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frying Tex-Mex
El Fenix Original Tacos Default

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The earliest Tex-Mex crispy tacos were filled first and then fried. Some taco stands sealed the taco with a toothpick, but in this recipe, the filling is sticky enough to hold the tortilla together. The trick here is to stuff the tortillas and then drop them immediately into the hot oil. If you hesitate for even a few seconds, the tortilla will begin to crack along the bottom.

Yield: Makes 2 dozen


For the taco filling:

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½.cup chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 potato, baked and peeled
  • 1 tomato, cored
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons flour

For the tacos:

  • 24 yellow corn tortillas
  • 3 cups peanut oil (or enough to fill the skillet to a depth of 1 inch)
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped lettuce
  • 1 cup favorite salsa


Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Cook the ground meat, chopping it with a spatula to brown it evenly. Add the onions, salt, and bell pepper and continue cooking until the onions and pepper are soft. Pulse the potato, tomato, and spices in a food processor or mash in a bowl until smooth. Add the tomato and potato mixture to the meat and cook for a minute to combine. Add the flour and stir until thickened.

Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat to 350°F. Put a heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle of a tortilla, press it together gently, and lower it into the hot oil, being careful not to splash yourself. If it doesn’t bubble right away, the oil isn’t hot enough. When the taco is well browned, flip it over and cook the other side. When it is nicely browned on both sides, remove the taco from the oil with tongs, rotating it over the skillet drain both sides. Then place it on a paper towel and blot it gently to absorb the excess oil. Open the hot taco gently and stuff with tomato chopped lettuce, and salsa to taste. Press lightly to reseal and serve immediately.

© 2004 Robb Walsh

Note from Cookstr's Editors

Nutritional information is based on a serving size of 1 taco.


Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

164kcal (8%)
33mg (3%)
8mg (14%)
34mcg RAE (1%)
13mg (4%)
385mg (16%)
3g (15%)
9g (14%)
1mg (6%)

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