I love a good taco bar and this week I decided to mix it up a bit and give mine an Asian twist. Let go of the cheese and sour cream, add sesame oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar and you’re almost there. I went to the farmers market with this meal in mind and came home with more ingredients than I could possibly use in one meal — cucumbers, radishes, baby turnips, spring onions, sunflower sprouts, carrots, cabbage and a big bunch of fresh cilantro.
Quick pickles fit right into my Asian theme. I probably shouldn’t recommend this but once you make the brine, if you keep it in the fridge, you can keep tossing fresh vegetables into the jar to marinate. I think it’s safe to say that quick pickles may be the only pickles I’ll make this busy summer. Once you realize how easy they are, you might be with me on this one.
Quick Asian Pickles
Ingredients: 1/4 cup rice vinegar/ 2 t sugar (optional)/ 1 t soy sauce/ 1 t fish sauce/ 1/4 t chili garlic sauce or crushed red pepper flakes, if you like them spicy/ sliced vegetables — cucumbers, Japanese or English are best, radishes, baby turnips, onions, carrots.
Directions: Whisk rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce & chili garlic sauce in a bowl/ Add sliced vegetables/ Cover and chill/ Store in the fridge.
Avocados, one of my non-local guilty pleasures, easily make the transition from Mexican to Asian guacamole by just switching out a few ingredients. Cubed or creamy, a taco bar just wouldn’t be the same without some good guac.
Ingredients: 1 t toasted sesame seeds/ 1 T rice vinegar/ 1 T mirin/ 1 t soy sauce/ 1 t sesame oil/ 2 green onions, thinly sliced/ several sprigs of chopped fresh cilantro/ 1 large ripe avocado, peeled and chopped into cubes/ wedge of fresh lime
Directions: Whisk first 5 ingredients in a bowl/ Add avocado, onions and cilantro/ Stir gently to coat/ Squeeze fresh lime juice on top.
You can offer a marinated vegetarian tofu version using my multi-cultural marinade recipe. I used the same marinade with some ground pork and think it was equally delicious. Mix the tofu and pork and have a mapo dofu taco.
I’ll bet you can guess where I’m going with all this. Once you start thinking about it, Asian fish tacos with spicy slaw, Korean bbq pork with kimchi and many other combinations come to mind. I know it’s been done, but before I knew it I could easily imagine Sally and I driving a Mixed Greens Asian taco truck…..