Tako is the Japanese word for octopus. The pun lover in me decided a few weeks ago that I absolutely needed to make some Tako Tacos, regardless of how not particularly great they sounded. The results were decidedly mixed.
First off, let me say that having Japanese grocery stores from which I can get my seafood is incredible. I just wanted a few chunks of octopus tentacle and, lo and behold, for about 8 dollars I had 2 tentacles ready for however I wanted to consume them. There is a section of the seafood area of the store which is all designed for sushi, so it is kept filled with the freshest stuff, all kept very clean so that you can be sure it is safe to eat right out of the package. This tako was no different, and I sampled it many times as I sliced it up. This was a far cry from the plasticky, chewey piece of white stuff you get on a ball of rice stateside. This was sweet, briny, tender, and I almost felt guilty putting it into a pan, but I did.
The end result of the dish was a bit confusing. I stayed away form the Mexican flavors and instead tried to keep it Japanese, but wrapped up in a tortilla. I had intended on using corn tortillas, but the commissary only had one package of flour tortillas in stock, so they became more burrito like. They became even more so when I used rice as a base, but to make it more Japanese I used sushi rice. The tako came out a bit chewy, but not so much that it detracted from the dish. All told, it was a lot like a sushi roll wrapped up in a tortilla, not bad, but not necessarily a regularly menu item. I hope you enjoy, and good luck finding the octopus.
- 500 g Octupus Tentacles, sliced into rounds
- Garlic, 3-4 cloves
- Sushi Rice
- Rice Wine Vinegar about 1 T
- Nori, shredded
- Avocado, sliced
- Red Onion, julienned
- S&B Red Pepper, to taste
Slice Octopus into rounds. Heat about 1 T of Olive Oil in a wok or other pan. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add octopus and sautee for 2-3 minutes. A lot of water will come out but this is okay, it will cook off to an extent if you have your heat high enough. A lot of liquid remained through the cooking process. As tako is finishing cooking, add the juice of half a lime.
Rinse and cook sushi rice. Once done, let cool for a few minutes and add rice wine vinegar. Cut it in, not stirring it, so that you minimize the starchiness. Put a layer in the center of the tortilla, dust with S&B to taste. Top with tako. Add a pinch of Nori, some sliced onion, and finish with avocado. Wrap up and enjoy. Makes about 4 tacos.