Although they originated in Mexico, tacos have become a favorite meal throughout North America. Diners can choose flour or corn tortillas and an endless variety of fillings, all of which can be prepared in innumerable ways. You can use different cuts of beef, for instance, to create distinctly different tacos. Add your favorite garnishes and dinner is ready.
Beef, Chicken and Pork
Beef cuts and pork are traditional taco fillings throughout Mexico, while chicken and ground beef are more popular in the United States. To create a Tex-Mex style meal, add grilled chicken or seasoned ground beef to soft flour tortillas. Include grated cheese, diced tomatoes, lettuce, salsa and sour cream as condiments. For a more authentic Mexican taco, use corn tortillas. Warm them in a skillet over low heat. Grill a large cut of marinated pork or beef, such as a pork or beef butt, and cut into tiny pieces when done. Add the meat to the tortillas and garnish with chopped cilantro, onions, lime, pineapple and salsa.
Fish tacos originated in Ensenada, Mexico but can now be found all over the West Coast, including California, Washington and throughout Mexico's Baja region. You can grill or fry any type of mild, white fish, such as tilapia or cod. Most fried versions use a tempura-style batter. Top the taco with cabbage, pico de gallo and a tangy mayonnaise or sour cream-based sauce.
Tacos don't have to include meat to be tasty. Instead of using vegetarian foods as condiments, use them to fill the tortillas. You can add grilled or raw onions, radishes, cilantro, salsa, cheese, cabbage, lettuce, pineapple, tomato, sour cream or any other of your favorite fillings. Grill vegetables, like eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers, to make a hearty vegetarian taco.
Taquitos and Flautas
Taquitos and flautas are closely related and very common in Mexico. Tacquitos are corn tortillas filled with meat or cheese, rolled up and deep fried. Flautas are the same, except they consist of flour tortillas instead of corn. Use any filling you like to make tacquitos or flautas, but ingredients that should stay cold, like tomatoes or sour cream, work best when added as a condiment after frying. These work especially well as a finger food or appetizer.
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