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
Printer-friendly PDF version

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.

Savory BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

It’s officially summer! Well, not yet but it sure feels like it so I’m declaring it. What better way to kick it off with some awesome BBQ. This is a fast and simple marinade you can make for chicken or steak. I preferred to make chicken this time because I’ve been eating a lot of it lately. Doesn’t that picture above just make you want to scream? Here’s how to get started.

2 cloves of garlic
Black pepper
Worcestershire sauce
Soy sauce
1 lime (sorry not pictured)

Chicken goes into the pool. Normally I like to marinate inside zip lock bags overnight but this was okay for 4 hours. Meat is always best the longer it gets to marinate. Probably the only other thing I’d change about the recipe.

So once you have the chicken off the marinade, go ahead and pop them on the grill. Reserve the marinade. High heat to start then once they are on, lower the heat to low. I primarily work with a gas grill but charcoal is always best. The reason you want to work with low heat is because drumsticks take awhile. You want to make sure juices run clear and your chicken is cooked all the way through before serving to guests.

When the chicken is done and off the grill, go ahead and let the drumsticks rest as the juices redistribute back throughout the meat so that when you take that first bite you get nothing but packed flavor and moistness! You’re ready to begin your sauce. With the marinade you had, go ahead and put it in a pot to begin boil.

Once you get the boil go ahead and reduce the heat to a nice simmer and add pancake syrup. What wait?! Pancake syrup you say?

Most definitely! This will not only make your sauce taste that much more better, but it will also slightly thicken it!

Off to the side I just blanched some green beans then put them in an ice bath to “shock” and slow down the cooking process as well as setting the color. We now have a vegetable and a way to make the dish look appetizing.

Set your chicken on top of the green beans and drizzle some of that wonderful sauce on top of the drumsticks and around the plate. Ready, set, ENJOY!

Savory BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
Printer-friendly PDF version


  • 9-10 drumsticks
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1/2 c worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 c soy sauce
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 T pancake syrup


Begin your marinade with chopped garlic, sugar, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, lime and pepper. You may add cayenne pepper if you like heat but not necessarily needed. Stir all ingredients and add to chicken in a 1 gallon plastic bag from 4 hours to overnight (recommended).

Remove chicken from marinade and reserve marinade to cook in a pot for sauce. Grill your chicken on a gas or charcoal grill on high heat to begin and then to low heat throughout. You will want to make sure chicken is thoroughly cooked and that juice run clear. Remove from grill and allow to rest to have juice redistribute back and throughout chicken.

With the reserved marinade, boil then reduce to a simmer and add 2 T of pancake syrup and mix as it slightly thickens. Spoon sauce over chicken and enjoy!

The Quest for the Best Salsa!

So I decided to experiment a little with salsa. It’s the perfect compliment to Mexican food and one of the easiest sides to make. When I learned to make my own salsa, I never purchase store bought again. There’s something about the freshness of making your own salsa that goes a long way and something you should be proud of. Growing up in San Diego there was this hole in the wall Mexican spot called Albertos, which later became, Alejandros, which later became what it is now, Cotixan.

8110 Mira Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92126

No disrespect to the current establishment but to anyone who has lived in San Diego and sinked your tastebuds into the Albertos/Alejandros liquid salsa it’s AMAZING! So amazing that instead of ordering drinks I straight shot salsa. Thus earning the nickname from one of my close friends Nimitz…Hot Shot! Since the building has been under new management it hasn’t been the same. I’m still trying to recreate it so stay tuned to when I do.

So here we go. Here’s a salsa I’ve experimented with over the weekend so I welcome you all to try it as well.

So while you’re out shopping, you’ll need some essentials. I decided to go with this type of chile. Depending on your heat tolerance, I have a pretty high one. I used about a handful. You may want to go less than that but if you’re a daredevil like me, be my guest.

They don’t call me the Blazing Wings Champion for nothing…

Anyways haha let’s get started. These are all the ingredients you will need.

You’ll need to roast the chiles, tomatillos and garlic. I didn’t want “direct heat” on the ingredients so I masked the heat with foil. What I’m trying to achieve here is to char the ingredients. You can also achieve this by putting this on the grill. You will still need to use foil though.

The chiles will go fast so you’ll need to stand by the stove so they don’t burn. If you completely burn your chiles, the salsa will suck. Put the chiles into a pot of boiling water to soften them.

Once you get a good char on all sides of the tomatillos, go ahead and put those in the pot of boiling water. If the chiles are soft, you can go ahead and put them into the blender. The garlic is done when you can peel the skin easily. Be sure not to burn these also.

