Mexican cooking, Mzansi-style! Try these Crispy Asian-style Chicken Tacos from Mexico in Mzansi
 More about the book!

Penguin Random House SA has shared an excerpt from Mexico in Mzansi by chef Aiden Pienaar.

In Mexico in Mzansi, Pienaar brings local flair to some traditional Mexican favourites.

Like the ubiquitous taco, this cookbook is filled with a surprising array of flavours and influences to excite.

By thinking a little outside the box, and using South African ingredients and cooking techniques – boerie tacos and braaied corn, anyone? – Pienaar gives Mexican cuisine an Mzansi-style facelift.

Pienaar will teach you to make your own tortillas and salsas, and introduce you to different cooking methods, from braising and grilling to air-frying. That’s not to mention the array of delicious desserts to round off your meal, or the collection of margaritas to tantalise your tastebuds!

Read an excerpt from the book:


Crispy Asian-style Chicken Tacos

This recipe was inspired by my trips to Thailand. I remember the distinct mix of sweet and salty; and the spicy peanut sauce that you can quite literally put on anything. The soy sauce will make the chicken very dark in colour – this is to be expected.

Makes: 6 tacos

  • 1L canola oil
  • ¼ cup cornflour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless deboned chicken thighs, quartered
  • 6 warm corn tortillas
  • fresh coriander for garnishing

Asian Chicken Marinade

  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1½ Tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 thumb-size piece ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp honey
  • ½ Tbsp rice wine vinegar

Peanut Sauce

  • ½ cup unsweetened peanut butter
  • 5 tsp hoisin sauce
  • ¾ tsp chilli flakes
  • water as needed

Asian Mexican Slaw

  • 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • ½ jalapeño chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/3 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • pinch of salt

Place the canola oil into a deep-fryer or pot and heat to 180ºC.

Combine all the ingredients for the Asian chicken marinade in a bowl and mix well. Set aside a small amount of marinade for coating at the end.

In a separate bowl, mix the cornflour, salt and black pepper.

Coat the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour, shake off any excess and put them straight into the deep-fryer or pot for 30 seconds. Remove them from the oil, dip them in the Asian chicken marinade, then coat them in the seasoned flour once more before returning them to the fryer or pot for a further 40 seconds, until extremely crispy. Drain the chicken pieces on paper towel and then coat them lightly in the marinade you previously set aside.

To make the peanut sauce, place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until well combined and smooth. The mixture will be quite thick, so add a little water at a time to loosen it – you are looking for a honey-like consistency.

To make the Asian Mexican slaw, place all the vegetables and herbs in a bowl and mix gently with a spoon until equally dispersed. Add the lemon juice and salt just seconds before serving.

Fill each taco by spooning some of the Asian Mexican slaw along the centre of the tortilla. Top with the chicken and small dollops of peanut sauce. Garnish with fresh coriander.


  • Recipe extracted from Mexico in Mzansi by Aiden Pienaar, out now from Penguin Random House SA!

Categories Cookery Non-fiction South Africa

Tags Aiden Pienaar Book excerpts Book launches Mexico in Mzansi Penguin Random House SA

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