Korean Tacos with Homemade Salsas

One of my favorite tacos out there when I first took a bite into one and with love of fusion cooking is the Korean taco. If you’ve ever had Korean food before it’s sweet, savory, vinegary and mighty tasty. Mexican food on the other hand is tart, fresh and fulfilling. Why not mix the two and have a great marriage? Here we go with an awesome recipe you will love to make for yourself and/or your family tonight. I guarantee it will be a hit!

What we want to do first is make the marinade. I’ve tried the overnight version and the 4 hour version and to me there isn’t a difference. You’re going to be cutting the meat up just like you would carne asada but you’ll be cooking it in it’s own marinade. Here’s what you’ll need:

I forgot to picture the kiwi so here it is.

To work with a blender, you’ll want to pre cut your ingredients so the blender doesn’t have to work too hard. I’ve broken a few blenders in my day because I overworked it. You don’t want to break your blender. The liquid you add in your blender will also help move the items around. Remember this when working with salsa which we will discuss right now.

Everybody in the pool!

While you wait for your meat to marinate in the refrigerator, you can prepare an assortment of salsas. Before you I have prepared 4 different kinds. You don’t have to use all 4. One or two will do the trick. For the Korean taco recipe itself, I usually make a spicy mayo sauce but I have omitted this. I felt that this particular recipe did not need it but if you still would like to use it it’s basically:

3 T Mayo
1 1/2 T powdered sugar
1 T sriracha
1 tsp paprika

The first salsa is pretty basic. It’s tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, red onion, white onion, cilantro, 1 small jalapeno, 1 lime, salt

The second salsa is a tomatillo salsa. It’s tomatillos, white onion, cilantro, lime, 2 cloves roasted garlic, 1/2 c of water and salt. The best way to bring out the flavor to this salsa is to roast or grill the tomatillos. The tomatillos will begin to char and soften. To roast garlic, basically put garlic in foil with some olive oil. Wrap it up and put it on the grill. The garlic is done when the tomatillos are done.

The third salsa is a guajillo chile salsa and probably my favorite one to put on a taco because of the heat and it’s flavor. There is a series of steps you need to take in order for this salsa to work. It pretty much borders the tomatillo salsa with the same ingredients just that you add reconstituted dried chiles. As you’ll see in the pictures below you’ll be roasting the guajillo chiles and reconstituting them in boiling water to soften them, blend them and then adding the tomatillo salsa to it.

The fourth salsa is as basic as the first. It’s tomato, avocado, cilantro, lime, salt.

I will go ahead and let the pictures do the explaining…

The finished product!

Korean Tacos
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Korean Tacos

by mjbarias


● 3lbs cubed beef
● 1 small onion quartered
● ½ Asian pear quartered
● 1 kiwi quartered
● 8 garlic cloves
● ¼ c chopped ginger
● ½ c brown sugar
● ½ c sugar
● 2 T sesame oil
● ¾ c soy sauce
● 1 ½ c water
● ½ small cabbage julienned
● ½ c vinegar
● 2 T sugar
● ¼ c vinegar
● 2 T sugar
● ¼ tsp salt
● ½ cabbage julienned


Prepare marinade with onion, asian pear, kiwi, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce and water. Working with a blender works best if you pre cut ingredients beforehand. I marinate everything and anything in 1 gallon plastic bags. Once you cube up beef you will be using, pour marinade in the plastic bag and marinate 4 hours or overnight.

Drain some of the liquid and use a hot wok. No oil is necessary and allow the marinade to dry up with the beef during the cooking process. Once the beef begins to caramelize and soak up all the liquid, you’re done.


Carne Asada Tacos with a Cilantro Avocado Sauce

Let me explain the type of food I like to make. I love savory and sweet. Anything with a kick, tang and a bang to your palette. Most of the food you’ll see is stuff I enjoy eating because let’s face it. You have to create food you love to make. If it looks good and think it’s going to taste good, go for it! Occasionally I will go outside the box and that’s fine too because your taste buds deserve something different. You never know. You might like it!

