How Tuesday: Awesome Tacos

For the second edition of How Tuesday, your humble host will bring you into her kitchen for taco night at the Barrow household. Behold, the awesome taco:

Awesome tacos are soft tacos, made of pork, marinated in an asian-inspired sauce, and topped with fresh salsa verde and cheese. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to make, so it fits pretty well in our weekday dinner schedule. Because of that, and because it’s one of my husband’s favorite dinners,  we have it probably 3 times in a month. The recipe below makes 6 small tacos, which is just right for the two of us, but the recipe is easily scaled up to accommodate a larger household, or guests.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Pork loin
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Fresh ground chili paste (Sambal Olek)
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Honey
  • Ginger
  • Garlic powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Tomatillos
  • Onion
  • Cilantro
  • Jalapeno
  • Lime
  • Salt
  • Small tortillas
  • Shredded cheese
  • Oil for frying

Start off with a cut of pork loin, approximately 8 ounces. Trim any excess fat from the edges, and slice the pork up into 1/2″ strips.

Once you have that, we’ll make the sauce. In a small bowl, measure out a half cup of hoisin sauce, add a tablespoon each of the chili paste, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and honey. Add two tablespoons of soy sauce. Mix in a teaspoon of garlic powder, a teaspoon of ginger, and just a pinch of cinnamon.

Mix that all up, and add in the pork to marinate. Cover, and put in the fridge, while you make the salsa.

For two servings, we will only need a little bit of salsa. Dice up a quarter of an onion, and two medium-sized tomatillos.

If you like spicy salsa, you can dice up a whole jalapeno and add it. I prefer a mild salsa, so I cut it in quarters and remove the seeds and white bits from the interior before dicing

Add some chopped cilantro to taste, the juice of one lime, and a scant tablespoon of salt.

And you’re done with salsa! Set that aside, and heat up two pans, the first should be a small skillet or pan with a half-inch or so of oil, on med-high to high heat to fry up the tortillas. The second should be on medium heat, with just a bit of oil to keep the pork from sticking.

Once the pans are up to temperature, remove the pork from the fridge, and cook in the larger pan.

In the smaller pan, with the oil, you will fry the tortillas. Allow the tortilla to fry for about 10 seconds each side or until slightly browned and puffy. You want the tortillas to have a bit of crispiness, but you don’t want to burn them, or turn them into hard tacos.  Once they are fried, remove them to a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

Meanwhile, the pork should brown, and the sauce should caramelize just a bit. Since the strips of pork are small, they should cook in about 5-7 minutes.

Once it is done, assemble the tacos with pork, salsa and shredded cheese. Enjoy!