These tasty corn dough (masa) preparations are shaped like, and named after, the chalupa, a small boat that, over the centuries, has served with many tasks, such as transportation, exploration and discovery, or in more inimical quests, such as whaling. In Mexico, it has been used as a water taxi, produce transport, and even as a floating food stand (see full story on my previous post). As for the masa boats, once they have been cooked, they are filled with salsa (red or green), or my favourite, guacamole; shredded chicken, onions and finely grated cheese complete the toppings for this tasty flotilla.
Chicken Chalupitas – Chalupitas de Pollo
Ingredients (for approximately 24)
2 cups corn flour (nixtamalized, masa harina)
1 ½ cups water (or a little more)
Pinch of salt
¼ cup lard or vegetable oil
Salsas (homemade or bottled)
4 cups chicken breast meat; cooked and shredded (about 3 pieces)
1 white onion; finely chopped
2 cups fresh cheese (such as añejo or light feta)
After testing different products, my corn flour of choice is Bob’s Red Mill Organic Masa Harina:
If in doubt of what flour is needed, please check my post “Corn Flour and Masa 101”. Prepare the dough as indicated in the package, by mixing salt with flour, then adding water slowly (photo below, left); it will appear to be to sticky at first, but once it can be gathered, knead with hands for a couple of minutes, then form into a ball, and cover with a clean kitchen towel (photo below, right):
Let masa rest for about one hour. Meanwhile, set up the toppings: shredded chicken; chopped onions; for the salsas, see my printable recipes for cooked green, spicy red and simple guacamole, above*; for this recipe, I prefer to finely grate the cheese instead of crumbling, to get a fluffy texture:
Once the masa has been resting for about one hour, take small portions, approximately 2 inches in diameter, shape into a tapered cylinder and place on a tortilla press** fitted with plastic (photo below, left); close and press (photo below, centre); open and carefully peel plastic from dough (photo below, right):
Place dough oval on hot dry grill or skillet; cook, turning a couple of times. Repeat with more dough:
While still hot, pinch edges of each cooked oval to form a border all around, using a kitchen towel to avoid burning fingers with heat and steam from the dough:
To finish chalupitas, return a batch to the skillet, and spread a little lard (or oil) on top of each boat (photo below left); turn boats upside down for about thirty seconds, then flip again, and cook for another few seconds. Add salsa of choice (photo below, centre); top with chicken and onions, and sprinkle cheese (photo below, right):
Serve immediately, with more salsa on the side:
For the guacamole flavour (left, above photo), it is better to finish on a plate, so the avocado does not get cooked on the skillet:
Top with chicken, onions and cheese, with the spicy salsas offered on the side, so each person may add them to their own portion, to taste:
In my youth, I remember chalupitas were sometimes served at friends’ birthday parties, especially those with water-related themes, such as aquariums, or pirates; the boats were filled to the rim with a simple guacamole with no hot peppers, like the ones above, catering to kids’ taste.
* For other homemade salsa ideas, please click here to go to my Sauces page.
** If a tortilla press is not available, place dough inside plastic on a flat counter, then press on top with a cutting board.
I am bringing my recipe to Thursday Favourite Things #396. Special thanks to Marilyn @ Marilyn’s Treats for featuring my Fish Filets in Garlic Scape Pipián; she co-hosts these great parties with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Nina @ Vintage Mama’s Cottage, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance, Pam @ An Artful Mom and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.
Update: Thank you to Helen for featuring my recipe at What’s for Dinner? Sunday Link-Up # 209.