too meddled in heat as my Tinga was spicy enough.

"IT'S A KEEPER!"  Remember, life is too short to eat badly!!



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