Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tofu Tacos al Pastor

When I read about pork/carnitas al pastor, I immediately took to the sweet-spicy combo of pineapple and various chili peppers. My favorite! Well, minus the marinated flesh on a spit, obviously. Instead of marinating veggie chik'n or seitan, I decide to crumble some tofu for this recipe.

Now the ingredient list may look lofty, but if you're in NYC, you can skip out on the usual hunting down of ingredients in Trader Joe's or Gourmet Garage and seek out the chili peppers and such in your local Mexican grocer. Save the leftover hot peppers for another recipe... another taco variety, a spicy masala, or a homemade salsa. In some traditional al pastor (which translates out to "shepherd's style") recipes, more liquid ingredients are used to marinate the meat; I thought this might be too much for the already moist tofu and cut out the orange juice and copious vinegar. I cooked the tofu until the liquid had mostly cooked out of the tofu and had just started to brown.

You could certainly cut down on the peppers if the dish is too spicy for you. Maybe it's the masochist in me, but I like to think the tears streaming down my face were those of joy rather than intense heat. Save those leftover pineapple chunks for a post-taco cool down!

The Whats:

* 1 pkg. firm tofu
* 1 tsp. ground cumin
* 1 tsp. smoked paprika
* 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
* 1 chopped guarjillo chili pepper
* 1 tsp. orange zest
* pinch of cinnamon
* 2 large garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 small red onion, diced
* 2 tsp. lime juice
* 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
* 1/3 cup chopped pineapple
* 2 tsp. olive oil
* 8 flour tortillas
* jack cheese (or vegan cheddar) and pico de gallo for serving

The Hows:

1) Drain tofu and squeeze out excess moisture. Crumble tofu into a large mixing bowl. Add all spices, garlic, onion, and pineapple, and mix until tofu is well coated.

2) Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add tofu to the pan, and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tofu starts to crisp. Remove from heat, and serve on flour tortillas with desired toppings.


Sam said...

Wow, this is a great recipe! As a former carnivore, I can say the flavor profile pretty darn close to the meat version. I added just a couple of dashes of soy sauce while cooking to up the savory taste profile. In Texas, we top al pastor tacos with finely chopped cilantro and a squirt of lime juice. mmmm!

The Friendly Veg said...

Thanks Sam- that means a lot coming from a Texan! So glad you liked it! :)