I saw this recipe for the Flying Pig's Crunchy Tofu Tacos in Food & Wine magazine sometime during the summer, clipped it out, and have been thinking about making it for months now. I'm really bad about that - I have an entire kitchen drawer full of recipes that I've ripped out of magazines and one day plan on testing out, but this taco recipe really stuck in my head because it sounded so different, and so creative, and so delicious.
One good thing about my job is that my office is on the edge of "Korea-town," a couple blocks of all-Korean restaurants, groceries, and other businesses. This made it very easy for me to find the Korean chile powder and Korean pepper paste, also known as kochujang, but if you don't live near a well-stocked Asian market, you can order these ingredients online. Believe me when I tell you it's worth it, because these tacos might have been the best tacos I've ever tasted.
The recipe is incredibly easy and quick to make - basically you're just frying the tofu and then assembling the tacos. You toss tofu cubes into a marinade of the Korean chile pepper flakes, chile pepper paste, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil, then you toss those cubes into a mixture of cornstarch and more chile pepper flakes. Fry these in oil until crispy and browned, then garnish your tacos with the tofu, kimchi, slices of Asian pear, chopped scallion, a drizzle of hoisin sauce, bean sprouts, and crushed peanuts. It's a flavor explosion!
Despite all the chile pepper and kimchi, I didn't think these were overwhelmingly hot. These flavors are big and bold but very complementary, the pear slices and hoisin sauce add a nice cooling sweetness, and the tofu, sprouts, and peanuts all add a pleasant crunch. Sorry refried beans, taco night will never be the same for me again.