Tacos differ from similar foods such as burritos, which are frequently larger and rolled instead of folded; taquitos, which are rolled and fried; and chalupas/tostadas, which can fry prior to filling. Tacos are a popular type of antojito, or Mexican street food, that has spread throughout the world.
What is Taco?
A taco is a traditional Mexican dish made up of small hand-sized corn as well as a wheat tortilla topped with a filling. After that, the tortilla is folded around the filling and eaten by hand. Tacos can fill with a variety of ingredients, which include beef, pork, chicken, seafood, beans, vegetables, and cheese, giving them great flexibility and variety. They are frequently topped with condiments such as salsa, guacamole, or sour cream, as well as vegetables such as lettuce, onion, tomatoes, and chiles.
Taco as a traditional Mexican dish consisting of a maize tortilla rolled up around food is just one of the meanings connoted by the word. This meaning of the Spanish word “taco” is a Mexican innovation, but the word “taco” is used in other instances to mean “wedge; wad, plug; billiard cue; blowpipe; ramrod; short, muscly person or wood piece.
According to one terminological theory, the gourmet origin of the term “taco” in Mexico can date directly to its use as a term signifying “plug” among Mexican silver miners. The miners used plug-shaped explosive charges made of a paper wrapper and gunpowder filling.
There is considerable debate about the roots of the taco in Mexico, with some claiming that the taco precedes the arrival of the Spanish, citing ethnological evidence that indigenous people living in the Valley of Mexico’s lake region customarily ate tacos filled with small fish. Others assert that the advent of the taco is much more recent, with one of the more popular theories which are that it invents by silver miners in the 18th century, but the first mention of the word “taco” in Mexico was in Manuel Payno’s 1891 novel Los Bandidos de Ro Fro.
How to prepare Mexican Tacos?
Ingredients in Mexican Tacos
- seasoned ground beef (or other meat)
- Olive oil or canola oil
- Tomato sauce
- Water or beef broth (you can also use chicken broth in a pinch)
- Toasted tomatoes, diced
- cilantro, freshly chopped
- Red onion or white onion, chopped
- Cheese: You can use shredded Mexican blend cheese or any type of cheese that melts well. Consider using Mozzarella, cheddar, or Monterey Jack cheese.
- Chilli powder, cumin, smoked paprika, dried oregano, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper for taco seasoning
- Tortillas (corn tortilla or flour tortilla)
- Lime wedges (for squeezing on the tacos)
- Sour cream (optional)
- Salsa (optional)
Steps for Taco recipe:
Step 1: Prepare the Ground Beef
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat for two minutes. When the oil is hot enough just to sizzle, add your meat.
Stir the ground beef into the skillet as it cooks evenly and begins to brown. This procedure will take 6-8 minutes. While the meat is browning, break it up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon or potato masher.
Step 2: Seasoning with salt and peppers
Once the meat became brown, add the beef broth, tomato paste, garlic powder, sea salt cumin, chilli powder, oregano, and black pepper to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and let the meat mixture simmer for 3-5 minutes, till the sauce thickens. Stir every now and then. Turn the flame down and set the skillet aside when the sauce has thickened.
Step 3: Warm up the Tortillas
Heat the tortillas one at a time in a hot ungreased skillet or cast-iron comal (the round Mexican flat skillet) for 30 seconds on each side.
In a pinch, you can also microwave your tortillas. Another method is to heat your tortillas directly on a gas burner for a few seconds, letting the edges become slightly charred.
Step 4: Put Your Tacos Together
Add about 2-3 tablespoons of your taco meat mixture to each taco. Add onion, cheese, cilantro, and tomato to the minced beef mixture. You can top your tacos with whatever you want, such as sour cream, pico de gallo, or guacamole. Squeeze the lime wedges on top of the tortillas.
How to make Mexican Tacos Without Dairy or Gluten?
Even if you have a special diet, you can enjoy authentic Mexican tacos. Simply substitute corn tortillas for flour tortillas to make gluten-free tacos. Keep in mind that some grated cheese is coated with a light flour coating to maintain it from trying to stick together. As a result, if you’re going to follow a gluten-free diet, you might want to stuff your own cheese.
To render dairy-free tacos, leave out the sour cream and cheese. If you want to eat fewer carbs, use low-carb tacos rather than regular tacos.
Traditional varieties of Mexican Tacos:
Tacos al pastor or tacos de adobada (shepherd style) are narrow pork steaks flavoured. Added with adobo seasoning and speared and merged on a vertical rotisserie cooked and flame-broiled as it spins.
Tacos de Camarones (shrimp tacos) originally came from Mexico’s Baja California. Grilled or fried shrimp are typically served with the same toppings as fish tacos. Lettuce or cabbage, pico de gallo, avocado, and a sour cream or citrus/mayonnaise sauce. Add all on top of a corn or flour tortilla.
Tacos de lengua (beef tongue tacos), which is prepared for several hours in water with onions, garlic, and bay leaves until tender and soft, then sliced and braised in a small amount of oil.
Tacos de Pescado (fish tacos) that consists of grilled or fried fish, lettuce or cabbage. Also some pico de gallo, and a sour cream or citrus/mayonnaise sauce on top of a corn or flour tortilla.
Tacos dorados (fried tacos; literally, golden tacos) or taquitos, in which tortillas are stuffed with pre-cooked pulverised chicken, beef, or barbacoa. Started rolling into an extended cylinder, and deep-fried until crisp. They are occasionally cooked in a microwave oven or broiled.
Tacos sudados (sweaty tacos) are made by stuffing soft tortillas with a spicy meat mixture and placing them in a cloth-wrapped basket. The covering keeps the tacos warm while trapping steam (sweat) and softening them.