I had some leftover corn tortillas that are made fresh daily at this local Mexican supermarket called Rancho San Miguel located in Lodi, CA. Let me tell you. Fresh is the BEST!

I decided I wanted to do something with avocado and cilantro before it starts going bad so I thought of a cream sauce that would be pretty universal to salad dressings, pasta sauces and dips depending on consistency of how it’s made. Let’s begin.

First gather your ingredients:

Olive oil
2 T sour cream
1/4 bunch cilantro
1/4 onion
1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic
1 peeled avocado
1/2 jalapeno (optional)

Now I won’t tell you how much salt, pepper and olive oil to use because usually that goes by taste and consistency you’re trying to achieve. I will say that when making this sauce, you will use about half a size bottle I use below on olive oil. Throw that in a food processor and you get the following.

Alright so now that you have the sauce, you can set it aside or refrigerate it for later use. Time to get your carne asada ready. I use a simple dry rub for carne asada. Most hole in the wall spots I’ve been to boil the meat, pressure cook it or saute it. For this recipe I like it fajita style so charing it on a grill works best to give it that zip on the outside while at the same time locking in the juices on the inside so when you take that first bite you get that vicious sensation!

Skirt steak. Don’t worry about trimming any of that fat on there. It’s mainly connective tissue so it’ll char up and sear nicely you won’t even taste it. Season both sides of the steak with the following:

Granulated garlic
Chili powder
Onion powder

Sprinkle a good amount equal parts on both sides of the meat and throw that on the grill. I’ll try to discuss perfect grill marks in another post or video at a later time. You want to cook the steak until they are medium rare. Take them off the grill and let it rest for about 15 minutes before you start carving into it. You want the juices to redistribute evenly throughout the meat so that it doesn’t dry out and you get a bunch of meat juice running all over your cutting board and plate.

So you’ve let the steak rest, slice the steak on the bias. That means slicing your steak at a 45 degree angle into manageable strips. Cut those strips in half if they are too long. You can finally begin assembling your first taco. Mouth salivating yet? Take 2 tortillas to start (if you can eat more, be my guest) and put them on a plate with a damp paper towel on top. Heat it in the microwave for about 15-20 secs. My basic toppings in the taco were lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese or queso fresco, and my homemade salsa (at another time). Don’t forget the cilantro avocado sauce and you have your finished product! Enjoy!!!

Carne Asada Tacos with a Cilantro Avocado Sauce Recipe
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● Corn tortillas
● Carne asada (ie., skirt steak)
● ½ tsp cumin
● ½ tsp chili powder
● ½ tsp granulated garlic
● ½ tsp onion powder
● ½ tsp pepper
● ½ tsp salt
● ¼ onion diced
● 1 whole avocado sliced
● ¼ bunch cilantro chopped
● 2 T sour cream
● ½ c olive oil
● ½ lemon juiced
● ½ jalapeno (optional)


To start the sauce, you’ll need a food processor. In the food processor add the onion, avocado, cilantro, sour cream, lemon juice, jalapeno (optional) and olive oil. Use salt and pepper to taste and blend that up until smooth. Depending on consistency you want the sauce to be a little runny but still be able to hold its own in the taco but not thick like guacamole or mayonnaise. The olive oil will determine the thickness of your sauce. I put the sauce in a squirt bottle and set it aside.

For the steak, season both sides with cumin, chili powder, granulated garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper. I used a grill to char and cook both sides of the steak but if you don’t own a grill you can pan sear it in a saute pan with some olive oil and finish it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 5-6 minutes. When the steak is done, let it rest for about 15 minutes so the juices can redistribute.

While you’re waiting for the steak to rest, think about what toppings you would like to use. I did lettuce, tomato and shredded cheese. My salsa is a homemade salsa consisting of tomatillos, ancho chili peppers, onion, cilantro, salt and pepper. Warm your tortillas on a plate with a damp paper towel over it for about 15-20 seconds. You want the tortillas to be pliable so they do not break once you fold them. After the steak has rested, cut the steak into slices on the bias (45 degree angle) and add all your toppings. The cilantro avocado sauce drizzled on top as well as the salsa.