In May, Food and Wine magazine included a story about different tacos from across the US. Most of the tacos in the story were traditional al pastor, chicken, or fish varieties, but they also showed a fun fusion option. Here in Austin, we enjoy a delightful plethora of taco opportunities of all kinds, and we even have a trailer that offers up Korean-Mexican fusion fare. Chi’lantro, the name being a melding of kimchi and cilantro, moves around town to different locations, and I haven’t been able to visit the trailer yet. So, when I saw these crunchy tofu tacos with kimchi in the magazine, they were destined for my dinner table. First, I needed to visit my nearby Korean market for kimchi and gochujang. As luck would have it, the only msg-free kimchi available that day was a big jar. I asked around about how to use some of it quickly to regain refrigerator space and got some great ideas like kimchi burgers and kimchi soup. Now, my big jar will be empty in no time.
To make these tacos, tofu was drained, patted dry, and cut into one-inch cubes. A paste was made from Korean chile powder, gochujang, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and salt. In a separate bowl, cornstarch was combined with Korean chile powder and salt. The tofu cubes were tossed in the chile paste mixture and then in the cornstarch. Then, it was fried in hot oil for three minutes or less until browned and crunchy on the surface. Tortillas were filled with the fried tofu, hoisin sauce, kimchi, sliced pear, green onions, and chopped peanuts. I added a little extra gochujang as well.
I was completely thrilled with these tacos. This mix of spicy, tangy, crunchy, savory, and sweet was a big winner. I should have thought of this sooner, but an interesting substitution for the pear slices, and to extend the fusion concept, would be jicama. I also think this taco filling would be fun and delicious placed on top of crisp tostadas. Clearly, this is somthing I’ll be making again and again.