Tacos dorados in Mexico City are what I grew up knowing as taquitos: rolled tubes of corn tortillas, stuffed with some sort of meat and fried until crisp. At fondas in the capital, they’re generally served three or four to a plate and covered in crema, crumbly cheese and lettuce. Most fondas will prepare at least one vegetarian dish on their comida corrida menu, but it still surprised me to see carrot tacos at my friend Miguel Garduño’s tiny eatery in Azcapotzalco. One bite revealed a crispy exterior and steamy, salty grated carrot innards, so plain and pretty that I couldn’t help wanting to make them at home. This tacos recipe is deceptively easy and you don’t need much beyond raw carrots and salt. I pan-fry these instead of deep-frying, and I like lots of acid (lime juice and tomatillo salsa) and beans on the side. You’ll also need wooden cocktail sticks to secure them closed while cooking.
– 3 large carrots, grated
– ½ tsp salt
– 12 corn tortillas
– 60ml rapeseed oil, plus more if needed
– 450g homemade crema (see recipe below)
– 400g queso fresco, or any other creamy cheese, crumbled
– 3-4 limes, cut into wedges
– 1 batch tomato salsa
– 240g double cream
– 1 tbsp natural yogurt (not Greek)
1. Two days before you’d like to eat the crema, warm the cream in a small saucepan
over a medium-low heat. You should only heat it to take the chill off; be careful not to
overheat. Stir in the yogurt and turn off the heat.
2. Pour into a small, clean jar and leave to cool. Place the lid loosely on top, without
tightening, and leave to stand for 24 hours in a warm place.
3. Place the crema in the fridge for at least 6 hours to thicken. Stir and add salt to
taste (I like just a pinch) before serving.
1. Heat the oven to 100°C or lowest gas setting and line a baking tray with a wire rack, or several layers of kitchen paper.
2. In a mixing bowl, toss the grated carrot with the salt.
3. Warm the corn tortillas on a comal or in the microwave and place in a tea towel to keep warm.
4. Place one tortilla on a work surface. Using your hands or tongs, place a small handful of carrot in the centre, taking care not to spread the filling all the way to the edge. Roll the tortilla tightly around the filling and secure closed with a wooden cocktail stick. Repeat until you’ve got 12 tacos.
5. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add a batch of the tacos, seam-side down, and cook for 2–3 minutes until they start to smell toasty. Turn over and fry on the other side until golden. (If you’re a perfectionist like me, you can also roll them around a bit with tongs to ensure that they’re fried evenly on all sides.) Transfer to the prepared baking tray, then keep warm in the oven. Repeat until all the tacos have been fried.
6. To serve, place three tacos on a plate, slather with a layer of crema and top with crumbled cheese. Pass round lime wedges and tomatillo salsa at the table.
Lesley Téllez grew up in a Mexican-American home in California and moved to Mexico in 2009. A love letter to the intricate cuisine of Mexico City, Eat Mexico unlocks the culinary identity of the city and showcases food from the city’s streets, markets and casual fondas.
Recipes range from the familiar tacos, enchiladas and burritos that we all know and love Mexican cuisine for, to the entirely unfamiliar. With stunning location photography, new ingredients to explore eclectic recipes to share and cultural adventures to engage in, ambitious cooks and armchair travellers alike will enjoy this book.
EAT MEXICO by Lesley Téllez is published by Kyle Books, and is available to buy on www.amazon.co.uk as a Hardback, priced £19.99.