Chicken Tinga

Chicken Tinga

I love Mexican food and a combination of food and travel presented by Rick Stein was a must so I bought the DVD and the book Rick Stein’s The Road to Mexico and was not disappointed. Great series, and a great real Mexican cook book!

Of course now every time we have a Mexican themed evening I take a recipe to try and one of the first recipes was for Chicken Tinga. I know Chicken Tinga sounds almost like a dish you’d order at your local curry house, but it is in fact a wonderful warm, spicy, smokey Mexican dish.

I did try this the first time as a filling in a burrito in a small Mexican restaurant on a strip mall in Los Angeles when I was visiting a Mexican friend, Victor many many years ago!

Chicken Tinga is made with shredded chicken or pulled chicken as it is called these days in a wonderful smokey, spicy sauce made from tomatoes, chipotle chilis in adobo, and onions. It is found all over Mexico and usually served as a filling for tacos, tostadas, burritos, tamales or empanadas and accompanied with refried beans and or topped with slices of avocado, shredded lettuce, crumbled cheese, sour cream and salsa.

This is indeed going to be my go to recipe every time I do a Mexican evening.

Serves 4-6:


  • 1 whole chicken (approx. 1.3 kg)
  • 1 large onion peeled and halved
  • 1 carrot, scrubbed and cut into 3 pieces
  • 1 celery stick, cut in half
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 sprig of thyme

For the sauce:

  • 3-4 tbsp Chipotles in adobo
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, quartered or if not possible a small can of good diced tomatoes
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 3 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Preparation method:

Place the whole chicken in a large pot with the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and herbs, cover with cold water.
Bring the water to a boil on a medium heat, then skim off that brownish foam from the top.
Reduce the heat and simmer gently, poaching the chicken for 30-40 minutes. When the chicken is cooked turn off the heat and remove the chicken and set aside to cool. Also set aside the cooking water to use as stock later.

Strip off all the meat, discarding the skin and bones and then pull the meat with a couple of forks.

For the sauce:

Strain off 150ml of the chicken stock and add to a blender with the chipotles in adobo, tomatoes and oregano and whizz to a smooth sauce.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic and fry until soft and golden, turn up the heat for a couple of minutes then add the chili and tomatoe sauce from the blender and cook for 5 to 10 minutes to reduce to a thicker sauce and add the pulled chicken meat. Season with black pepper and salt if needed.

Your chicken tinga is now ready to serve!

Serve your chicken tinga with tortillas some shredded lettuce, a nice crumbly cheese such as Mexican Cotija cheese if you can get it, if not the a Lancashire or feta, sour cream, chopped onion and chopped fresh corainder and sliced radish!

If you are using the tinga to fill empanadas or tamales leave to cool first.