Looking for a fiesta? You've found one! Right here in these tofu tacos. They are vibrant, crunchy, tasty and make the knife and fork unnecessary utensils. Party!
Some nights cooking becomes really uninspired and so it should! We are all tired, busy and stressed out at different times throughout our week and to expect yourself to be perfect throughout these times is not healthy or helpful. What is helpful is being mindful of your feelings, understanding them and then having ways to work around them. This process of understanding reduces stress, minimises negative self-talk and helps you install natural coping mechanisms that slowly become habit. It may not look like it, but these tacos are one way to help you cope with the 'end of workday' '100% unmotivated' 'can I eat chocolate for dinner' blues.
How do these tacos do that? I could list many pros about these tacos but the main one is, they're EASY. They may not look like it but that's all show. Trust me when I say, the hardest part is dropping them into the oil and we all know how easy dropping stuff is. So when you're finishing up at work and cultivating your plan to sabotage your day with bad food choices followed by guilt and remorse, think about the fiesta you wish you were having and know that it's only a drop of a battered tofu rectangle away.
Now the nutrition nitty gritty, of which there is plenty. Tacos get an A+ because colour is mandatory. More colour means more nutrients, it's as simple as that. Mix up the fillings by switching your cabbage colours and if you shop at the markets, look for purple and yellow carrots as well as orange. A Deep purple colour means the vegetable has a high antioxidant content - just what we need to keep us looking young and vibrant. Tacos get another tick for serving all of these veggies up raw meaning they retain a number of nutrients such as antioxidants and vitamin C that would usually be lost in the cooking process. A word to the wise though, cut the vegetables thin so your digestion doesn't have to work too hard to break them down. It also makes for a much more approachable taco.
You get your protein from the tofu. Lots of people say they don't like tofu because it tastes like nothing. I recently learnt about brining tofu and my world has been changed. Brining should only be done when you've got time on your hands though as you'll need to let the tofu sit for around 30 minutes. All you need to do is soak the slab of tofu in hot, salty water prior to preparing it. After the 30 minutes, you drain it, you pat it dry and you're ready to go. For when you don't brine, you just make sure you add a nice amount of salt to the tofu before battering it (as noted in the recipe). Then you have the batter. The batter is very tasty and adds the rest of the pizazz that you need to prove to yourself that tofu is delicious.
These tacos call for sauces and to keep things simple using a pre-made sauce is the best bet. Kewpie (Japanese mayonnaise) is great as is cashew cheese if you're vegan. Otherwise, some sriracha or your favourite chipotle chilli sauce will do just as good a job. If you're into making your own sauce, I'd recommend this spicy cashew sauce from The Simple Veganista.
If you want to make these gluten-free, you can switch the flour to a gluten-free flour and add a teaspoon of gluten-free baking powder to it to get a nice, light batter. Also make sure you buy a gluten-free beer and use 100% corn tortillas.
So, give these tacos a go! Test them out on a night when you're feeling great so you can get the hang of it and then on that night when things aren't looking so good, whip them up and make your body feel like it's at a fiesta.
makes 8 tacos
1. Drain your tofu and pat dry. Cut the tofu into thin, rectangular strips and sprinkle with salt (this is the only flavour the tofu will have so be generous). You can cut between 8 - 16 rectangles depending on the size you would like.
2. Prepare your batter by mixing the flour, spices and salt and pepper in a bowl and then adding the beer bit by bit until the batter is well combined. Leave this batter to bubble and fizz for around 10-15 minutes while you prepare the rest of your taco things.
3. Depending on what you like inside your tacos, cut everything up into taco-approrpriate size. Shaved cabbage is best as are thin sticks of carrot. Use your creative intuition though and do as you please! That's what is so great about tacos. Place everything on a plate for everyone to fill their tacos themselves or have it ready to prepare the tacos yourself.
4. Place your tortillas in some baking paper or foil and heat in the oven or microwave (do not put foil in the microwave). Leave them wrapped until you are ready to eat.
5. Time to cook the tofu! Place your oil into a deep, small saucepan and place it on your stovetop. You will need enough oil to cover the tofu when you drop it in. While the oil is heating, coat each tofu strip in a light coating of flour to help the batter stick to it. Place your bowl of batter next to your oil pan and get ready to dunk and fry!
6. One by one, dip the floured tofu into the batter and then straight into the oil. Don't overcrowd the pan (I had 3 pieces going at once). You will see the tofu puff up and go golden. Let each piece cook until a deep gold colour and they are crispy to touch. Once they're ready, remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towelling to rest. Continue this process until all the tofu is cooked.
7. Unwrap your tortillas and place them on a serving plate. Move all your elements to the table and let everyone dig in! Alternatively, place 1-2 tortillas on each plate and build your tacos to serve ready-made.
250g firm organic tofu
1 cup spelt flour + extra for dusting
185ml/half a bottle of Mexican beer*
1 tspn paprika
1 tspn ground coriander
1 tspn powdered garlic
Salt and pepper
Oil, for frying (peanut, coconut, ghee)
8 taco tortillas
- Unfortunately, beer batter is best eaten straight away so these tacos don't store well. Lucky for us, they are so quick to make!
- Peanut oil has been recommended for frying due to it's high smoke point and stability meaning the oil doesn't get damaged and become a health damaging oil when you are cooking your tacos. Other options include coconut oil and ghee if you would prefer to shallow fry however you will not get the same crispy outcome as when you deep fry them.