I love spice, and if I had to choose only one type of food to eat until the rest of my life, tacos would be very high on the list! They are incredibly versatile, and I always love to pile them with a ton of fresh ingredients. There always needs to be a spice element and always something crunchy. I am pretty sure that Mexicans would disapprove of this recipe because eggplant in tacos is far from traditional, but for me, it works!
Preparing soft tacos is pretty straightforward. Besides water and salt, you only need masa harina flour. I am sure that tortilla press makes preparing them even easier, but rolling them out between two pieces of parchment paper works well enough for me. The tortillas do not need to be 100% round and uniform in size. They are, after all, homemade tortillas, and nobody expects them to be perfect. Saying that – if you don’t feel like baking the tortillas from scratch, feel free to use store-bought small tortillas, and the dinner will be served in even less time.
One thing to keep in mind preparing this recipe is that the eggplant needs to be eaten quickly, or it will get soggy. One way to keep it crispy longer would be to fry the eggplant sticks instead of baking them, but I prefer keeping them on the healthier side. I recommend preparing everything else in advance and letting the eggplant sticks be the last ingredient added to the tacos right before eating them.
Homemade Tacos with Crispy Eggplant
Yields: 6 tacos
Cooking time: 40 minutes
For the taco dough:
1 cup masa harina flour
2/3 cup very warm water
A pinch of salt
For the crispy eggplant:
1 medium eggplant
1/3 cup hot sauce
1/3 cup rapeseed oil
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
And whatever else you fancy
Start by cutting the eggplant to 2/3 inch sticks, sprinkle them with salt, and set aside until you prepare the dough.
For the dough, mix masa harina with warm water and a sprinkle of salt. The ratios here are the ones that work with the flour I used today, but it might very well be that you need a little more or a little less water because the flours are different. Just mix the dough with given ratios by hand and add more water or flour as needed. The goal is the dough that sticks together but is not wet. Once you have a nice ball of dough, set it aside to rest.
Mix the hot sauce with oil in a bowl and sprinkle panko crumbs to a large plate.
Preheat the oven to 400F and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
The eggplant should be covered with drops of moisture by now. Pat it very dry with a paper towel and throw the eggplant sticks into the bowl with hot sauce and oil. Mix to cover all the pieces equally.
Take the sauce soaked eggplant slices and dip them to panko crumbs. Then place them on the baking sheet making sure the sticks are not touching each other—Bake for 20 minutes with a fan on, turning them once halfway through the baking time.
Come back to your dough. Divide it to 6 equal pieces. In case you have a tortilla press, use that. I don’t have one, so my method is to roll the dough out between two parchment paper pieces. Roll one tortilla at the time, carefully place it on the hot pan, and bake for about a minute on both sides. Repeat the same with the rest of the dough balls.
Between rolling out tortillas and flipping them, you probably also have time to chop up everything else you wish to add to your tacos – tomatoes, onion, avocado is always a must for me, but feel free to add anything from hummus to tofu.
To serve, place a warm tortilla on the plate, add a mountain of fresh stuff and top with crispy eggplant. Always leave the eggplant last on your pile to keep it as crisp as possible.
By Kadri Raig
Kadri is a food blogger and yoga teacher from Estonia. She loves to spend time in the kitchen, but most of her recipes are simple and don’t take more than 20 minutes of active cooking time. She thinks that everybody can find time to cook healthy food at home, it is just a question of planning. "I work in an office full time, teach yoga 7-8 hours a week and write a blog. So if I manage to cook most of my meals, then so do you!" Connect with Kadri and enjoy many more of her delicious healthy recipes on her website here: www.kahvliga.ee.
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