Achiote-Grilled Chicken Tostada Recipe - Authentic Mexican Cuisine

Achiote-grilled Chicken Tostada

Achiote-Grilled Chicken Tostada Recipe - Authentic Mexican Cuisine
Region / culture: Mexico | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Servings: 4


Achiote-grilled Chicken Tostada
Achiote-grilled Chicken Tostada

The Achiote-grilled Chicken Tostada is a vibrant and flavorful dish that combines the rich, earthy flavors of achiote with the freshness of citrus, the creaminess of avocado, and the crunch of baked gyoza skins. This recipe is a delightful fusion of traditional Mexican ingredients and modern culinary techniques, creating a dish that's as beautiful to look at as it is delicious to eat. Perfect for a summer dinner party or a special family meal, this recipe is sure to impress with its complex flavors and textures.


The use of achiote, a spice made from the seeds of the annatto tree, dates back to the ancient civilizations of the Maya and the Aztecs, who used it for coloring food, textiles, and body paint. Over time, achiote became a staple in Mexican and Caribbean cuisines, imparting a distinctive red hue and a slightly nutty, peppery flavor to dishes. The concept of tostadas, meanwhile, has its roots in Mexican cuisine, where leftover tortillas were traditionally fried or baked and topped with various ingredients. This recipe brings these elements together, adding a modern twist with the inclusion of ingredients like gyoza skins and avocado goat cheese mousse.


How to prepare

  1. Prepare the marinade.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine achiote paste and orange juice.
  3. Using a wire whisk, break up the paste.
  4. Add garlic, oregano, olive oil, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Marinate the chicken breast for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.
  6. Cut the cabbage into chiffonade and set it aside.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C).
  8. Lightly spray or brush canola oil onto the wonton skins.
  9. Bake the wonton skins for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
  10. Prepare the mango lime vinaigrette by blending mango puree, lime juice, cilantro, honey, sour cream, and kosher salt in a blender for 30 seconds. Set it aside.
  11. Toss the cabbage with the vinaigrette.
  12. Place the cabbage on each wonton skin.
  13. Grill the chicken and slice it.
  14. Place the grilled chicken on top of the cabbage.
  15. Prepare the avocado goat cheese mousse by blending avocado pulp, goat cheese, 0.25 cup of cream, salt, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice in a blender until smooth.
  16. Put the remaining 1.5 cups of cream into a mixing bowl.
  17. Whip the cream with a whisk until soft peaks form.
  18. Fold the whipped cream into the avocado mixture and set it aside.
  19. Top the entree with the avocado goat cheese mousse and cilantro.


  • For a vegetarian version, substitute grilled portobello mushrooms for the chicken. To make the dish gluten-free, use gluten-free tortillas instead of gyoza skins.
  • For a vegetarian version, substitute grilled portobello mushrooms for the chicken. You can also experiment with different types of cheese in the mousse, such as feta or ricotta, for a different flavor profile.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the chicken is perfectly marinated, make sure to coat it thoroughly with the achiote mixture and let it sit in the refrigerator for the full 24 hours if possible. This allows the flavors to penetrate deeply. When baking the gyoza skins, keep a close eye on them to prevent burning; they can go from perfectly golden to overdone very quickly. For the avocado goat cheese mousse, achieving the right consistency is key; it should be smooth but still hold its shape when dolloped on the tostada.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the Achiote-grilled Chicken Tostada with a side of black beans and rice for a complete meal. A fresh, tangy coleslaw or a simple green salad dressed with lime vinaigrette would also complement the flavors of the tostada beautifully.

Cooking Techniques

Grilling the chicken over an open flame will impart a smoky flavor that complements the achiote marinade. Baking the gyoza skins instead of frying them offers a lighter, crispier base for the tostada.

Ingredient Substitutions

If achiote paste is unavailable, you can substitute it with a mix of paprika, oregano, cumin, and a touch of clove to mimic its earthy flavor. Lime juice can be used in place of lemon juice for a more traditional Mexican taste.

Make Ahead Tips

The chicken can be marinated up to 24 hours in advance, and the avocado goat cheese mousse can be prepared a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. The gyoza skins can be baked earlier in the day and kept at room temperature until ready to assemble.

Presentation Ideas

For an elegant presentation, layer the ingredients carefully on the gyoza skins and top each tostada with a dollop of the avocado goat cheese mousse and a sprig of fresh cilantro. Serve on a white platter to let the colors of the dish stand out.

