Halal Crispy Chicken Tacos with ChefSteps Joule

Salt. Fat. Acid. Heat.

No, this post is not about the Netflix show featuring Samin Nosrat, but this recipe does rely heavily on the fine balance between those 4 components in cooking.

#TacoTuesday is not a holiday I celebrate, because it’s against my belief in equality for all (days). I am, however, guilty of using the hashtag and referencing it for the ‘gram. But there’s no doubt that

I love tacos!

I figured out a very simple halal recipe for moist-but-crispy chicken tacos using my ChefSteps Joule sous vide. It has no lard (yay halal!), is pretty healthy (depending on your choice of wrap), and has the perfect balance of salt, fat, acid, and heat (thanks, Samin).

Ingredients

  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast (can be a little bit frozen still—the beauty of sous vide!)

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp cumin powder

  • 1 tsp chili powder

  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder

  • 1/2 tsp paprika

  • A pack of small corn tortillas (street taco size is perfect)

  • Canola or Olive Oil (not too pungent)

  • Limes, quartered

  • Onions, diced

  • Cilantro

Salt: Chicken

Salt: Chicken

Acid: Lime

Acid: Lime

Fat: Oil (to crisp the tortillas and meat)

Fat: Oil (to crisp the tortillas and meat)

Heat: All the chili!

Heat: All the chili!

Recipe

  1. Fill a large pot about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way with hot water. Set up your sous vide to preheat the water to 146°F, which is the temperature I’ve found to be perfect for juicy chicken breast.

  2. Mix up all the powdered seasonings in a small bowl.

  3. Let’s prepare the chicken! Clean off any fat, and then drizzle the oil over both sides.

  4. Sprinkle half the seasoning on one side and pat gently to really get the spices in there. Flip and repeat!

  5. Place your seasoned chicken in a gallon size ziploc freezer bag and zip it 80% of the way. If you’ll recall from my cajun shrimp recipe, leaving about an inch or two of open space will allow for the excess air to escape when the hot water creates a suction around the meat. Also, the gap will kind of close up on its own (obviously not sealed) so don’t worry about steam and moisture escaping.

    THIS CHICKEN IS GOING TO BE JUICY!

  6. Ahem, once the water has preheated (the Joule app will tell you so!), go ahead and carefully dip the bag of chicken into the water. Use a large spoon to push the chicken down if necessary; it won’t float. If you have one, use a spring clamp to clip the sealed corner of the bag to the edge of the pot.

  7. Set the cook time to 2 hours. If frozen at all, cook for 2 1/2 hours.

    TORTILLAS

  8. When there are about 10-15 minutes left on the chicken’s cook time, heat up some oil in a skillet on medium heat.

  9. When the oil is heated and shimmery looking, carefully place a tortilla in the skillet. Use a large flat spatula to gently press down to ensure your tortilla will be evenly crisped. The goal here is not to make chips or tostadas,. We want the tortilla to fold without tearing and to be crispy enough to hear a “crunch” when you bite in to your taco. Not a hard shell taco, and not a soft flour one either.

  10. Take a peek at the underside of the tortilla after about 15 seconds; if it has transformed from pale to golden and has some hints of brown, it’s ready to be flipped. Flip it and, again, use your spatula to press down to get an even, fast cook without turning it into a tostada.

  11. Add a tsp or so of oil between each tortilla.

    CRISPING UP THE CHICKEN

  12. Keep the oiled pan on medium heat to sear the chicken. Once the chicken’s sous vide cook time is up, remove the chicken from the pot and carefully take the chicken breast out of the bag, shaking it a little bit to allow the liquid to drip off as much as it can (back into the bag).

  13. Place the chicken onto the hot, oiled skillet. The pan and oil should be hot enough and the chicken should be dripped off/dry enough (externally) to allow for an instant, loud spattery-sizzle sound. This is how you sear meat. If there is too much liquid on the outside of the chicken, it’ll boil rather than sear. The liquid inside the chicken would then come out, resulting in mushy chicken. We don’t want this.

    The key here is to apply heat quickly so as to dry out/crisp up the outside without losing the moisture that’s inside. Think of the sear as a seal on the chicken; a proper sear will help to seal in the moisture.

