It’s been a very busy couple of weeks for us and I’ve felt a little overwhelmed, a little lackluster. And on my way home from work is when I do the bulk of my “what’s for dinner” thinking. I don’t plan in advance for the meals we’ll eat during the next 7 days. If that’s what you do, I envy you. But I am a procrastinator. And I enjoy food so much (at least this is my excuse I’m using) that I need to know that whatever I’ll prepare for dinner today is what I’m currently craving more than any other option. So this inevitably gives way to producing a frazzled mess of a girl in the kitchen who is more than happy to be so, just as long as I get to cook and eat what I really, really want.
And now I have that Spice Girls song stuck in my head. Cue those 5th grade images of memories that don’t make sense to me anymore, popping in and out of my brain with no story surrounding them, except that I know the Spice Girls fit somewhere in there, around that time.
And so I didn’t know what to eat last night. I didn’t know what to make and I had no craving in particular—thanks to a very big and very late lunch!
Well I came home to find that a package had arrived for me. For me! Packages don’t usually come for me. I’m not really complaining because I don’t enjoy the process of opening mail items. The paper/cardboard texture. You know how it is. Or you don’t. But I do, and I don’t like it.
But I opened it and I found treasure! My kind of treasure…
My sister sent me hot sauce! Haut Sauce!! I don’t know why I’m such a fan of heat because I’m Persian, and we don’t cook with a million spices and a bunch of heat (contrary to popular belief I think). But I turned out the way I turned out and hot sauce is my favorite drink, next to water. Maybe I’m not that crazy, but I consume enough of it that I may as well pour myself a glass already!
This hot sauce was so dayum good. And I knew immediately what I was craving and what I had to make for dinner.
And because this hot sauce was hecho en Mexico (made in Mexico—you already knew that though) I wanted to make my favorite kind of tacos—very simple and extremely tasty carne asada Baja California street tacos. They’re quick and the flavors couldn’t be more matchy-matchy. In a good way of course! They’re literally our favorite tacos in the world.
I’m pretty sure these are being sold in one of those portable food carts down in Ensenada, run by one guy, with a line of folks waiting to get their on-the-go lunches and a coke for 5 pesos. But that guy does great business you know, because he’s got those out-of-this-world kinda tacos.
I’m so excited to share this recipe with you because even though it’s so easy and I know you don’t need me telling you how to put together a taco, this taco deserves some love. Sure it’s easy to make, but for maximum enjoyment it needs to be done right.
I know I typically encourage you to improvise and feel free to pick ingredients that you enjoy but this is one of those recipes I’d urge you to please just stick to the ingredient list because the flavors are perfectly harmonized and it’s a delicious slice of the Baja California beachside.
Oh and just in case anyone is wondering, the hot sauce my sister sent? It’s El Pato. And just in case anyone cares, I’m not being compensated for mentioning them in any way. They don’t know who I am, and I’m sure they wouldn’t care to know that there’s a girl in the Midwest who is just about prepared to swap out her green breakfast smoothie for a glass of their awesome jalapeño hot sauce.
Realistically, I think they’d be quick to turn the other cheek (seriously. as fast as they can. in the direction opposite to wherever I am at any given moment) and pretend I don’t have two bottles of that stuff sitting on my counter right now.
- 2 lbs flank steak, fat trimmed off (the butcher will do that in a jiffy if you ask nicely)
- Approximately ½ cup vegetable oil (or canola oil)
- 12 corn tortillas
- 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves (a few handfuls)
- 1 lime, sliced into wedges
- ½ a large white onion, sliced thinly
- Mexican sour cream for topping each taco (optional)
- Your favorite hot sauce
- Salt and Pepper for seasoning steak
- Place a large griddle or pan on the stove, on high heat.
- Add about 2 teaspoons of oil to the steak and rub all over.
- Very generously season the steak with salt and pepper.
- Place the steak onto the hot griddle/pan and cook for about 5 min per side.
- Remove from heat and let rest while you prepare the tortillas.
- In a small pot/pan on high heat, add about 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil heats up, add a tortilla for about 10 seconds per side and place onto a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil.
- Repeat with remaining tortillas and add more oil to the pot as needed.
- Slice the steak against the grain and then cut the strips into smaller 1-inch pieces for the tacos.
- Assemble the tacos: Add steak, onion, and cilantro to a tortilla. Squeeze a bit of lime onto each taco. Top with hot sauce and Mexican sour cream. Enjoy!