There is more that goes with tacos apart from the common sides of chips and salsa.
Take your taste buds on a culinary adventure and try out one of these as a side during your family taco Tuesday, or whichever day you have tacos.
Mexican Style Rice or Corn on the Cob
Frijoles de Olla which translates to “beans in a pot” – these can start off as some canned beans that are then cooked and a few ingredients added then mashed.
Cheesy and buttery Mexican corn packed with some jalapeño peppers
Fresh homemade pineapple salsa
Zesty Quinoa Salad
Vegan seven-layer dip made with refried beans, seasoned quinoa, fresh veggies, guacamole, and sour cream
Lime cilantro rice
Grilled vegetables such as a zucchini
What can you serve with tacos? Well, generally speaking, whatever your heart desires. This can be anything from refried beans to corn on a cob and even grilled vegetables like zucchini.
How to make the taco shell
With all the ingenuity and ingenuousness that we have, there are so many ways to make the taco shell, from the usual flour method to taco shells that were made with waffles.
But bring it back home, back to the roots, we will talk about how to make the traditional corn tacos.
The shells tend to come out either in white or yellow.
In terms of taste, you cannot really tell the difference but if you are keen enough you will notice that they tend to have a toasted corn taste. This is because they are made from finely ground corn and then quickly pressed and thereafter, cooked. They are usually served and eaten warm, otherwise, you risk it falling apart as they cool.
What to use as taco toppings and fillings?
Let us begin from the premise that you already have your taco shell well prepared and set aside.
Now, it is a well-known fact that taco life is all about the toppings and fillings!!!
It is always recommended to simply let your taste buds and your imagination lead you and be your guide. From the simple and basic cilantro to the more extravagant pork, there really is no limit as to just how flavourful and versatile tacos can be made to be.
Below is a somehow extensive list of some of the enticing toppings that when added to your taco would be sure to add that much-needed kick to your taco;
- Shredded cheese – It is loved by many for its creamy tartness that elevates the flavours in meat and vegetables.
- Sour cream that brings about that oftentimes irresistible creaminess.
- Shredded lettuce which has the effect of adding some colour and the health benefits of water and fibre to the taco.
- Salsa which is a staple in Mexican cuisine.
- Guacamole that makes for a delicious dip.
- Chopped tomatoes for some juicy sweetness.
- Chopped cilantro for garnishing and its added antioxidant benefits.
- Chopped Scallions for their less intense flavour in comparison to other types of onions and for some beautiful garnish.
- Sliced black olives that offer a meaty, slightly bitter yet earthy flavour.
- Lime wedges for the added punchy flavour and also its juice can serve as an alternative to salt for those watching their sodium intake.
Now, when you talk about fillings, they can literally really be anything. Some of the delicious ingredients that you can fill up your tacos with include;
- Traditional Carnitas
- Ground Beef with spices such as cumin
- Roasted Mushrooms
- Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Some spicy fish
- Kale and Potato
- Skirt Steak
- Fried Eggs
- Nopales (tasty and healthy cactus paddles)
- Spiced Lentils
Let us not forget that leftovers can always be repurposed into fillings and used in tacos all over again on a different day provided they are stored well and carefully.
How do you store tacos to preserve or increase their shelf life?
Maybe you had thrown a party or anticipated more guests than those that actually came and now you have found yourself with a surplus of tacos leftover.
Keep reading to find out some rather amazing storage tips that will help to keep your leftover tacos fresher and for longer periods of time.
- Store the taco shells and tortillas in airtight, resealable containers so as to ensure maximum shelf life and freshness and prevent them from becoming chewy and tough due to exposure to the elements where they absorb moisture from the air.
- Leftover tortillas can be frozen or refrigerated for a day or two. However, each should be layered with baking paper to avoid sticking. You can store the shells in the fridge for a few days but they are likely to get soggy because of the moisture in the fridge.
- Repurpose the leftover taco shells by crushing them and making taco crumbed vegetables or using them as a substitute for breadcrumbs in a crumbed eggplant.
- Store any leftover taco meat in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze it.
How do you keep tacos warm once they are prepared?
- Hot water bath- Place a small bowl or cooking pot (with the taco shells in it) into a larger bowl or cooking pot filled with hot water and cover it with a lid. As long as the water in the outer bowl or cooking pot remains hot, without a doubt, the shells will stay warm as well.
- Oven at low heat- Leave the tortillas or taco shells in the oven at about 150 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also return your tacos to your oven which has just been turned off and they will remain warm while in there.
- Covering them up- Aluminium foil can be used to cover tacos to keep them warm. All you do is simply cover the tacos tightly with the shiny side in. This aluminium foil should then be snugly covered with a dish towel itself in order to keep the tacos warm even longer.
- Food bags or containers- Specially insulated food bags that keep food cold or hot, or simply pop them in a cooler as they keep things warm too.
- Microwave– Leave /keep the warmed tacos in your microwave with the door closed but don’t turn the microwave on. This should keep in the heat for a while.
How to reheat tacos
- In the oven- Wrap five or fewer tortillas in a packet of aluminium foil and place in a 350F preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until heated through. For taco shells preheat the oven to 375F and bake for approximately 5 minutes or until crispy.
- On the Stove-Top- This method of reheating tacos has proven to work best with fresh tortillas. The tortillas are usually put on top of a dry skillet or pan and cooked for not more than 30 seconds on each side. It is important to maintain the heat on medium so as to not burn the tortillas. If you are daring and careful enough, you can also place the tortillas directly over the flames of the stove burner, kind of like making smores.
- In the Microwave- You do not want to crowd the microwave so it would be wise to place between four and five tortillas on a microwave-friendly plate. Leave them in the microwave for 30 seconds or less.
If your tortillas happen to be a few days old, simply brush them with a little water before heating them using any of the methods listed above.
Facts you probably did not know about tacos
- The arrival of tacos predates the arrival of, get this, Spanish in Mexico.
- The taco was brought into the United States by immigrants in 1905 thanks to the San Antonio Chili Queens.
- There is a National Taco Day! Celebrated on October 4th
- The world’s most expensive taco served in Mexico costs an arm and a leg at $25,000
- The world’s largest taco weighed a whopping 1,654 pounds and measured 35.9 feet long and 33.8 inches wide! The longest was over 246 feet long and filled with carnitas.
- Some of the earliest tacos are traced back to 18th Century Mexican silver mines and were described as “tacos de minero” which translates to miner’s tacos. And believe it or not, tacos of the 19th Century Mexico were served with gunpowder!!!
- The oldest tacos used corn tortillas
- The word taco roughly translates to “light lunch”.
- Mexican tradition dictates that seafood tacos are exclusive to be had at lunchtime while the more traditional tacos are had for dinner.
What drinks go with Tacos
With the rise of this Mexican delicacy in a lot of restaurants, people have wondered what drinks to bring for that ‘taco night’.
Here are some of the ideas you could show up with.
- Beer – This would be the number one – go-to drink as it pairs well with tacos and just gives an overall delicious taste to the whole meal.
- Margaritas – There is no way to beat this drink at all. It pairs well, it is easy to make and as well i have never heard anyone complain about it.
- Mezcal – A more artisanal version of tequila, this drink goes hand in hand with this recent taco boom.
- Sauvignon Blanc – This drink generally just goes well with Mexican food.