Why are tacos so popular

From tortilla to salsa - this is how you make original Mexican tacos

Tired of Italian pizza, fried Asian noodles or sushi today? Then grab a sombrero, put the tequila and a few desperados cold and invite your friends over for a spontaneous Mexico evening. Of course, the right food is still missing for a successful theme evening, after all, your guests shouldn't go home hungry later.

What could be more obvious than the typical finger food - original Mexican tacos. With just a few ingredients, the folded tortillas can be quickly made and served for several people. Since they are eaten with their fingers, your guests don't have to handle cutlery. That's why they're also ideal for standing parties. But what about the tacos? Were they hard or soft on the outside, and what was coming in again?

Burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos - it's easy to lose track of things. Everything is delicious, but somehow similar for us Europeans. So it's time for some clarity in terms of Tex-Mex knowledge and the basic recipe for original Mexican tacos so that nothing can go wrong on your Mexico evening.

Table of Contents

Tacos - what's up with the folded tortillas?

The word taco in Spanish means something like “plug” or “dowel” - what exactly this has to do with the filled tortillas that are eaten on almost every occasion in Mexico is still not entirely clear. Nevertheless, the name has firmly established itself for the traditional, down-to-earth dish - both in Mexico itself and in the USA and here in Europe, where they are also very popular.

Tacos are a an integral part of Tex-Mex cuisine, which combines elements of southern cuisine (e.g. deep-frying and braising) and traditional Mexican dishes and ingredients. The use of tortillas, chillies, beans and spices such as cumin and coriander is particularly typical of the style of cooking that was developed in the United States. In the USA there is now even a well-known fast food chain called 'Taco Bell', which specializes in tacos and other Tex-Mex dishes.

Soft tortillas made from corn flour are used for original Mexican tortillas. They are filled, folded once in the middle and immediately eaten by hand. The Americans came up with the tortilla variant made from wheat flour or as a hard, crispy shell.

Even more Tex-Mex knowledge:

  • Flat, occupied Corn tortillas be called Tostadas. Do they have a boat shape and will friedthey are called Chalupas.
  • For burritos become big, soft, warmed Wheat flour tortillas used. you will be warm, filled, folded and rolled served. Burritos are locked all around.
  • At enchiladas however will Wheat tortillas filled, rolled up and left open on the sides. you will be Doused with hot chili sauce and with cheese in the oven gratinated.
  • For Quesadillas 2 large wheat tortillas are placed on top of each other and with Vegetables, meat and cheese filled. They are heated in the pan until the cheese melts. They are then served quartered.
  • Smaller wheat tortillas that you fill yourself at the table are called Fajitas.

The perfect tortilla - how should it be?

When it comes to the question of the perfect tortilla, opinions differ depending on the region. The question is: do you want to make the original Mexican taco or one perfect Magic a Tex-Mex taco?

The flour

Tortillas for mexican tacos become always with a part of cornmeal prepared. For Tex-Mex tacos however, both tortillas are made Corn and wheat flour used.

The consistency

Mexicans love theirs 'Soft Tacos' with soft tortillas. In the USA, in addition to the soft ones, there are also the 'Hard Shell Tacos' very popular. To do this, the tortilla is baked in the oven until it is crispy so that it stays in shape.

When it comes to the basic ingredients, however, everyone agrees: Flour, salt, baking powder, some fat in the form of oil or melted butter and warm water always belong in. The basic dough is formed into small balls, rolled out into thin flatbreads and baked in the pan until it forms bubbles.

Baked wheat tortilla with typical bubbles.

Taco filling - what can I put in?

The original Mexican vs. Tex-Mex taco is also used for the filling:

The meat

In the Mexican taco belongs exclusively fried or braised beef (often also hack), the only with salt and pepper is seasoned. Everything is allowed in the Tex-Mex taco: Chicken, pork, or ground beef with typical Taco seasoning (Cumin, paprika and coriander).

The salsa

In the Mexican version, salsa is always made from fresh vegetables like Tomato, onion, coriander, jalapeño and lime homemade. One can often find it on the Tex-Mex taco ready-made salsa sauces and a couple of fresh tomato cubes.

The toppings

Are original mexican Onions and lots of fresh coriander on top. Important: you will never find cheese here! Not so with the American counterpart: Belong here Cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream to the good tone.

The sharpness

Tacos are not always sharp. Usually the homemade salsa and the processed jalapeños determine the degree of spiciness.

These classic taco variants with traditional fillings are particularly often prepared:

  • Tacos Asador: filled with fried minced meat.
  • Tacos de Cazo: filled with pork, prepared in a deep copper pot.
  • Tacos de Cazuela: filled with braised beef, prepared in the traditional cazuela, the Mexican version of a clay saucepan.
  • Fish tacos: come from California and are filled with grilled or fried fish.
  • Shrimp tacos: filled with fried or deep-fried shrimp, topped with lime and red and white cabbage.
  • Tacos al Pastor / Adobada: filled with meat grilled on a skewer, topped with salsa.
  • Tacos al carbon: filled with smoky meat that is grilled over charcoal.
  • Vegetarian tacos: filled with black beans, chickpeas and roasted chili strips.
  • Hearty Breakfast Tacos: filled with scrambled eggs, chorizo ​​or bacon and potatoes.
  • Sweet dessert tacos: hard shell, soft core - crispy waffles are made into the typical Tex-Mex taco shape and filled with ice cream or cream and fruit.

Homemade salsa - so important for good tacos

There is a suitable salsa for every taste. Sweet, mild, hot, fruity, hearty - homemade tacos never get boring with different variations. The real secret of a good salsa: prepare it yourself from fresh vegetables and fruit! Lots of herbs and a bit of spiciness make them the perfect taco companion:

  • Salsa roja - the red salsa: Base made from freshly cooked tomatoes, chillies, onions, garlic and cumin. Often quite hot with a smoky note.
  • Salsa verde - the green salsa: It gets its green color from the base of green tomatoes, the 'tomatillos'. They are boiled down and mashed with various herbs such as coriander, oregano and parsley, as well as onion and garlic.
  • Salsa negra - the black salsa: It gets its dark color from roasted, dried chillies, oil and garlic (attention: spicy!).
  • Pico de Gallo - literally 'cock's bill': a mixture of fresh, raw tomatoes, finely diced onions, jalapeños and lime - often cucumber cubes, green peppers or radishes add even more freshness.
  • Avocado Salsa - the somewhat coarser relative of the classic creamy guacamole: Avocado is roughly diced and seasoned with lime, vinegar and herbs.
  • Pineapple Salsa - less traditional, but fruity: fresh pineapple, tomatoes, onions, peppers, chilies and coriander are finely chopped and seasoned with lime.

From tortilla to salsa - the basic Mexican taco recipe



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The original Mexican tacos with homemade corn tortillas are ready.

3 commandments for accident-free taco enjoyment

Commandment 1: You should heat the tortillas - For soft tacos, best wrapped in a kitchen towel, 30 seconds in the microwave. This way they don't tear, they become flexible, but not dry.

Commandment 2: Don't over-fill your taco - then there is no mess and you can eat one or two more tacos straight away.

Commandment 3: You're supposed to eat tacos with your hands - because that's the way it should be. The tortilla is folded up with the fingers and eaten out of hand immediately. With a knife and fork you make it more complicated than it actually is.

Tacos always new - 5 colorful recipe ideas

Whether crispy Tex-Mex tacos, fish and shrimp tacos for seafood fans, the vegetarian version or sweet dessert tacos for those with a sweet tooth - the traditional Mexican dish is more varied than you might have thought: