The final project for culinary school involved creating a menu and serving it to the public. My biggest contribution to it was this Korean BBQ Taco recipe, which features everything homemade, like the corn tortillas, the tofu filling, and the kimchi. Those are then served together along with a slice of avocado, some cilantro and toasted sesame seeds for a salty-rich-tangy-spicy affair that I adore.
When it comes to corn tortillas, there really is no comparison from storebought to homemade. Homemade ones are soft and flexible, and only use three ingredients (water, corn flour, and salt), and they’re not hard to make if you’ve got plastic wrap, a rolling pin, and 10 minutes to spare. Even if they don’t come out with a perfect round edge (as mine certainly didn’t), they still work just fine.
As for the homemade kimchi, I walked you through that whole thing in the last blog post. Buying high-quality, unpasteurized, and vegan kimchi is not always easy, and if it is easy, it’s usually pricey. But the cost of cabbage, ginger and garlic is dirt cheap, and really only requires 20-30 minutes of effort.
But the tofu, of course, is the star of the show! I marinated it in a ham-like mixture (adapted from Taymer’s Holiday Ham), baked it, and then tossed it with a Korean-style BBQ-sauce. Really nothing complicated, but it’s got tons of flavor. I bet you could even skip the marinating step if you really wanted – it wouldn’t be quite as flavorful, but there’s enough going on in this recipe to more than compensate.
Korean BBQ Tacos
For the tofu marinade:
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons pineapple juice (or whole pineapple, crushed)
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Black pepper, to taste
1 block firm tofu, pressed and shredded (use a box grater)
Combine all ingredients (except tofu) in a shallow pan and let marinate for 30 minutes -1 hour. Heat the oven to 350 F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread the tofu mixture on it. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes, flipping every 15 minutes or so.
For the Korean BBQ sauce:
1/4 cup tamari
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce (like sriracha)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
1/2 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
In a small saucepan, bring the tamari, maple syrup, chili-garlic sauce, garlic powder and rice wine vinegar to a boil. In a separate bowl, combine the arrowroot with the water, and stir into the boiling sauce mixture. Cook until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the sesame oil.
Baked tofu (above)
Korean BBQ sauce (above)
10-12 corn tortillas, warmed
1 avocado, sliced
6 tablespoons kimchi
Small handful cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Toss the baked tofu with the BBQ sauce. Place a slice of avocado on the middle of a taco shell, followed by a spoonful of the tofu mixture, and roughly 1/2 tablespoon kimchi. Garnish with chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
These tacos are hearty and spicy, and yet somehow still fit into a summertime menu. I love the pulled pork texture of the tofu (quite similar to the pulled pork buns we did a week ago), and adventurous omnivores approve as well.
Well guys, we might not be around for brunch this weekend since we’re out of town, but rest assured we will be eating lots of good stuff. And I wish you all good eats as well!