I rarely fry food. And I’m certainly not one who is drawn to all manner of quirky fried foods that have gained popularity in recent years (read: fried oreos, pickles, etc). But I will take fried ice cream any day! Ha…yeah.
That said, last week, I stumbled upon a method for making fried tacos, and was intrigued. It just sounds right. I saw the process demonstrated in a video in the latest issue of e-magazine, Nesting Newbies (which previous to this, I had never heard of). I happened to have everything I needed to make them, so I declared it Taco Tuesday!
The recipe section is on pages 12-21, with the demo video on page 14. The chef gives some good tips, so pay attention, if you plan to make them. One thing I learned, is that corn tortillas have a grain. And to help prevent cracking, they should be gently folded against the grain.
While I followed the recipe process, I made up my own vegetarian “meat” filling to replace the beef. I didn’t intend this to be a recipe post, but I suppose I’ll share my version:
Vegetarian Fried Tacos
Inspired by a recipe by Lea Gonzalez McIntosh, published in Nesting Newbies, issue five.
Makes about 8 tacos.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 8oz package of seitan (wheat gluten) — I like White Wave brand), sliced into matchsticks
- 1/2 link vegetarian chorizo (I use Field Roast’s “Mexican Chipotle” sausage)
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 Tbsp vegetarian “beef” broth powder (Frontier brand)
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- canola oil
- 8 small corn tortillas
- Sautée onion in olive oil in a large non-stick pan until soft and clear. Add seitan and chorizo and brown slightly. Add remaining ingredients, and stir until all liquid is absorbed.
- Fill a deep fry pan or wok with canola oil, about 1 inch deep. Heat to approximately 350º – 375ºF. To test if oil is hot enough, dip the edge of an extra tortilla into the oil. If the oil bubbles around the tortilla, it’s ready to go.
- Spread 1-2 Tbsp of meat filling down the center of the tortillas. One at a time, gently fold the ends together (against the grain), and slowly dip the bottom of the taco into the oil. Hold for 20 seconds, and then gently lay the taco on it’s side in the oil. Fry until lightly golden, and flip with tongs. Keep a close eye on them, I think I made mine a bit too dark. When done, remove with tongs, let excess oil drain, and set on a plate lined with paper towels. If you want, you can keep the plate warm in the oven until the rest are done.
- Gently top with shredded sharp cheddar, lettuce, salsa, and low-fat plain yogurt.
For dessert, I quartered and fried a few tortillas that were left, and let them drain on paper towels. After they cooled down a bit, I tossed them in a Ziploc bag with a few tablespoons of sugar and a couple shakes of cinnamon. They were a perfect compliment to Turkey Hill’s (all-natural) Philadelphia-Style Vanilla Bean ice cream.