Aida’s Tacos al Pastor

The story

If you mention Mexican food, most people’s thoughts turn to Tex-Mex dishes. However, it is essential, at least once in your life, to try a proper, authentic Mexican recipe. For this reason, I have decided to share my own recipe for Tacos al Pastor, a favourite Mexican street food.

Tortillas and lime.JPG
Corn tortillas and limes

Street food is found throughout Mexico, and especially in Mexico City. Much of the time people aren’t able to go home for lunch, so we specialise in finding delicious food on the go.

You’ll find these tacos for sale in the street just like gyros or kebabs. Don’t worry, though; to make these at home, you just need a good, deep pan.

The language

1. be + find + throughout + place

Aida tells us that ‘street food is found throughout Mexico’. She means that this type of food is common in all cities and towns there. When you describe something that is very common in all areas, this is a useful expression.

  • Coffee shops are found throughout Europe.
  • Noodles are found throughout East Asia.
  • Examples of his style are found throughout the book.

It is common to see throughout combine with the passive voice, as in the examples above. However, it is also possible to see it in the active voice.

  • He’s going to update me throughout the day.
  • He’s played well throughout the season.

In the two examples above, you can see that throughout is used to express the length of time something happens for.

2. especially 

This is a popular dish in Mexico. However, of all the places in Mexico, Aida tells us that it is popular in Mexico City more than other places. To do this, she uses the adverb especially.

This is a useful word when adding extra information about something.

  • He loves reading, especially detective novels.
  • Summer is great, especially the temperature.
  • Especially in the morning, I need coffee.

It is very common to confuse especially with speciallyWhen we use specially, we describe the particular purpose of something.

  • I bought these especially for you.
  • I got my car specially cleaned for the wedding.

Just to add to the confusion, you can use especially instead of specially (like the last two examples), but you cannot use specially in place of especially (like the first three examples)!

3. be + on the go

Aida mentions that the citizens of Mexico City do not usually go home for lunch. It’s a large city, and travelling home for lunch is probably too far for most people! So, they get something while they are on the go. You can use this expression to talk about being busy and active. You can use this expression in a variety of verb tenses; just modify the verb to be before it.

  • I need a rest. I’ve been on the go since 6am!
  • Those children are on the go all day.

The recipe

Ingredients for four people
  • 1kg pork (try to choose a piece with some fat because it will enrich the flavour)
  • 2 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1 fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 onion
  • 100g flat leaf parsley
  • 100ml achiote sauce (I got mine from Lupe Pintos in Edinburgh – try your local Mexican or Latin American grocery or restaurant if you cannot find this in your regular supermarket)
  • 200ml vinegar
  • 4-6 limes
  • 12-16 corn tortillas
Tacos al pastor ingredients.JPG
Ingredients prepped

Note: This recipe needs you to marinade the meat for several hours, so prepare ahead of time!

  1. Divide the pineapple in half. Blend one half to create a thick liquid, but do not use the centre of the pineapple, as this is too sour. Heat the liquid gently in a saucepan for 10 minutes. As it reaches boiling point, add the vinegar and achiote. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently for a few minutes. There will be a strong, not very pleasant, smell, but do not worry! It will improve.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat, add the orange juice, and allow to cool.
  3. Pour the liquid over the pork and marinate for at least 3 hours, but ideally 8.
  4. After marinating the pork, remove it and cut into small, thin slices, around 1cm thick. Cook this either in a frying pan or in the oven at a high temperature for 40-50 minutes. Add small amounts of the marinade to stop it sticking, but do allow some of the meat to crisp.
  5. Prepare the rest of the ingredients by chopping them finely and halving the limes.
  6. Warm the tortillas in the oven or in a pan, flipping them three times.
  7. Now you are ready to wrap a taco like a pro! Add some of the cooked meat, a little bit of pineapple, some onion, a good helping of parsley and finish with a squeeze of lime juice. Fold it all up and enjoy!
Ready to roll!

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