Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Iron Chef Spicy: Spicy Pork Tacos (Boka Truck Style)
Cara's husband, Whit, looooves Boka Truck. He posts often (on facebook) about the truck coming to his office, and being excited about it. Well, a co-worker of mine also loooves the Boka Truck. It started making appearances at the Martin Agency right down the street from our building. Well, one day I decided to try it since both Whit and my co-worker seriously love it. I ordered 2 tacos; the Spicy Asian and the Mexican with pork as the meat. I first tried the asian, and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I mean it was packed with flavor, spice, and cilantro. I looooved it. Then, I tried the Mexican. I mean it was good, but after eating the asian I wished I was eating that instead of the mexican taco. I've been hooked ever since on Boka's asian tacos.
Well, come to find out the next iron chef was going to be a theme instead of an ingredient. The theme was spicy! So, I immediately started looking for spicy main course recipes. My sister suggested a fish taco. I ended up making this, but it just didn't grab me. I will post this at some point in the near future.
Then, I thought to myself; why don't I try to re-create Boka Truck's asian tacos. On their website they explain what's in each of their featured tacos, so I thought I had a shot at it. I knew I had to figure out how to make kimchi, the guajillo pork, and the sesame aioli. This is where the Internet becomes your friend. I found this recipe for guajillo pork. And, this one for sesame aioli. However, when it came to the kimchi I seriously didn't want to make this. It seemed too complicated and cumbersome. So, I went to Tan-A and purchased a bottle of it in their "refridgerated" section. I'll be sure to post a picture of it the next time I make a trip there. Next, I knew there was some kind of cabbage in the taco and cilantro and sesame seeds. While I was at Tan A, I purchased a bottle of their black sesame seeds. I knew white would work, but the black sesame seeds really livens up the taco. At Kroger, I purchased a bag of cole slaw it was on Manager Special, and I just threw away the packaged dressing. I purchased the corn tortillas and cilantro, and I already had Sriracha in my fridge. So, now I was ready to make the tacos. The pork is really simple to make and so is the sesame aioli. I know this seems like a lot, but it really isn't all that bad, and you will love it. I mean, obviously, my friends loved it since they chose me as the winner of this Iron Chef. Enjoy!
3-4 lbs pork shoulder or butt, cut into 2 inch cubes
2 Tablespoons sea salt or kosher salt
1 bay leaf
10 guajillo chiles (Whole Foods had these, but I was told that Kroger does, too)
1 large onion, peeled and cut in half through the middle
3 fresh plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons white flour
First, take your pork shoulder and cut it (carefully) into 2 inch cubes. Add the pork to a dutch oven or a large saucepan. Add in the salt and the bay leaf and pour in enough water to cover the pork. Bring the liquid to a boil, and then simmer for an hour with the lid covering the pot.
While the pork is simmering away, take your guajillo peppers and remove the stems and shake out the seeds. I did leave some of the seeds in the peppers. Take a medium sauce pan and bring 3 cups of water to a boil. While the water is boiling; take your peppers and place on a large skillet and over medium-high heat let the peppers cook until they turn a reddish color and start to crisp up some. I turned the peppers to make sure both sides were cooked. This took about 5-10 minutes. Once the peppers have crisped up some, remove from the pan and place in a medium to large bowl. Take your boiling water and pour over the peppers. Let the peppers soak for about 20-30 minutes. Set aside.
While the peppers are soaking, take a large skillet and cut your plum tomatoes length-wise and place in skillet. Do the same with the onion. Let the tomato and onion cook over medium-high heat until they are nice and charred. About 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and place in a blender. About this time, the pork should have simmered for an hour. Remove about 2 cups of the water from the pork, and place into the same blender as the tomatoes and onion. Puree them. Next, drain your peppers and place into the same blender and puree.
Next, remove another 2 cups of the juice from the pork. Set aside. Drain the pork and clean your pot with a paper towel. Add in the oil and flour and stir for a couple minutes until well combined.
Place the pork back in the pot, and pour in your tomato, onion, and pepper puree. Simmer for another hour with the lid covering the pot. If necessary, add some of the saved liquid to the pot if the mixture becomes too thick. I never had to do this. The recipe says to serve over rice.
But, I served on tacos!
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 to 2 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (about half a small lemon)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp sugar (optional)
To make the sesame aioli; combine all of the ingredients into a small bowl. Stir to combine. I found that I needed to add more of the sesame oil and some sugar to help combat the lemon taste. Really it's up to your palette on how you think it should taste.
Remaining Taco Ingredients:
Kimchi (purchased at Tan A on West Broad Street), chopped up a bit
Corn or Flour tortillas (Corn is preferred); warmed
Cole Slaw (or any bagged shredded cabbage) without the dressing, however add a couple tablespoons of the Sesame Aioli to the cabbage and stir to combine
Black Sesame Seeds (or white if that's what you have)
Assembling the Tacos:
Take 2 warmed tortillas (I used a skillet and set to medium to medium-high heat and warmed both sides for a minute or two), and place on top of each other. Set them on a plate. Brush some of the sesame aioli on the taco. Add the cabbage to the taco. Add the kimchi (I chopped up some of the kimchi because I thought the pieces were a bit too big). Add several pieces of pork (shred a little with a knife or fork). Add some of the cilantro to the taco. Squeeze some of the sriracha onto the taco. Add a couple shakes of the sesame seeds. And, now you are ready to eat your taco (or 3). It really does taste like the Boka Truck's asian tacos. Enjoy!!
(click here for printable recipe)