You’ll want to go ahead and chop of the cilantro and onions. I saved a little to the side to garnish the top of the salsa. Everyone eats with their eyes first. Just remember!

Everyone goes into the blender!

I added a few ladles of water that the chiles and tomatillos were boiling in. Reason for this is so that when you eventually refrigerate your salsa, you won’t have coagulation from the tomatillos. I’ve had some throughout experimentation so I’d probably recommend you use less tomatillos the next time you make salsa.

Finish with lime, salt and pepper to taste and you’re done!

So is it the best salsa I’ve ever had? No, but it’s delicious and the quest continues…

Roasted Tomatillo Chile Japones Entero Salsa
Printer-friendly PDF version


  • 8 tomatillos
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 red onion
  • 1-2 limes
  • Handful of whole Japones Entero chiles
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • salt
  • pepper


Roast the tomatillos, garlic, chiles in a large pan. Line the pan with foil. Start a pot of boiling water and when tomatillos and chiles are nicely charred, put them in boiling water to soften.

Chop cilantro and dice red onions. Reserve a ¼ cup each of the red onions and cilantro for garnish. All ingredients will be blended so everyone goes in. I used about 1 ½ juiced limes in this salsa and depending on your tastebuds you can always add more. Salt and pepper to taste. Put your salsa in a bowl and garnish with the red onions and cilantro.

Fish Tacos with a Greek Yogurt White Sauce

There are days when I just crave Mexican food. Growing up in San Diego it’s just the easiest go to meals. My favorite fish tacos are from Rubio’s but sometimes homemade are just so much more appetizing. Let’s start with a pico de gallo salsa. Here’s what you’ll need:

Salt, pepper, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, tomato & lime. Dice that all together and you get a nice salsa to compliment the meal.

Next you’ll need some cabbage. I like to julienne my cabbage thin so that any light dressing I use in it gets the bite you need to accent the meal. After you julienne the cabbage, set it aside and make a light dressing consisting of vinegar, salt & sugar. Toss in your cabbage to coat.

Let’s start the white sauce. Most fish tacos use a sort of tartar sauce. We won’t do that here. I use equal parts greek style yogurt and mayo. Other seasoning consist of cumin, cayenne pepper, dill, oregano and juice of 1 lime. I like putting my sauces in squirt bottles so when you dress the taco it looks delicious!

Now onto the fish. I grab Tilapia from Costco’s refrigerated section, not the frozen section.

Prepare 3 side dishes. One all purpose flour, 2 beaten eggs and some panko (Japanese) bread crumbs.

To season your fish as you dredge them in flour, egg and bread crumbs, first season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Slice the tilapia in half so you have manageable pieces to use per taco.

Once they are all breaded, heat some vegetable oil. You can test to see whether the oil is hot enough to start by tossing in a piece of bread crumb into the oil. If it starts to fizzle, you’re ready to begin.

Now that you have all your components in front of you, you can begin the assembly line. Fish on top of a tortilla. Add the cabbage and pico de gallo salsa and squirt the greek yogurt white sauce over. If you have any other salsa to add you can very well do so. I plan to do a blog on this particular salsa below in a future entry.

Fish Tacos with a Greek Yogurt White Sauce
Printer-friendly PDF version

Fish Tacos with a Greek Yogurt White Sauce

by mjbarias


Greek Yogurt White Sauce

  • ½ c greek yogurt
  • ½ c mayo
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp dill weed
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 lime juiced

Pico de Gallo Salsa

  • 2 tomatoes diced
  • ½ onion diced
  • ¼ c cilantro chopped
  • 1 jalapeno minced (or ½ depending on your tolerance)
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • salt
  • pepper


  • ¼ c vinegar
  • 2 T sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cabbage julienned
  • Corn tortillas
  • Tilapia
  • ½ c flour
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 c panko bread crumbs
  • Granulated garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Prepare the greek yogurt white sauce first. Combine all ingredients and place in a squirt bottle. Same goes with your pico de gallo salsa. Dice all ingredients and place in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. To prepare the dressing for the cabbage to slightly marinate, combine vinegar, sugar and salt. Add julienned cabbage to mixture and toss.

Slice a tilapia filet in half. Season each side with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Dredge each side with flour, then egg, then bread crumbs and set aside to fry. In a pan add vegetable oil and check to see if oil is ready by throwing a piece of bread crumb in the oil. If it starts to sizzle the oil is ready. Brown each side of the fish and set aside to rest.

Start to assemble your tacos and you’re done! Enjoy!