  14. Once you get a nice crisp layer on the chicken, flip and repeat. If your chicken breast is pretty thick, you can also sear the sides/edges.

  15. When you’ve got a nice, even sear all around the chicken breast, go ahead and remove it from the heat and place it on a cutting board. Gently slice the chicken into long ~1/4 thick slices.

  16. Grab two forks and shred these slices into long messy pieces. Basically stab the slice with both forks next to or above each other and tear apart. If you’re like my mom and your fingers have built up a tolerance to steaming hot roti, feel free to attempt to tear the chicken apart with your fingers. Please be careful.

  17. When you’re done shredding the chicken, pour the reserved liquid over it and mix it up. Disclaimer: this is not a recipe for a saucy chicken taco.

    ASSEMBLY

  18. Tortilla. Chicken. Diced onions. Cilantro. Squeeze da lime.

    Enjoy!

Sous-Vide-Crispy-Chicken-Tacos-Halal-Food-Recipes

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Leen's Mean Dream Machine: Recipe for a Delightful Desktop

Nutrition Facts Label of My Personal Computer

For as long as I can remember, my exclusive association with computers and technology has been my big brother Atif. When I was 9 years old drawing janky flowers in Photoshop 5.0 (does anyone remember the creepy blue eyeball and orange birds?) my brother was hard at work building his own PCs and skillfully testing/reviewing hardware components for his website. I very much enjoyed pretending to listen to him express the challenges of overclocking while I eagerly Googled tutorials on “how to create glittery text GIFs.” He generously built my first PC and has installed every upgrade since. Upon graduating college in 2013, my loving family gifted me Microsoft’s just-released, first ever Surface Pro, and my desktop-use steadily declined.

Fast forward to last year right around when I started my food blog, my old PC did not perform to the level necessary to carry out my vision for the Hungry Hijabi. I found myself dreading video editing because Adobe Premiere would require all the patience in the world. I even found myself editing images on my phone for quick-sharing just to avoid turning on my PC. Running away wasn’t the solution to my problem though. So I reached out to consult with Atif regarding a beastly upgrade of my old PC. As always, he was more than happy to help and generously gave my new machine lots of his time and even more of his attention (seriously, I’m talking multiple daily email updates).

The more we discussed the machine—what I needed vs. wanted, etc.—the clearer he pictured my vision. Blessed as I am, Atif did not stick to my vision and instead chose to surpass all of my expressed needs and built what I now call…my Mean Dream Machine.

Now this is not by any means a typical recipe, but for the sake of consistency, I will present to you the “recipe” to create my deliciously-designed desktop!

Ingredients

Over the years, I’ve learned quite a bit from Atif regarding computers, their components, and how they all work together systematically. However, I’ve cooked up my own unique understanding of exactly how everything works together—

The Thermaltake case is like my kitchen in which all the magic happens. Keep it neat and clean, and it’s a beauty. Leave your mess for everyone to see? You’ll have no friends. Contrary to popular belief (or mine, anyway) the flashy RGB-light fans don’t have to be tacky. The included Thermaltake Riing RGB fans let you customize the look of your machine by changing the light-mode (static, breathing, etc) or color. My favorite part about the case is the tempered glass on all 4 sides. It’s similar to the genius idea of restaurants having big glass windows looking into their kitchens both for the sake of transparency and fascination. The glass doesn’t sit flush against the edge of the case, so there’s room for air (which keeps the contents that much cooler!). I love that the two doors on the sides have hinges which makes them very easy to open to make any adjustments or take photos (ahem). Lastly, the case is compatible and even built for water-cooling systems which is very convenient because what kitchen doesn’t need water?!?!

Then there’s the ASRock motherboard, which is basically the Le Creuset dutch oven of motherboards.

PC Build ASRock X399 Taichi AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X

And the beast of a processor: AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper 1950X with 16 cores and 32 threads which may or may not be named the Threadripper as a warning to The Hungry Hijabi’s hijab…

Next up are the silent Noctua cooler system and fans. The cooler system is like the yin to the Threadripper’s yang. Tailored specifically for the TR4 processor, it’s a giant beast of a heatsink with many fins and heat pipes. And these fans are so quiet you don’t realize they’re on. This is because Noctua emphasizes quiet high performance and air movement and even includes rubber mounts to minimize vibration and, consequently, noise.

