When I first heard of this popular Mexican street food, I thought it was a typo for al pastor tacos, but boy was I wrong. Tacos al vapor are a unique taco, literally translating to steamed tacos. These tacos are a spin on the classic soft or crunchy taco you're probably used to eating. The tortillas are fried and then steamed, creating a hybrid crispy, soft taco.
What Are Tacos Al Vapor?
Tacos al vapor are filled with whatever your heart desires. Traditionally, this means chicharrón, carne asada, beef deshebrada, and even mashed potatoes. The shell is made from a corn tortilla that is brushed with seasoning, pan-fried, filled, then steamed. The seasoning on the outside of the tortilla makes these tacos extra flavorful. The seasoning mix is made from crushed garlic cloves, ancho chiles, and oil.
What sets these tacos apart from others is the intensely flavored tortilla. Most tacos focus on seasoning just the filling, whereas tacos al vapor is all about the flavorful tortilla. The method for cooking tacos al vapor ensures the tacos stay moist, inside and out.
Where To Find Tacos Al Vapor
For the most authentic tacos, you'll want to go straight to the source. Mexico City, Tijuana, or anywhere in Mexico, you're guaranteed to find a food truck selling these. The tacos are especially popular in central and Northern Mexico, specifically in the state of Sonora.
For tacos closer to home in the U.S., head to your local Mexican food truck or taco truck to see if they sell tacos al vapor.
These tacos are also known as tacos sudados, translating to sweaty tacos. They can also be called tacos de canasta. The main difference is that tacos de canasta are made by steaming the tacos in a steamer basket, rather than in a pot.
San Antonio is a hub for Mexican food staples like tamales and burritos. Tacos al vapor can easily be found at several food stalls and trucks throughout the city. One of the most acclaimed tacos al vapor spot is the Tacos Mando food truck. For only $5, you get the taco of your choosing, plus a side of refried beans. If you're in the area, make sure to stop by.
Make Tacos Al Vapor At Home
We've found a delicious recipe to make if you can't find them near you. First things first, you'll need to decide on a filling. You can do anything you want, though we suggest beef barbacoa or chorizo to start. You can make these yourself, or purchase at your local Mexican market. If you purchase the filling pre-made, these tacos come together in about 20 minutes.
The nutritional information for tacos al vapor will change based on what tortillas you use as well as what fillings you choose. The tortilla is fried, which will increase cholesterol. If you're trying to consume fewer carbohydrates, definitely use a corn tortilla.
First, you'll need to make your seasoning to brush on the tortillas. Combine ancho chiles, water, white onion, and oil in a large pan and saute on medium heat. Once cooked, brush the seasoning mix on your corn tortillas. You can use flour tortillas if you prefer, it just won't be as authentic.
Next, pan fry your tortillas in oil. Once fried, add the filling and fold in half. Take the tacos and wrap them in a piece of cloth and place them in a steamer pot. Steam for 20 minutes, then remove and eat.
These tacos are traditionally served with salsa verde and limes. If you are a spice lover, add some freshly sliced jalapenos and garnish with fresh cilantro.
Get the recipe here from My Stay At Home Adventures.
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