Tacos

taco_anatomy

Probably the most common among Mexican foods is the Taco. It is a corn or wheat tortilla folded or rolled around a filling. The filling may include beef, mutton or shellfish and often has salsa, vegetables and cheeses for added variety. A Taco is usually eaten using bare hands.

The dish was served early on by the Aztecs and only the Spanish gave its name which actually means “light snack”. It used to be that the Mexican women served this as a practical way of serving comida to husbands and guests.

The taco as we know it today is the result of an evolution from the simple tortilla filled with meat. It gained popularity that it has become the most known and well-loved Mexican food of all time.

Tacos can either have soft shells or hard shells, both have fillings of meat (or beans), vegetables and cheese. Soft shell tacos are the not crunchy ones – flexible and moldable. A soft-shell taco can retain freshness even when in travel; only it can get soggy because of the salsa filling. It can be eaten with hands with less spillage, as long as it is not overfilled. A hard shell taco is the one which has that crunchy u-shaped tortilla. The shell may break so easily so it is best to consume it once prepared.

Here is a recipe of the breakfast tacos, more popularly known as the “puffy taco” which originated from San Antonio, Texas. The following are the ingredients:

* 1 cup Hash Brown Potato mix with Onion
* 2 cup hot Water
* 3/4 tsp. Salt
* 10 Burrito sized Flour Tortillas
* 10 Eggs beaten
* 1 lb. cooked Pork Sausage
* 1/2 tsp. Salt
* Pepper to taste
* 2 Tbsp. Butter
* Salsa to taste

Just combine hash brown mix, water, and 3/4 teaspoon salt and mix well. Let this mixture stand uncovered for 15 minutes. Afterwards, drain the hash browns. In a large skillet melt the butter and then add the hash brown, eggs, sausage, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and
pepper. Mix this well. Cook over low heat while stirring gently until the eggs are done. Spoon the hash brown and egg mixture onto the warm tortillas, and top with salsa if desired.

Another kind of Tacos is the Tacos de Pescado or Fish Tacos that is said to have originated from Baja California in Mexico. This kind consists of grilled or fried fish, lettuce or cabbage, pico de gallo, and a sour cream or citrus/mayonnaise sauce, all placed on top of a corn or flour tortilla. This recipe has that delicious tequila-lime-chili flavor with optional toppings of black beans, jalapeno peppers, diced tomato, carrot strips and green onions. Needed for this recipe are:

* 1/2 cup tequila
* 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
* 1/2 cup water
* 2 tablespoons kosher salt
* 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 2 pounds cod fillet, cut into 3- by 1-inch strips
* 1/2 cup mayonnaise
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1 (12 ounce) package coleslaw mix
* 1 tablespoon chopped green onions
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 1 tablespoon baking soda
* 2 teaspoons kosher salt
* 1 cup oil for deep frying
* 9 corn or flour tortilla

Start by making a marinade out of the tequila, lime juice, water, 2 tablespoons salt, turbinado sugar, and 1 tablespoon chili powder. Set aside 1/4 cup of the marinade. Place the cod to the remaining marinade, cover and set aside. Meanwhile, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, 1 tablespoon chili powder, cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, sugar, and green onions in a large bowl. Then add the coleslaw mix and green onion and mix until coated. Set this aside. In a shallow dish, mix the flour, 1 tablespoon chili powder, baking soda, and 2 teaspoons salt. Remove pieces of cod from the marinade, shake off the marinade, and coat in the flour mixture. Fry the coated cod in the oil that is pre-heated to 375degrees. Cook the fish until browned on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes. Heat the black beans mixture and reserved marinade in separate saucepans. Assemble the tacos by placing fish in the center of the tortilla, topping with coleslaw (and any other desired toppings), drizzling with the warm marinade and folding the tortilla to close.

Lastly, this ground beef taco recipe uses the hard-shell taco and may be served as in a taco bar so the guests and kids will enjoy more. To prepare, the following are needed:

* 1 tsp. canola oil
* 1/2 cup finely-chopped onion
* 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
* 1 tsp. ground cumin
* 1 tsp. chili powder
* 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
* 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
* 1/2 cup water
* 8 taco shells
* 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
* 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (cheddar and Monterey Jack)
* 1 cup salsa
* 1 cup guacamole (optional)

Before everything else, pre-heat the oven to 350degrees. Then cook the onions in the oil heated in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and let it brown. Then put cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and water. Bring this to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile place taco shells on a baking sheet in the center of preheated oven. Heat the shells for 3-5 minutes until lightly toasted. Assemble the taco or let the diners assemble their own tacos after all the ingredients are laid out the table. Basically, start by putting lettuce in the bottom of the taco shell and then top with the ground beef, cheese, salsa and guacamole.

These taco recipes are a sure hit!