PC Build ASRock Taichi AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X

I think of these three (processor, heatsink, fan) working together to cook steak. The processor is a beast of a grill, cooking your steak. The heatsink allows your steak to cool and set before the fan slices it up for you. Make sense? Am I just hungry?

Next we have 64gb of G.SKILL RAM with Samsung B-Die. The RAM is like a fully stocked pantry (think MasterChef!), always ready for quick visits and last minute seasoning.

Then there’s the graphics card by MSI, literally silent but very impactful, like artistic plating. Plate your food terribly and it’ll still provide sustenance, but with beautiful plating your potential soars!

We have the ADATA 1TB SSD XPG NVMe, faster than a traditional SSD, which is more akin to a fully stocked fridge. Not as quick as accessing your pantry (or RAM), but still very accessible right there in your kitchen!

Last but certainly not least, we have the Corsair power supply unit. This provides your stove or grill with power. Try cooking on a stove without gas or electricity! This power supply is great at its job so, like with sous-vide cooking, you won’t burn your “steak.”

And that, my friends, is how to create Leen’s Mean Dream Machine. Powerful, fast, quiet, and beautiful.

In short, get your genius older brother to do it for you.

Now please excuse me while I feed my hungry Dream Machine with many more scrumptious video projects and halal recipes to come!

"Boiling Crab" Style Sous Vide Cajun Shrimp

Wax paper table ‘cloths,’ plastic bag bibs, lots of paper towels, and—dare I say it—eating with your bare hands!

From the first time I dined at Boiling Crab, I was hooked. It isn’t out of the ordinary for a Desi person to eat non-dry food with their hands, but in American culture it can be absurd. I got over the initial discomfort pretty quickly, especially since everyone around me was eating the same way.

I’d often thought about trying to make the shrimp at home. It seemed so simple! Boil the shrimp and then throw it in spices; or put the shrimp, spices and water in a bag and you just boil it? Something. I could figure it out. And with some research, I did.

Now I have to say, I definitely customized this recipe to my own liking and my family’s. However, like all cooking, by all means change the recipe! I actually encourage you to experiment with it. Don’t want sugar/sweetness in your sauce (like me)? Don’t put sugar. Weaksauce in handling spice? Decrease the amount of cayenne and chili powders (and maybe paprika). In hindsight, I would have preferred adding more salt (I added none in the video) and lemon juice and putting less cayenne. I have accounted for these adjustments in the recipe below.

Ingredients

  • Cajun Shrimp Seasoning

  • 2 lemons, juiced

  • 1 head of garlic, minced

  • 1 stick of butter

  • 1/4 cup of canola oil

  • 2 lbs of tiger shrimp

  • Lemon wedges (optional)

Tools/References

Recipe

  1. Fill a big pot with warm/hot water (about 2-3 inches deep) and set up your sous vide to preheat the water to 135°F.

  2. Heat up butter in a skillet. Once melted, add the oil.

  3. Add the garlic! Once the garlic has bloomed, add the spices one at a time, mixing in between until incorporated. Once the spices have married together, turn off the stove and let the mixture cool down a bit.

  4. Place the shrimp in a gallon size freezer ziploc bag followed with the fragrant sauce. Zip the bag closed almost all the way; leave about an inch or two open and squeeze the air out. Keep this 1-2 inches open! Letting the steam escape while the bag is submerged will naturally help create a vacuum at the bottom of the bag (where the food is).

  5. Once your sous vide has pre-heated the water to the correct temperature (it should have by now unless your water was ice cold), gently lower the ziploc bag into the water. If necessary, use a giant spoon to gently press the shrimp so that they sit toward the bottom of the pot and that all of them are submerged. Then clamp the sealed middle or corner of the bag to the edge of the pot.

  6. Set your sous vide to cook for 25-30 minutes.

  7. This step is optional. When your shrimp is nearly done cooking, preheat your lightly greased cast iron pan so that you can serve your shrimp in it once they’re done.

  8. Once the sous vide is done cooking your shrimp, take the shrimp out and open up the bag to inspect the shrimp and ensure you see no gray. Carefully pour the shrimp into the preheated cast iron pan, and serve!

Homemade Sous Vide Boiling Crab Shrimp