culinary review
Recipes ┬╗ Beef

Mexican / Korean Fusion Flank Steak Tacos in Adobo Sauce

Last Modified: 06/15/11
First Published: 06/15/11
Views: 841
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Views: 841

Sweet, spicy, smokey and oh so tasty. Are you used to old tacos with ground beef and a taco mix? Forget about it! These fresh, great tasting tacos take Mexican food up to a whole other level. Although this recipe was inspired by a pair of Korean tacos we had out, the ingredients are primarily Mexican: suffice it to say, you could probably call this recipe a fusion between the two cuisines.

By upgrading the meat here to flank steak (skirt steak would work too), instead of using the much more common ground beef, you make the dish far more interesting. We cook the meat, slice it thinly, and then add it to a very flavorful sauce which couldn't be easier to make, provided of course you have a can of smokey chipotle chilis in adobo sauce on hand. Without it - or without some other equally good smokey chili sauce, the finished product won't be nearly as good, so you definitely don't want to skip this step. The sauce comes together quickly: ketchup (or canned tomatoes would work too), vinegar, brown sugar, chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, soy, worcester and a touch of sesame oil. It sounds like quite a few ingredients, but there really aren't too many and you probably have most of them in your pantry anyway.

In terms of a shell, we used steamed corn tortillas. This feels like a fresher and more appealing alternative to hard taco shells which you usually buy pre made, and who knows what's in those shells anyway? Steaming corn tortillas is very easy to do: dampen a kitchen towel with water and wring it out very well. Then wrap a stack of tortillas in the slightly damp towel and place the whole package in a thick bottom pot (enameled cast iron would be ideal, but some other equally thick pot would also do.) Then put the the lid on and put pot on low heat for a while and turn the package with tortillas every once in a while to distribute the heat (just make sure to keep the heat low since you don't want to burn the towel!)

The tender, flavorful meat goes well with some nice crispy shredded cabbage studded with fragrant cilantro. We also added avocado, because when can you ever go wrong with avocado? as well as a dollop of sour cream (which moved this dish into Mexican territory as opposed to Korean...) Anyway, this additon mellowed the heat a bit and completed the dish. So try this - it's unexpected and will make you think about tacos in a whole new way.

Servings:  about 6


1.5 lb flank steak, or other similar piece

Sauce (very approximate measurements):
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 chipotle chilis, finely chopped up and 2 tbsp of adobo sauce
3 finely minced garlic cloves
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp Worcester sauce

1/3 head of green cabbage, finely shredded
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 avocados, cut in pieces
corn tortillas (enough for two tortillas per taco)
sour cream


Combine all the ingredients for the sauce and bring up to a simmer. Let cook for about 15 minutes, taste and see if the balance is good.

Meanwhile, salt and pepper the flank steak well and cook it over pretty high heat. Allow to rest, then slice in fine pieces. If more cooking is needed, quickly saute the slices over high heat, and then add them to the sauce. Let cook for few minutes to distribute the flavors.

Steam the corn tortillas.

Mix the shredded cabbage with the chopped cilantro.

Then assemble:

Take two steamed corn tortillas (so it keeps together better), add some meat and sauce, top with cabbage and cilantro, avocado and sour cream. Enjoy!