A man enjoys his soft-tortilla taco. Reuters

Tacos are not just a dish; if you ask any Mexican they are an art form. Even though it depends on each person’s taste and likes, there are many ways to achieve the perfect authentic tacos. We have nothing against hard-shell, tex-mex version but truth be told, nothing compares to the real deal. Paying attention to small details like limes instead of lemons, and salsa instead of hot sauce make a world of difference. So, in order to celebrate Taco Tuesday, here are a few tips to make them like a pro:

The Tortilla: Yes, you probably know this: tacos are traditionally served on soft corn tortillas. In regular taquerías, each tortilla is reinforced with a second one, just in case you have leftover meat. Genious!

The Meat: Your tacos can have all sorts of meat; most of them prepared in simple ways. Beef (or bistek) tacos have the meat grilled and cut into small pieces; pastor is not easy to come by, it is axiote rubbed pork meat, put into a tall vertical spit, like the ones for Gyros, and shaved off for tacos; accept no imitations! Carnitas are the Mexican version of pulled pork, only it’s lightly seasoned and, when made correctly, quite juicy. Chicken tacos are normally rolled and fried, and most commonly, it’s pulled chicken, not grilled.

The Veggies: If we want to keep our tacos traditional, the only veggies to top them should be finely chopped cilantro and white onions. If you’re thinking about peppers and onion wedges, that’s great, but you’d be taking the fajita route and the veggies should be cooked with the meat. No, we don’t normally put guacamole in our tacos, but feel free to. Also, not a veggie, but a great traditional touch on your ‘tacos de pastor’ is pineapple. Yum!

La Salsa: Hot sauce is great and all, but real salsas are very complex and delicious. Originally they were made in ‘molcajetes’ (what’s known as the Aztec mortar and pistil) after grilling the veggies to enhance their flavors. Nowadays, they can be blended but they have to be made with fresh vegetables like onion, tomatoes, tomatillos, cilantro, and different kinds of chiles.

The Final Touch: Depending on how addicted you are to limes (do not accept lemons), it’s up to you if you want to squeeze a bunch or none at all, but regular soft tacos are not usually topped with dairy; no cheese, no sour cream. Happy Taco Tuesday!

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.