These spiced chicken tacos with plum salsa are a wonderful combination of warm spices and a sweet and tangy salsa. The chicken is coated with an easy sauce that was inspired by the flavors of mole poblano. Mole sauces (there are may different versions of mole) are complex and slow cooked but I like quick and easy recipes. So I created a sauce that has many of the flavors of mole but takes just 5 minutes.
Warm Spiced Chicken Sauce
The sauce for the chicken is a combination of cocoa powder, cinnamon, cumin and cayenne pepper. Cinnamon and cocoa powder with chicken? Yes! Those warm sweet spices are wonderful with a savory dish and are components in many Mole sauces. I use a very similar spice rub in my baby back ribs recipe. The spices are toasted in a pan to enhance their flavors and then mixed with agave and oil to create a wonderful smooth coating for the chicken.
Even if you don’t like spicy food, I highly recommend using at least half of the cayenne pepper. A small amount of cayenne will act more as a flavor enhancer than a spicy element.
Sweet, tangy and spicy. You can’t go wrong when you combine these flavors. Chopped sweet plum, tangy lime juice, bitter green onion and some serrano pepper make for a perfect combination. See below for some advice on the spice level in the salsa.
Which Pepper to use for Salsa
I prefer serrano peppers because they are on the milder side of hot peppers. However, and this is a big however, hot peppers of the same type can vary wildly in levels of heat. So taste a small piece of the pepper. Based on your preference for spicy heat and the heat of the pepper, you decide how much to add to your salsa. When I am serving a crowd with mixed preferences for heat, I just add a little and put the rest of the minced pepper in a bowl for diners to add their own.
On the other hand, if you want a much spicier salsa, you can swap out the serrano pepper for a jalapeno pepper. These are usually much hotter and will add a nice kick to your plum salsa.
Cooking Chicken for Tacos
To make it an easy preparation, I use boneless skinless chicken. You can use thighs or breasts – whatever your preference. I cook just about everything on the grill (I have even been known to “bake” chocolate chip cookies on the grill) so I grill the chicken. Another easy cooking method for boneless skinless chicken is to cook it in the oven. I like doing it this way because it means very little babysitting and I can prepare other parts of the dish in the mean time.
I went with the traditional corn tortillas for my chicken tacos with plum salsa. My local grocery store carries Guerrero Corn Tortillas which are gluten-free. If you prefer corn-free tortillas, Siete Foods has several different kinds of certified grain and gluten-free tortillas. The cassava and chickpea flour ones are quite good but need to be warm to keep them from tearing.