Recipe: Turkish Tacos

Well, these tacos are not specifically “Turkish,” but we’re taking creative licence for some alliteration. This recipe will give you more of a generally Middle Eastern-themed taco, which (like all tacos) can use as many (or as few) fillers as you’d like.

Whether you choose to simplify with fewer ingredients, or go full-gusto with the recipe below, you’ll be sure to find these creations to make for tasty exotic eating!

What you’ll need:

  • Hard corn taco shells (about 12)
  • Firm tofu, drained (16 oz)
  • 1 Can chickpeas, washed
  • 1 medium cucumber, skinned and diced
  • 1 – 2 Cups arugula or other leafy greens
  • ½ Cup crumbled Bulgarian feta
  • ½ Cup thick plain yogurt
  • ½ Cup tahini sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 – 5 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ Tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon zatar
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you want ’em)
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

STEP ONE: Tofu time!
Wash and drain your tofu. I find the most effective way to do this is to place the tofu on a folded paper towel, and sandwich the tofu block between two plates. Stack additional plates on top to get more weight pressing down onto the tofu. Let gravity take its course for about 2 hours, and drain any liquid pressed out of the tofu.

After your tofu is drained, dice the block into 1/2 inch cubes and toss into a frying pan with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally to keep the cubes cooking evenly. If they start to burn, just lower the heat. People always ask how I get my tofu so crispy; the answer is simply a longer cooking time.

Let the tofu sizzle for about 10 minutes, and while its cooking you can follow Step Two in preparing the chickpeas.

STEP TWO: Garbanzo bean greatness!
In a medium bowl, mix the chickpeas, 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, the turmeric powder, the cayenne, and some salt and pepper. Toss the chickpeas until thoroughly coated with oil and spice, and then spread them on a small baking sheet.

Roast the chickpeas for about 20 minutes at 300º F (I find using a toaster oven works very efficiently for this, but a full oven will work fine too). Once the beans are finished roasting, toss them back into the bowl, add the fresh parsley, and set aside.

STEP THREE: Cool cucumber yogurt!
This taco topper cold not be simpler: in a medium bowl mix the diced cucumbers, yogurt, vinegar, and  a touch of olive oil (½ a teaspoon should be fine). Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix until the ingredients are incorporated, and set aside. Now lets check back on our tofu!

STEP FOUR: Tofu finish!
Turn down the heat to a medium low setting, and add the soy sauce. Toss the tofu in the soy so that all the pieces have a chance to absorb the sauce. Cook about 2 minutes, then add the lemon, tahini, and zatar. Stir frequently for about 1 minute, making sure all the tofu has a chance to be coated with all of the ingredients. The mixture will quickly begin to brown (this is fine, just don’t let it burn). Turn off the heat and set aside.

STEP FIVE: Cuisine construction!
Time to put your tacos together. There is no right or wrong way to build a taco, but here’s our suggested method: Start with the leafy greens, stuff in the tofu mixture, pile on the chickpeas, then add the yogurt, and end with the feta. A little goes a long way when stuffing a taco, so don’t feel obligated to overflow your shells with fillings.

This crazy combination of flavors will be sure to impress any guest! For an extra-showy wow factor, serve them from a tagine. Yep, you’re cool.

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