Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Taco Seasoning

Just a quickie here. I remember when I was a kid, tacos were one of my favorite meals. And these days, they're one of the favorite meals of my two nephews. Maybe you loved them as a kid, or have kids of your own who love them now. I say ditch those little yellow packets of taco seasoning mix that you get at the store for $1 and make your own. It's just as good (I think it's better), quick and easy, and probably cheaper since you can make it from bulk spices, all of which you probably have lying around already.

You will need:

1/2 c chili powder
1/2 c cumin
1/4 c garlic powder
1/4 c dried onion flakes
3 T crushed red pepper
2 T kosher salt
2 1/2 T pepper
2 T onion powder

Frank's Red Hot
Fish sauce

Simply mix up all the dry ingredients thoroughly, and you'll have enough spice mix to handle 10 lbs. of ground beef. Make as you normally would, except that I highly recommend the addition of a little Frank's and a few drops of fish sauce, depending how many people you're feeding. Add Frank's to taste, but as for fish sauce, I make 10 lbs at a time at work and use maybe a tablespoon. (Depending on how thoroughly you drain your hamburger, you may have to add a little vegetable oil and/or water. I try not to drain it all the way, myself; fat is where the flavor is, right?)

No, I'm not kidding about the fish sauce. You won't taste a few drops, but you'll know it's there. I love the stuff anyway, but the other day I was listening to The Splendid Table, and they said adding a dash to different foods adds Umami. So now I've been using it in just about everything, not just Asian dishes. (Even before I started using it all the time, I was of the opinion that fish sauce could rightly be called a liquor. It really can be intoxicating, in a way.)

As I said, I used to love these as a kid. I rarely eat them like this anymore because I have a chicken taco recipe that is almost beyond words, so I try and eat those as much as possible.
That recipe is coming soon. You don't want to miss it, trust me.


dp said...

now you've let out the secret about fish sauce! I put it in just about everything as well, but i never told people for fear of them saying "yuck". They just eat away, while I secretly gloat. LOL

How's it Taste? said...

My first exposure to fish sauce was about 10 years ago- I had just re-moved to Chicago and some friends took me to a restaurant to try Pho for the first time. Of course, on every table there was a bottle of fish sauce. None of them would dare try it and they kind of scared me away from it too, at first, but somewhere along the way I overcame my unwarranted fears and tried it. I've been in love with it ever since. I generally stick with a few certain brands, but when I do try a new one, I always pour a few drops onto either my hand or a spoon and taste it directly, as is. Most of my family hates it when I make Pho or Pad Thai because of the fish sauce, but whenever they complain about the smell, my standard response is always, "The only thing that stinks around here is your attitude!" Said with a wink and a smile, of course. : )

Deborah said...

In the past few years, I've made my own taco seasoning. It's so much better because I can control the salt, plus when I make tacos, I would never use the whole packet. I'll have to try out your recipe - I'm almost out of my last batch!

How's it Taste? said...

The commercial stuff usually comes with MSG, too. Which I actually like, myself, but I know a lot of people have trouble with it- it gives my brother headaches. But yeah, making your own is definitely the way to go- everything is so easily adjustable according to your preferences. : )