When it comes to real crowd-pleasing food there aren’t many better easy to prepare and full of flavour meals than a table full of tasty tacos. Sharing foods are interactive and fun where you can stuff corn tortillas full of your favourite spicy morsels and top with lashings of zingy salsas and dips.
Our taco nights generally included a bowl of chilli or fajitas with guacamole and Pico di Gallo but the chilli was always the same and the fajita seasoning we must admit always came from a packet where the ingredients are definitely less than desirable. On the face of it though it looked like it was a cheap eat, tasty and easy to cook, however if you buy the right ingredients in the first place, the initial cost may be higher but you can replicate the food time and again and make a bigger saving in the long run.
After a trip to Mexico and trying street food and more, we could see a theme certainly running through the cuisine which centralised around chilli, onion, lime and coriander (cilantro) but the end results were surprisingly different. What’s more is that the cuisine is often catering for people with not a lot of money so the main stars of the show are the sauces and spices which can make a little go a lot further, a tenet certainly within keeping with our way of cooking today.
We ate tacos with salsa verde, a vibrant green sauce full of jalapeño spice, with coriander (cilantro also known for Mexican parsley) and lime and we came across an old school Mexican dish which is pre-Hispanic called Pozole. This is a green stew often traditionally served for celebrations and new year which contained hominy (corn which has been washed in limewater but isn’t common here), pumpkin seeds and tomatillos. We thought the mixture of the two combined together would make a really good sharing dish to stuff into tortillas. Instead of meat which a traditional Pozole would use we’ve reached for some earthy mushrooms but the classic mix of onions and peppers or Jackfruit also work exceptionally well.
Adding anti-inflammatory foods such as pumpkin seeds which are high in carotenoids and vitamins also intensify the health benefits of your diet. Green herbs are also anti-inflammatory and nutrient-rich and these tacos are full to the brim with them. The last thing we thought was to be able to detoxify with a taco night, but here it is. Provechito.
- 75g of fresh coriander including stalks (cilantro)
- 10g of fresh mint leaves
- 10g of fresh oregano leaves
- 50g of fresh spinach leaves
- 100g of toasted pumpkin seeds
- 2 jalapeños or the equivalent from a jar
- 4 cloves of garlic peeled
- 2 teaspoons of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
- 285g of sweetcorn
- Juice of 1 lime
- The flesh of 2 large tomatoes or the equivalent from a jar of tomatillos
- ½ a white onion
- 400ml of vegetable stock enriched with nutritional yeast
- 500g of a meaty mushroom like shiitake (Or the equivalent amount of your favourite vegetables. Onions and peppers are traditional or Jackfruit works well)
- 1/3 of a shredded lettuce (garnish)
- 1 sliced pickled red onion (sliced red onion pickled in cider vinegar and lime for 2 hours)
- 8 corn tortillas
- Guacamole (see our recipe)
- Pico di gallo (chopped red onion, tomatoes and coriander salad with a zingy lime and olive oil dressing)
Put the pumpkin seeds in a hot dry pan and toast for a few minutes until they puff and pop. Keep them moving to avoid burning.
Put the pumpkin seeds in a blender along with the rest of the sauce ingredients: 75g of fresh coriander including stalks (cilantro), 10g of fresh mint leaves, 10g of fresh oregano leaves, 50g of fresh spinach leaves, 2 jalapeños or the equivalent from a jar, 4 cloves of garlic peeled, 2 teaspoons of paprika, 1 teaspoon of ground cloves, 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds, 285g of sweetcorn, Juice of 1 lime, the flesh of 2 large tomatoes or the equivalent from a jar of tomatillos, ½ a white onion, 400ml of vegetable stock enriched with nutritional yeast and blend to a soupy paste.
Slice your mushrooms in quarters and fry in a pan on a high heat for a few minutes until starting to brown and pour in the sauce. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes.
Garnish with the shredded lettuce and a few strands of pickled red onion.
Heat the tortillas and serve alongside some Pico di Gallo salsa and Guacamole.