I‘m from Los Angeles, I can make a mean taco, that’s just a fact. I grew up eating a variety of them. The usual being a ground turkey taco dorado. Dorado is a crispy shell taco and here on the West Coast, knowing how to fry a tortilla into the perfect half-shell is something you learn right along with swimming. If you’re buying your taco shells in a box? I’m here to help stop you from further torturing yourself. That’s cancelled. These chorizo tofu tacos require a crunch. These came to be one evening when I decided I was going to participate in #MeatlessMonday. I didn’t stick to the script too much but the tofu makes it count, okay?! Keep reading to get the inside scoop on this, they’re bound to become your new favorite.
In every city in southern California there is a hole in the wall taco spot that everyone loves.
Every menu item is numbered, the place may only accept cash, and it’s caution to the wind when you see that B in the window. Whoever cares that the floor may not have been swept in a while isn’t there for the right reason anyway. For me that place was a spot called Burrito Track, and to this day BT has my favorite frijoles, taquito plate, and egg & chorizo burrito of my mother’s. I survived on Burrito Track all through my first pregnancy and if I happen to be in the area, it’s rare I don’t stop by.
In my childhood chorizo and tofu wasn’t a standard pairing, however these days I make it more often than any other taco. The tofu is well seasoned by the chorizo plus with ancho chili powder and a blend of other spices. It has just enough kick to tickle the palette but not make you sweat. My girls also have begun to prefer these tacos to any of the other varieties I make. That makes me feel good because I’m teaching them how to be open to new textures and flavor profiles. This is often a concern and struggle for many parents. My advice is to stick closely to the things they DO like when offering new things, it makes the introduction easier.
Perhaps you didn’t grow up in a largely Latin community and aren’t familiar with chorizo. Chorizo is a traditionally Spanish pork sausage cured, smoked, and/or fermented. Depending on the originating region of the chorizo, whether Portugal, Spain, or Mexico, it is seasoned with white vinegar, guajillo, cinnamon, and other ingredients. Spanish or Portuguese is also typically cured while Mexican chorizo is raw. Cacique is my go to brand which is a Mexican brand. For tofu I don’t have any preferred brands, I usually just grab what’s available at whichever store I’m at as long as it’s extra firm.
When it comes to the perfect half fold for your tortillas this is my technique. Heat oil in pan over medium high heat. Once it begins to shimmer place the tortilla in. Remember this tip is for corn tortillas, it won’t be the same for flour tortillas since they tend to burn faster. As soon as the tortilla hits the oil it will begin to bubble in the center. As soon as that happens flip it over for a few more seconds and then fold the shell in half. Continue to cook the shell on each side until it is as crispy as you prefer. Once you’re satisfied remove it from the oil and drain it upside down on a paper towel.
Also a tip you should know when making tofu. Prior to cooking, on a cutting board cover the tofu with paper towels, next sit something heavy on top, like a can or a pan, for about an hour. This technique will release the excess water content and helps the tofu crisp up a little better rather than being soggy. Also I season the tofu the same way I would my other tacos with a mix I’ve created. The blend is included in the recipe below.
Photography: Kaye McCoy
This is a recipe that came to me on a whim but also worked because I know flavors. Remember the key to learning to cook and be creative is understanding flavor profiles. Once you do that, you can cook anything! Try these tacos and let me know how they work for you, I’m excited to hear!