When we were in Baja with friends last year, we stopped for tacos in San Felipe one afternoon. Angie and Chris enjoyed the house specialty: fish fried in a delicate, crispy golden batter with the usual accoutrements: fresh radishes, salsa, slices of avocado, and crema on a corn tortilla. Ryan turned to me and said, "can't you use your Spanish skills to get me one of those, but instead of fish let there be avocado inside the batter?" At first I refused, as my Spanish skills are not all that great, but after a Negra Modelo I loosened up and started negotiating. After a couple of minutes, the reluctant chef began to come around. He looked at me like I was insane, but he did what I was asking and we got to eat the most delicious tacos ever. Now you can understand why I am so happy that the Brigantine in Coronado has caught on to this brilliant idea as well!
Now that we are back, we make this from time to time. Here, we use gluten free flours and have experimented with several different types of veggies to fry. While the avocado is delicious, I think my favorite has to be slices of portabella mushroom. Last night I steamed up some baby butternut squash and that was super tasty as well. Basically, once you batter and fry something, it doesn't really matter what you use as it is all good.
I recently stumbled upon a new product (to me), Rice Bran Oil. I found it at my favorite Japanese market, Nijiya. (San Diego veggie voyagers...go here! This place is awesome. They specialize in organic and Japanese health food. I think they actually have locations all over the west coast.) Apparently, rice bran oil is the secret to good tempura. (along with cold, sparkling water.)
Yes! Cold, bubbly water in your fry batter makes for a lighter, crispier, more delicious nugget of goodness. Or, if you like beer, replace the sparkly water in this recipe with some good cold beer. You'll notice the difference for sure.
Serve these up in warm corn tortillas with slices of avocado, salsa, a squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of cilantro. I drizzled a little bit of plain yogurt on mine...
|this dog is always hopeful that something will fall to the floor|
Baja Style Veggie Tacos
- Rice Bran oil or some other high heat oil for frying
- Slices of portabella mushrooms, avocado, or other vegetables. For this batch, I peeled, sliced, and lightly steamed a baby butternut squash.
Pour about 1 inch of oil into a small pot on the stove over a medium high flame. Let it get nice and hot while you mix up the batter. Crack the egg into a small bowl and add the remaining ingredients except for the water (or beer). Whisk until smooth and then add the water (or beer) and stir to combine. When the oil is hot (test by dropping a tiny amount of batter in there. If it bubbles and turns golden it is ready). Dip each piece of vegetable in the batter and then carefully drop them into the oil. It is very easy to burn yourself here so TAKE CARE! When the batter is golden brown, use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the pieces and drain them on a paper towel. You will be able to fry 2 or 3 pieces at a time.
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup arrowroot starch (or corn starch)
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 1/4 cup lentil flour
- 1/2 cup cold, carbonated water (or beer)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Warm tortillas over an open flame or on a skillet. Place a couple of pieces of fried veggies on each one, and follow with your favorite accoutrements. Fold and enjoy!