Pairing Recommendations

A crisp, citrusy white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or a light, fruity rosé pairs beautifully with the flavors of the Achiote-grilled Chicken Tostada. For a non-alcoholic option, a chilled hibiscus tea complements the dish's spicy and tangy notes.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Assemble the tostadas just before serving to prevent the gyoza skins from becoming soggy. Leftover chicken, mousse, and vinaigrette can be stored separately in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat the chicken gently in the oven or on the grill before assembling fresh tostadas.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Achiote-grilled Chicken Tostada contains approximately 600 calories. This makes it a suitable main course for those managing their calorie intake, especially when paired with low-calorie sides.


This dish provides a moderate amount of carbohydrates, primarily from the gyoza skins and the mango purée. Each serving contains approximately 45 grams of carbohydrates, making it a balanced option when served alongside a green salad or a light soup.


The fats in this recipe come from several sources, including the olive oil, avocado, and goat cheese. These are primarily healthy, unsaturated fats. Each serving contains about 20 grams of fat, contributing to the dish's rich flavor and satisfying mouthfeel.


The grilled chicken breasts are the main source of protein in this dish, providing about 35 grams per serving. This high-quality protein makes the Achiote-grilled Chicken Tostada a filling and nutritious meal option.

Vitamins and minerals

This recipe is rich in vitamins and minerals, thanks to the inclusion of fresh fruits and vegetables. Avocados are a great source of vitamin K, folate, and vitamin C, while the mango purée adds a dose of vitamins A and C. The leafy greens contribute iron and calcium, making this dish not only delicious but also beneficial for your health.


This recipe contains dairy (goat cheese and heavy cream) and may not be suitable for individuals with a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance. It is gluten-free, as long as gluten-free gyoza skins are used.


Overall, the Achiote-grilled Chicken Tostada is a balanced and nutritious dish, offering a good mix of proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It's a flavorful way to enjoy a variety of nutrients in one meal.


The Achiote-grilled Chicken Tostada is a delightful fusion of traditional and modern flavors, offering a nutritious and visually stunning option for any meal. With its rich history, versatile ingredients, and complex flavors, this dish is sure to become a favorite for those who appreciate the vibrant tastes of Mexican cuisine.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of finding this recipe for the first time is still fresh in my mind. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting my dear friend Maria in Mexico. Maria was an amazing cook, and I always looked forward to trying her delicious creations whenever I visited her.

On this particular day, Maria invited me to join her in the kitchen as she prepared a special dish for us to enjoy together. As soon as I walked into her kitchen, I was greeted by the intoxicating aroma of spices and herbs. Maria was busy marinating chicken thighs in a vibrant red paste, which she informed me was made from achiote seeds.

I watched in awe as Maria expertly grilled the marinated chicken over an open flame, the flames licking the meat and infusing it with a smoky flavor. As the chicken cooked, Maria shared with me the story of how she learned to make this dish from her own grandmother, who had passed down the recipe through generations.

Maria explained that achiote seeds, also known as annatto seeds, were commonly used in Mexican cuisine to add both color and flavor to dishes. She showed me how to make the achiote paste by blending the seeds with garlic, vinegar, and various spices until it formed a thick, fragrant paste.

After the chicken had cooked to golden perfection, Maria assembled the tostadas by layering crispy tortillas with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, creamy avocado slices, and the succulent grilled chicken. She drizzled the tostadas with a tangy salsa made from fresh lime juice, chopped cilantro, and a hint of jalapeño for a spicy kick.

As we sat down to enjoy our meal, Maria beamed with pride as I took my first bite of the achiote-grilled chicken tostada. The flavors exploded in my mouth, each bite a symphony of smoky, spicy, and tangy notes that danced on my taste buds. I could see why this dish was a family favorite and why Maria had been so eager to share it with me.

After my visit with Maria, I returned home with the recipe for achiote-grilled chicken tostadas firmly etched in my memory. I couldn't wait to recreate the dish in my own kitchen and share it with my family and friends.

Over the years, I have made this recipe countless times, each time tweaking it slightly to suit my own tastes and experimenting with different toppings and garnishes. I have shared the recipe with anyone who has asked and have passed it down to my own grandchildren, hoping that they will continue the tradition of cooking and sharing meals with loved ones.

The achiote-grilled chicken tostada has become a staple in my repertoire, a dish that never fails to impress and delight. It reminds me of the sunny days spent in Maria's kitchen, learning from a master chef and savoring the simple joys of good food and good company.

As I sit here now, reflecting on that fateful day when I first discovered this recipe, I am filled with gratitude for the culinary adventures and friendships that have enriched my life. The achiote-grilled chicken tostada will always hold a special place in my heart, a reminder of the power of food to bring people together and create lasting memories. And for that, I am truly grateful.


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