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Korean Tofu Tacos

Posted Sep 28 2012 7:05pm
I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned my obsession with tacos. Hands down, the most enjoyment-worthy food around. Their popularity spanning along the US west coast - Washington, Oregon, and California. A very recent introduction to the bustling streets of Toronto. A few establishments in Vancouver and Victoria offering their own version. Oh yes, I have done my research. I judge a city in order of importance, based on whether or not they offer a worthy taco. My harsh criticisms and specific desires in a taco has gotten me into a argument or two. Before moving to Seattle, unbeknownst to me that these tiny tacos were the epitome of a true culinary delight. My first discovery, in a tiny bar on the corner of a bustling street in Siem Reap Cambodia, eating fish tacos and drinking Angkor beer, immediately becoming my favorite food. I'm not sure if it was the comparison I made to white rice and vegetables, which I had been eating for many months prior, my recent emergence from Laos, surviving on a diet of sticky rice and wild leaves, but my mouth was in heaven, and my body feeling nourished. 


In Seattle, I have a few favorites. Pecado Bueno - crispy cod and their traditional white sauce. An array of salsa and toppings to be explored. Pike Street Fish Fry , Anthony's Fish Bar , and at the top of my list (by a large margin) - Marination's tofu tacos. I've been trying to recreate their total taco success, their famous Nunya sauce, crispy tofu, and tangy slaw for months. On Thursday, I did the unimaginable. Some may agree, some may not. My in-laws were the only ones who got to sample, and since they haven't tried Marination to compare, I am left with only my own opinion. Regardless, I adore them. Gochujang, a fermented Korean condiment made from red chili, rice, fermented soybeans and salt. It's a spicy red paste, and I speculate that it is the secret ingredient in the Nunya sauce. I marinated the tofu in a few flavors, let it sit for 30 minutes. Fried it to crispy perfection. Whipped up some Nunya sauce, prepared the tangy slaw. I grabbed a pack of corn tortillas from Trader Joes, which I'll admit, are a bit different from the tortillas that they use at Marination. As long as you can find some good fresh tortillas, you are set. I do hope that you try this recipe. It has got to be one of my favorites. And I hope you can join me in my love affair with tacos. 

KOREAN TOFU TACO RECIPE (print)
makes 8 small tacos

TOFU MARINADE INGREDIENTS
1 package extra-firm tofu, drained and chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tsp ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp canola oil for frying

DRESSING INGREDIENTS
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tbsp gochujang
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp mirin
1 tsp lime juice
3 tbsp canola oil

TANGY SLAW INGREDIENTS
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sugar

8 small corn tortillas
sesame seeds

In a food processor, add the garlic and ginger. Whiz until pureed. Next, add the soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, mirin, chili flakes, and water. Whiz until combined. Drain the tofu and wrap in a towel to soak up the water. Cut the tofu into small bite size pieces. Place the tofu into a shallow bowl or baking dish. Drizzle the marinade over top, making sure that all of the tofu has been covered, and let sit for 30 minutes to marinade. 
While the tofu is marinading, add the garlic and onions to the food processor. Whiz until pureed. Add the gochujang, mayo, sugar, mirin, lime juice, and canola oil. Pulse until smooth and liquid. Add more oil if needed. Set to the side. 
Place 2 tbsp of canola oil in a frying pan. Heat on medium. When the oil is hot, add the tofu with the marinade sauce. Fry for 10 minutes, flipping every once in a while, or until tofu becomes nice and crispy on the outside. 
In a small bowl, combine the mirin and sugar. Finely chop the cabbage, and then drizzle the mirin and sugar over top. Toss. 
Heat the corn tortillas in the microwave. Scoop a generous serving of tofu into the taco, top with tangy cabbage slaw, drizzle with the dressing, and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. 

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