Happy Taco Tuesday!
For my first post of 2018, what could be better than sharing a recipe for these gorgeous fusion tacos? As always, I must apologize for my absence–life’s kept me on my toes lately. For instance, I wrote this entire post at the print shop yesterday, while waiting for my portfolio to print! And I had to squeeze in the photo shoot a few weeks ago as the sun was setting! I can’t believe my to-do list sometimes. You ever feel like your week’s been crazy, and you look at the calendar to see that it’s only…Monday? Haha.
One of my intentions this year is to let go of my perfectionism and share as many recipes and inspiration as possible, even when I’m inclined not to share them because of my intermittent bouts of Imposter Syndrome (not to mention, my unpredictable grad school schedule). I’m making an effort to share more of my meals on Instagram. In grad school, you eat a lot of random meals, and they’re not always photogenic.
Speaking of photogenic…I’m so happy about how colorful these tacos are! For Christmas, my good friend Lesley got me a marble backdrop for food photos, and it’s pretty much the best thing ever. I am IN LOVE (thank you so much, Lesley). Lesley’s one of my favorite people ever from my hometown. I don’t get to see her often but I love that we always encourage each other’s creativity! One of these days we’re going to make some vegan Disney-themed food for her Youtube channel. 🙂
I first made a version of these ages ago during my undergraduate years, with the Vegan Club at UTA, when we teamed up with the Asian Student Association to raise relief funds for victims of Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines. My friend tells me he comes back to that recipe all the time, which is truly flattering. I’ve improved the recipe a lot since then, as I’ve consulted a few Korean blogs (Korean Bapsang is one of my favorites to browse) to understand the flavors I needed to incorporate. I won’t lie, these are kind of involved and take a few hours…but they are WORTH IT.
To make these vegan, I used mushrooms and soy beef slices–something that my family likes to use in Vietnamese cooking. You can find them at your local Asian grocery store (for reference, this is the brand I tend to use).
I shared these tacos with my friends and family for various New Year celebrations earlier last month. To my delight, they received high praise, even from people who have had traditional bulgogi (notably, my cousin’s Korean boyfriend). Life’s been crazy but I’m so glad I finally buckled down and measured the recipe to share with you guys!
If you’re like me and prefer casual cozy nights in over fancy nights out, you might consider making these tacos for a unique homemade Valentine’s Day dinner. I love the pink color from the pickled cabbage and radishes–it’s a fresh way to include pink on your plate.
I find the best way to make these is to prep the ingredients the night beforehand and letting everything marinate overnight. When testing the recipe, I made huge batches because I was entertaining several people, but feel free to divide this recipe in half if you don’t want bulgogi tacos for a few days. I’ve made this three times now, and the recipe is really flexible–you can’t really get it wrong. Think of these measurements as a guideline and adjust to your liking! 🙂
Vegan Bulgogi Tacos
Serves: 6 – 8 people
Active time: ~1.5 hours (how fast can you chop those vegetables? What level vegan are you?! LOL)
Wait time: up to an hour (or overnight)
Total time: 2 – 3 hours
- 1/2 t cayenne (add more to taste)
6 T liquid aminos or low sodium soy sauce or tamari
1/4 C pureed pineapple
2 T maple syrup
2 T coconut sugar
1/2 t liquid smoke
2 T mirin/rice wine
half a head of garlic, peeled (2-3 T pureed garlic)
1/2 large onion, diced finely (doesn’t have to be perfect…because it’s getting blendt AF, haha–does anyone know where to find that meme?!)
3 T grated Asian pear/apple
a pinch of black pepper
- Bulgogi Marinade (see above)
- 14 oz vegan beef slices (found at the Asian grocery store, or use any meat sub you like!)
- 10 oz mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (any kind–this is optional! I included it when I made it because my family loves mushrooms)
- 1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
- 1-2 tablespoons grapeseed or avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil (for flavor at the end)
- Tortillas, cilantro, lime/lemon wedges, sliced avocado, pickled veggies (see below) for serving
Quick Pickled Cabbage + Radishes
- 1/4 C vinegar
- 1/4 C maple syrup or coconut nectar
- 2 t salt, or to taste
- 1 bunch of radishes, thinly sliced
- 1/2 red cabbage, shredded (I find a mandolin is the best for shredding)
- Start by soaking the soy beef slices in warm water for 20-30 minutes. The bag says 40 minutes, but because they’ll be soaking in marinade, a little less soaking time is fine.
- Then start on the pickled veggies. Stir the marinade ingredients together in a bowl, and adjust to taste. In a glass container or large plastic bag, marinate the veggies in the pickle marinade in the fridge for an hour, or let it sit in the fridge up to one day ahead.
- While the soy beef slices are soaking, blend the marinade ingredients together in a blender or food processor.
- Squeeze the excess water from the soy beef slices and strain. In a large mixing bowl, marinate the soy beef and mushrooms for at least 30 minutes (I just left mine overnight).
- In a large pan, saute the onions in a tablespoon or two of grapeseed or avocado oil. Add the soy beef and mushrooms to the onions. Add seasonings (salt, pepper, chili garlic) and adjust to your taste if necessary.
- Once the sauce has been mostly soaked up, take the pan off the heat. Drizzle some sesame oil into the “beef” and toss to coat.
- Serve warm with tortillas, pickled cabbage and radishes, fresh cilantro, and extra limes (or lemons, as I ran out of limes).
- Enjoy!! The leftovers would be great with rice, in lettuce wraps, or with a noodle bowl!
I hope you enjoyed this recipe–please let me know if you make it, share it on Instagram and tag me, I would LOVE to see the results! Questions while making it for your hot date? Message me with inquiries on Instagram, I got your back (LOL, I have no plans other than night class).