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Centro Cocina Mexicana
Chalupas y Carnitas (Canoes)




  • 1 1/2 cups prepared corn masa
  • Safflower oil for frying


  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carnitas or chicken
  • 3/4 cup Roasted Tomato Salsa (recipe below)
  • 6 heaping tablespoons finely chopped white onion
  • 6 tablespoons finely crumbled queso fresco
  • 1 cup finely shredded cabbage
  • 3 teaspoons coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced

Roasted Tomato and Serrano Chile Salsa

  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes
  • 4 to 5 Serrano chiles
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 garlic cloves in their skins
  • Sea salt


  1. Work the masa until it is soft and smooth. Divide it into 12 equal portions and roll each into a ball about 1 1/4 inches in diameter. While you work with one, place the rest under a damp towel or piece of plastic wrap to prevent the masa from drying out.
  2. Set an ungreased griddle over medium heat.
  3. Roll out each ball into a cylinder about three inches long.
  4. Line a tortilla press with plastic wrap and place the cylinder in the press. Apply pressure gently, so that the masa is pressed out into a thin oval shape. Line up the bottom of the plastic. Place the dough on the fingers of your other hand and peel off the plastic (just as in making tortillas) and place dough carefully on to the hot griddle. Leave it there until the underside of the dough is patchily opaque (about one minute).
  5. Remove it from the griddle and pinch the dough around the edge to form a low rim. Place the chalupa back on the griddle and cook on each side for another one to two minutes, until the dough is cooked through and lightly speckled with brown spots.
  6. Trim, add the toppings, and serve immediately.
  7. To prepare the salsa, roast the tomatoes on the griddle until they blacken on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  8. Toast the garlic cloves until they soften.
  9. Meanwhile, toast the chiles until they brown on the sides.
  10. Place the garlic, chiles and a few tomatoes into a blender. Blend until smooth, then and the rest of the tomatoes. Turn on the blender very briefly, leaving tomatoes with a rough texture.
  11. Remove the salsa from the blender, add the cilantro, and season with salt.

Source: Centro Cocina Mexicana, Sacramento, California

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