Ahhhhh the PUFFY TACO! What better way to celebrate National Taco Day than with these gloriously chewy, yet still kinda crunchy…not hard but also not soft either, deliciously deep-fried grain free puffy tacos! On a side note, how weird is it that National Taco Day isn’t always on Taco Tuesday? Right?! But I am not complaining, cause it just means more tacos for me!
Puffy tacos are the beautiful creation of two (dare I say, genius) brothers from San Antonio: Henry and Ray Lopez. Originally business partners in the 1950’s, they eventually split ways and each started their own restaurants – both of which claimed to serve the “authentic” puffy tacos. If you’re interested in more history of the puffy taco, you can find that HERE.
“Somewhere between a tostada and a funnel cake lies the puffy taco”
…is how Food & Wine Magazine describes these culinary treats. They also say they are best eaten fresh out of the fryer and I would add that you probably want to wait at least a few minutes so you don’t burn yourself or anything, but definitely, don’t let them sit out all day either. Either way, these grain-free puffy tacos are pretty much the best thing you’ll eat and I can’t wait for you to taste these babies!
Classic Beef Grain-Free Puffy Tacos
A double batch of THIS tortilla dough (just the dough, skip the other steps and follow the ones below instead)
Your choice of fat for deep frying (see instructions for detail)
Meat Filling: (can be made ahead of time and reheated)
1 tablespoon oil of choice for frying
1 small yellow onion, minced.
1- 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef (just depends on how much you like to eat)
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon Primal Palate Taco Seasoning, or more to taste.
Salt and pepper to taste
Plus taco toppings as desired: 1-2 Roma tomatoes, diced, small white onion, diced, shredded cheese or crumbled goat cheese, cilantro, salsa, coconut yogurt or sour cream and anything else your heart and tummy want!
Making the grain-free puffy taco shells:
- Separate the double batch of dough into 10 balls (at about 40g each) Dust with cassava flour and keep covered while you work (so they don’t dry out.) Don’t worry if they seem quite soft. The dough will firm up some as it rests.
- If you have a tortilla press, line it with plastic wrap on the top and bottom (or use it parchment paper, or whatever works best for you. (I use it without anything and just use plenty of dusting flour and a thin metal spatula to lift it off the top or bottom of the press if it sticks.) Place a well-dusted ball of dough at the center of the press and press it down lightly at first. You want a tortilla that is about 4-inches round. This will give you the best thickness for a good “puff” when you fry it.
- Remove the round from the press and lay on a piece of dusted parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Repeat with the rest of the dough rounds. Keep the rounds covered with a flour-sack towel or plastic wrap, so they don’t dry out.
- In a small, but deep, heavy-bottomed pot, heat enough Organic palm shortening (or other preferred fat for frying) to fill the pot about halfway. Usually about 3 cups. (I strain, store and reuse the oil 3-4 times). Heat oil over medium heat till the temperature reads between 325-350 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
- Drop one tortilla round at a time into the oil. let it cook till it just starts to puff (about 10-15 seconds usually). Using a metal spoon or two, press down into the center of the tortilla to create a fold. The tortilla will continue to puff. I generally use another spoon or a metal spatula to help keep it folded. All in all, it will fry for about 2-3 minutes. You will get the hang of what works best for you after the first one.
- Carefully remove from the oil and let drain. They can hold lots of oil, so if you can get some of it drain back into the pot first, that can be helpful. Set on a wire rack to finish draining and cooling. Repeat with the rest of the rounds. I generally avoid using tongs on the shells as they tend to break easily.
Making the taco meat:
- In a large skillet, cook the onions in the oil, over medium-medium-high until the onions are soft and cooked through. Add the beef and cook, stirring often until the meat is no longer pink.
- Add the diced tomatoes and Primal Palate taco seasoning. Cook over medium heat until the liquid is reduced and absorbed into the meat.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. If you are in a hurry, you can also just cook the beef with spices until cooked through. We enjoy it this way too.
Assemble these grain-free puffy tacos beforehand or serve the ingredients separately and allow everyone to build their own. I also recommend a nice fresh margarita to really take this meal over the top. Enjoy!