A taco is a traditional Mexican dish consisting of a hand-sized tortilla garnished with a filling. The tortilla is then folded around the filling and eaten by hand. Tacos are common Mexican street food, well-known around the world because of their delicious and unbeatable flavor. If you want to discover a classic Tex-Mex dish, try this flavorful recipe of tacos al carbon.
Origin and history
The origins of the taco are not precisely known but what’s for sure is that it is fairly new, compared to some of the other Mexican foods dating back to Aztec times. There’re many theories of the appearance and usage of the word :
According to one theory, the word taco describes a typical Mexican dish of a maize tortilla folded around the food. Anther possibility states that the word derives from the Nahuatl word “tlahco“, meaning “half” or “in the middle,”. One final most probable theory advances that the culinary meaning of “taco” derives from the meaning “plug” employed among Mexican silver miners, who used explosive charges in plug form consisting of a paper wrapper and gunpowder filling. According to Mr. Pilcher – professor of history at the University of Minnesota – the taco appeared sometime in the 18th century and the first references to the taco come from the end of the 19th century. And one of the first types of tacos described is called tacos de minero which translates to mean miner’s tacos.
The tacos al carbon are very famous in Mexico and the Tex-Mex culture. The term al carbon is the Spanish phrase for cooking over coal, so the taco al carbon consists of grilled meats typically beef, to which coriander and onion and filled inside a tortilla, and depending on where you are it could be a corn tortilla (Mexico) or wheat flour tortilla (Texas).
Notes and tips
Here are some of our tips to make the best tacos al carbon :
- Tacos al Carbon comes standard with flour tortillas in tex-mex culture, but you can definitely sub it for corn tortillas.
- For the meats, as it can be imagined, in the tacos al carbon they’re grilled over hot coals. If you can do it this way, it’s more than perfect. However, if you can’t, don’t worry because they can also be prepared in a cast-iron or a nonstick frying pan. Usually, the taco al carbon is made from beef (such as flank, skirt, or sirloin steak), although any type of meat will do and it can be filled with a variety of other meats, including pork, chicken, seafood, or even tofu for a vegetarian version.
- Traditionally, the beefsteak are grilled as fillets, however, in our recipe, we’ve decided to cut them into strips to speed the preparation. But feel free to ignore that if you want.
- Usually, the steak is usually marinated before cooking, and it’s a total flavor game changer so we totally recommend doing it. We’ve used a simple classic marinade of lime juice, garlic, and oil.
- The taco al carbon is commonly topped with bell peppers, onions, and freshly chopped coriander. We’ve also cooked red peppers and onions and added them to the tortillas.
The tacos al carbon are preferably served warm, with a squeeze of lime juice and sour cream on top. They can be served with various sauces, such as green salsa, red salsa, chipotle pepper salsa, or simply sour cream. They can also be accompanied by raw vegetables (such as lettuce, onion, tomatoes, chiles, …) or roasted spring onions, …
- Tacos al pastor;
- Carne asada tacos;
Tacos al Carbon
- 500 g beef steak
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 red onion, large
- 3 limes
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2-3 tbsp coriander
- 1 yellow onion, small
- 100 g sour cream
- Zest and juice the limes (or lemons).
- Clean the beef fillets and cut into strips ¾" (2cm) thick.
- Mince the garlic cloves.
- To marinate the steak, add limes juice, half the limes zest, minced garlic, 1 tbsp of olive oil, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Meanwhile slice the red onions and red peppers into sticks.
- Over medium heat, add the rest of olive oil to a frying pan, then the red onions, red peppers, the rest of salt and black pepper and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
- Once the beef marinated, add beef fillets strips over high heat and cook them for about 4-5 minutes, until they are well cooked or to the level of doneness that you like the most.
- On a griddle heat 8 flour tortillas over medium heat, for about 20-30 seconds per each side, until they are well heated.
- Prepare the rest of the ingredients by dicing the raw yellow onion, mincing the coriander, and preparing the lime zest and sour cream.
- Remove from the griddle the tortillas and put on each one: some of the cooked peppers, the beef strips, the onion dices, the coriander, the sour cream, and top with lime zest.
- Serve with lemon wedges and sour cream.
Sources: 1. Wikipedia - Taco : www.wikipedia.org.