[NOTE: This is the first in an on-going series of posts on fusion tacos, where food from around the world goes wild, and becomes something greater: a taco.]
from: Jamey Bennett
to: Daniel Larkin
I hope your hike is going well. Sorry about texting you when you were on the trail. I wasn’t thinking!
SO I found out there is a Thai taco fusion truck on the Drexel campus, just a couple miles away, so we went to find a taco today. I wanted to get some ideas from them, and, well, I just wanted a taco. Unfortunately, after driving around the city trying to find it, getting distracted and going to Trader Joe’s and a camera shop, we got to the taco truck…and it was closed for some reason.
Fortunately, I had two 5 oz. beef tenderloins thawing back at home, and bought some awesome flour tortillas at Trader Joe’s. So I went home and got started.
I absolutely love Thai food, but find myself ordering the same things when I’m at a restaurant. It’s only at home that I find myself dabbling in the other kinds of Thai food. But I’ve seen Weeping Tiger Steak served at a number of Thai restaurants, sometimes even cold over greens. There are several legends about Weeping Tiger Steak, ranging from someone stealing a cow from a tiger and him crying about it, to serving it so spicy that even a tiger couldn’t take the heat.
Whatever the case may be, I wanted to save the weeping for the salsa. A Thai salsa seemed tricky at first. From what I can tell, Weeping Tiger Steak is sometimes served with a dipping sauce, and the sauce sometimes has tomatoes. So I searched out a few Thai and Laotian chili sauces, took a few ideas, upped the tomato content, thereby adapting it into a salsa.
I took a dozen small tomatoes (you can use cherry tomatoes, mini heirlooms, whatever), and roasted them in a skillet with about 1/4 red onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Essentially, the idea is to blacken more than to sautee, and boy do the tomatoes get so delicious in the carmelization process. Once roasted, I put them in my food processor with 1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper, 8 fresh and uncooked cherry tomatoes, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar.
The salsa is good enough for dipping chips, and there should be enough left over to use it for just that purpose. That said, some may not be a fan of the flavor of the fish sauce…so if I were to serve it as a dip, I’d consider omitting the fish sauce. However, at that point, it becomes less Thai and more Mexican.
For the beef, I took 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, and 1 teaspoon of sugar. I mixed well, and poured over the steaks. I let that marinate for about an hour, flipping over and shaking a few times to get the steaks covered really well. Then I simply threw them over the charcoal grill until ready. Sliced into fajita style strips, and served over a flour tortilla with greens, tomatoes, and the “Thai salsa.”
To recap, here’s all the necessary ingredients:
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- 1 tbs fish sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 10 oz. beef
- About 20 cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbs crushed red pepper
- 2 tbs white vinegar (or lime juice)
- 2 tbs fish sauce
- 1 tbs sugar
- Cooking oil (sesame, sunflower, whatever)
- Mixed greens
- Sliced or diced tomatoes for taco garnish
- Optional: Sriracha to taste
Makes three large tacos (8-inch flour tortillas), more if you use the 4 or 6 inch tortillas, of course.
from Daniel Larkin
to jamey w. bennett
I read this email on my phone on the way home, and almost made the guys search out a Thai restaurant. It’s 8:22 in the morning now, and I want spicy steak after rereading this.
The flavors sound dead on fantastic, and I love the adaptations from Mexican and Thai.