The inspiration, Ottawa’s Ola Cucina, one of my favourite restaurants right now. It’s one of my Friday night hangouts because of its scratch-made, no-nonsense, casual dishes that taste ‘more-ish’.
We have had these twice this last week. Yes, they are that good, but that’s not the reason. Been working long hours and in anticipation of getting home late, been planning simple and quick meals, with the understanding that dinner would most probably fall to my husband. Last Monday I got home to some less than appealing ‘chorizo’ tofu with all the fixings. I asked, “what happened? It was supposed to be a simple meal.” My husband explained that it was simple until he tried to make two batches of the ‘chorizo’ filling. He’s not a vegetarian and we thought it would be nice to have a meat option for him for a change. The end result? Two ‘chorizo’ fillings. Both burnt. Both extremely dry. Let’s just say that my husband is not a great multi-tasker. It was eight o’clock and I was very hungry, so I ate it, but it left me wanting more. I appreciated my husband’s efforts, truly, but decided he’s not ready to graduate from soup making, not quite yet.
This, is my version. Yum! And exactly what I had envisioned. You’ll recognize the ‘chorizo’ tofu recipe from my Romaine Salad with Ground Cherry Vinaigrette & Crumbled Chorizo Tofu. It’s my go-to recipe for anything relating to tacos, fajitas, burritos, etc. Such a beautiful vegetarian filling, full-bodied, spicy, and savoury with a hint of lime to balance all those flavours out. The sour cream imparts a cooling effect and creaminess that’s abided by no else, but the avocado slices (sometimes guacamole when I have leftovers). The cabbage, carrot and and radishes bring crunch and hit of freshness. The tomatillo sauce and hot sauce are flavour boosters balanced by the pickled onions that provide just a hint of sweetness. All topped off with fresh cilantro leaves to aromatize it all and wrapped in a warm, rustic, corn tortilla, for which there’s truly no substitute.
It’s a taco to rival any of the others out there. For sure! It’s a fast week night meal, but you’d never guess by the power house of flavours. Ola fiesta!
Serves 2 hungry vegetarians (makes 8 tacos)
|Tofu, crumbled||300 grams|
|Olive oil||5 tbsp|
|Garlic, cloves, crushed||4|
|Hungarian paprika||1 tsp|
|Smoked paprika||½ tsp|
|Aleppo powder (or other spicy pepper powder)||½ tsp|
|Coriander, ground||1 tsp|
|Cumin, ground||¼ tsp|
|Lime juice||2 squeezes|
|Tortillas, corn, small||8|
|Sour cream||3 tbsp (1tsp per taco)|
|Cabbage, shredded||1 cup|
|Cilantro, leaves, fresh|
|Onions, sliced, pickled|
|Salsa verde||1/2 cup|
1. Drain tofu and using your hands crumble tofu into ground-like consistency. Place crumbled tofu in a small sauté pan on medium heat. At this point, if the tofu chunks are still too big, I apply a potato masher to make the adjustments. Cook tofu for 1-2 minutes on its own. This helps evaporate excess liquid. Add remaining ingredients: olive oil, garlic, spices, seasoning, lime rind and juice and continue to cook until tofu crumble is golden brown, approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. To warm tortillas, dampen with water a few sheets of paper towel. Place tortillas between the two layers. Place on a plate and microwave for 45 seconds. Wrap plate in foil to keep tortillas warm.
3. Assembly: Layer on the warmed tortillas in this order: sour cream, radishes, cabbage, carrots, chorizo tofu, avocado, pickled onions, cilantro leaves, tomatillo sauce, hot sauce, a squeeze of lime juice.
4. Serve on their own or with a simple green salad on the side.