With a craving for something more Western (Southwestern if you’re living in the States), I decided to make Korean-style tacos using flour tortillas surprisingly found at my local market. When I saw the tortillas, it instantly reminded me of the time I made a rockin kogi kimchi quesadilla back in the days, making me salivate at the awesome combination of flavors that Korean and Mexican ingredients can produce. This time around, I mixed things up by using chicken strips instead of the usual bulgogi (sweet bbq beef), replaced kimchi with perilla leaves and red cabbage, and gave it some good old gochujang heat for the sauce. Lately I’ve been working with different gochujang-based sauces and found it to be quite versatile. This time was no exception. Even with the minor changes in ingredients, it was still a big hit with my taste testers and even I enjoyed them.
A little more about Korean tacos: They are a Korean-Mexican fusion dish popular in the larger cities (i.e. LA, Chicago, New York) but have gone mainstream thanks to the growing popularity of food channels. They originated in Los Angeles as local street food, consisting of Korean-style fillings such as bulgogi and kimchi placed on top of traditional Mexican corn or flour tortillas. And the man who started it all? Chef Roy Choi, the owner of the original Kogi food truck and the man who put Korean food on the map, for good. Although I haven’t made my way to LA to try out the original, I had a copycat version in San Fran that was out of this world. One of these days….
“A recipe has no soul, you as the cook must bring soul to the recipe.” ~Thomas Keller
Servings: 2 people (8 tacos total)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 lb boneless chicken, cut into strips
- 8 corn or flour tortillas
- 1 cup red cabbage, cut into strips
- 4 perilla leaves, finely cut
- 1/2 tomato, finely diced
- mozzarella cheese
- any vegetables to your liking (optional)
- 1 tbsp canola or olive oil
- 2 tbsp gochujang (red pepper paste)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp tomato juice (from diced portion)
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
- 1 tsp gochugaru (red pepper flakes; optional)
1. Wash and then cut vegetables into desired pieces, set aside.
2. Add all sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly. Sample and adjust according to taste preference, set aside.
3. Heat a non-stick skillet or fry pan with some olive oil. Saute the diced chicken until browned. Then add half of the spicy sauce and cook until the chicken pieces are coated and glazed, few minutes at most.
4. To cook the tortillas, heat a non-stick pan on the lowest setting and place one tortilla in the pan. Sprinkle a generous amount of mozzarella cheese on top and cook until cheese melts through. Alternatively, cook the tortillas according to package directions.
5. Serve the tortillas with remaining veggies and sauce. Enjoy!!