I never thought these words would ever come out of my mouth;
“Oh my God, these tofu tacos are so good!”
But that was before the 21 day Cleanse Diet, before I was desperately hungry one night after working late, and before the Kogi BBQ truck entered my world.
For those who are not aware of the gourmet food truck phenomenon which had gripped Los Angeles, the Kogi truck is credited with starting the frenzy about a year ago. Sure, LA had always been home to many traditional taco trucks, but in a stroke of pure genius chef Roy Choi decided to combine the flavors of Korean BBQ and Mexican tacos. When they started with their first truck they brilliantly utilized Twitter to let people know where they were going to be and the lines were legendary. Now they have 4 trucks and it’s easier to get a taco if they happen to be in the neighborhood.
Of course, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and now there are dozens of gourmet food trucks rolling all over the southland, serving up everything from Vietnamese Banh Mi, to French Fries, to Grilled Cheese. There’s even a website which tracks all the trucks in LA and now other cities across the US.
Back to the tofu tacos…in the first days of the cleanse diet, I was having a hard time of it and late getting home one night. I was worried that I was going to have to have another bowl of bean soup when my husband called me and told me he’d spotted the Kogi truck a few blocks from our house. He’d stopped earlier to get himself a couple of Korean Short Rib tacos (bastard!) and noticed they had tofu on the menu (aw, thinking of me, redeemed), and that there was no line. I decided to stop because I was starving and I figured if anyone could make a tofu taco taste good, it would be a Korean taco truck.
I was not disappointed. In fact, I was thrilled to the point that I decided there and then that I would try to make them at home so I wouldn’t have to chase down the truck. They came out so good that I’ll eat them even when I’m not on the diet. Plus, I think it’s a nice change of pace from the standard vegetarian/vegan fare and a great option for Meatless Mondays.
I know that Korean-Mexican may sound like an odd combo but it really works. Have you had any unusual flavor or cuisine combinations lately which surprised you?
small corn tortillas (about a dozen)
8 oz firm tofu, diced small
1 Tbsp canola oil
For the tofu marinade:
3 Tbsp soy sauce*
1/2 tsp chili garlic paste
1 tsp fish sauce*
1 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp lime juice
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
Dice the tofu into 1/2 inch squares. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade and toss with the tofu. Allow to the tofu to marinate for about 1/2 an hour and stir occasionally to distribute the marinade.
Heat a large wok and add the 1 Tbsp oil. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tofu from the marinade and quickly stir-fry in the wok.
1/2 tsp chili garlic paste
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
3 Tbsp canola (or other neutral) oil
Dress the lettuce/cabbage mix with some of the the Chili-Soy vinaigrette, to taste. Slice the onions and combine with chopped cilantro.
Serve on warmed corn tortillas with dressed lettuce/cabbage, salsa verde, green onions, cilantro and a squeeze of lime.
Soy sauce is not technically gluten-free, so use a GF version if needed.
Fish sauce is not vegan but I made a teeny-tiny exception here for the sake of flavor. Leave out if you must.
Salsa verde; I bought this but if you want to make your own, it’s typically made with roasted tomatillos, green chilies and cilantro.
The Chili-Soy Vinaigrette recipe makes more than you will need for this recipe but will keep in the fridge for a few weeks just fine.