I grew up in Southern Arizona and we ate tacos all the time. It was one of the few homemade meals that I remember and every restaurant including the local truck stop served Mexican food. The tacos at our house were pretty traditional, but the tacos at my uncle’s house were baked after the meat was added. I don’t remember what those tacos tasted like, but I remember being amazed.
My sister introduced me to Ketchup. What does this have to do with tacos? My sister put Ketchup on Everything, including her tacos, and I thought she was crazy until I made Persian friends who did the same. Tacos and cheese crisps (which are the best with Ketchup) were a staple at our house.
While my sister poured the ketchup on her tacos, I preferred salsa. I learned early on how to fry a taco shell, the one and only Mexican food lesson I remember.
What I love about tacos are the fresh vegetables. I started with tomatoes from my garden and purchased a head of butter lettuce. Butter lettuce dissolves in your mouth; it is so soft.
My love for (or adaptability to) tofu started in college when I learned that I could buy a pound of tofu for less than a pound of chicken breasts. This is not always the case, but tofu is very cost effective and predictable. When I moved to Southern California, I fell in love with all Asian cuisine; my new favorite being Cambodian.
I prefer extra firm Tofu and lately my favorite is Trader Joe’s High Protein Organic Super Firm Tofu. Extra firm Tofu is easier to grille. Start by sauteing diced shallots or onions in grape seed oil and then fold in the cubed tofu.
Continue to saute the tofu until browned or it sticks to the pan, scraping the pan often with a wooden spoon. Add salt and freshly crushed pepper.
When the tofu is browned, add oyster sauce. Make sure you purchase a good quality oyster sauce (preferably from an Asian market) and stay away from Kikkoman. It seems to have excess salt and doesn’t smell like oysters. Turn the heat to low and continue to saute the tofu until the oyster sauce is absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and cover when the sauce begins to stick to the pan.
When the tofu is prepared, the shells cook up like a breeze. Start with a small skillet and enough oil to cover the bottom. With two forks in hand, lay a corn tortilla in the heated oil. Flip to cover both sides. Before the tortilla starts to harden, lift up one side with the forks. Flip to the other side when the shell hardens.
Transfer to a pan lined with paper towels. When all your shells are prepared, add the tofu and finish off the tacos with lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese and salsa. I used Trader Joe’s Serrano Salsa. It is perfect with tacos or chips, is a medium salsa, and is low in calories.
I had a friend over for lunch and we finished off these tacos in no time. They were amazing!
- Corn Tortillas
- 1 package Extra Firm Tofu (16 ounces)
- 2 small shallots or half an onion
- 2 Tbs+ grape seed oil
- 2 Tbs oyster sauce
- Butter lettuce
- Vine ripened tomatoes
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Fresh salsa or Ketchup
- Dice the shallots or onion. Set aside. Chop the tofu into 1/4 inch cubes.
- Heat 2 Tbs grape seed oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots or onion and saute for 30 seconds.
- Fold in the tofu until covered in oil. Continue on medium heat until the tofu is browned, turning often. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- When the tofu browns or begins to stick, add the oyster sauce. Turn heat to low and saute until the oyster sauce is absorbed.
- Turn heat off and cover.
- Heat 2 Tbs of grape seed oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add a corn tortilla and fry on both sides. Flipping with two forks or a utensil. Flip up and hold one side until the other hardens. Flip over and fry until both sides are crispy.
- Transfer the taco shell to a pan lined with paper towels.
- Layer the tofu in the taco shells to make a bottom layer.
- Add lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and shredded cheddar cheese.
- Serve with salsa, or if you’re like my sister Ketchup.