I’m obsessed with DIY dinners. You know the kind: your friend invites you over for a nice sit-down dinner. You’re expecting something plated, maybe a fancy pasta or a steak. Then they whip out the grill and all of a sudden you’re doing Korean BBQ. Or maybe they have a takoyaki maker and everyone around you is expertly making perfect ball-shaped food. I am totally that friend. If you’re invited to dinner at my place, there’s a good chance you’ll be making (or at least assembling) your own food.
Tacos are a perfect example. I’ll make up a big batch of taco insides: al pastor, carne asada or banh mi fillings and everyone can just go to town. I find the classics are always popular, but a bit of an Asian twist works too. Here, I fried up a simple caramelized pork. The salty-sweet meat goes perfectly with pineapples, cucumbers and cilantro. Super-yum!
The only issue I have with DIY taco parties is the tortillas. Warmed tortillas are an absolute must, but when friends are over you don’t want to be the one stuck at the stove warming up tortilla after tortilla. But, I think I’ve solved the problem. Recently, at the grocery store, I saw a microwave tortilla warmer. It kind of looks like a tortilla sleeping bag. I haven’t tried it yet, but it has a delightful donkey piñata pattern and I’m excited to see if microwaved tortillas come close to the ones warmed in a cast iron skillet. I do like the charring you get when you heat up tortillas on the stove, but the convenience of the microwave just might win this particular fight.
Caramelized Pork Taco Recipe
- 1 lb boneless centre cut pork loin cut into thin strips
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Thai chili, sliced (optional)
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
- 1/2 cup diced cucumbers
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions
- juice of 1 lime
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
- tortillas, as needed, warmed
- lime wedges
In a bowl, mix together the sliced pork, shallot, garlic. sliced Thai chili, and fish sauce.
In a separate bowl, mix together the pineapple, cucumbers, green onions, and lime juice. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the diced onion and chopped cilantro. Set aside.
Heat up a cast iron pan over medium-high heat and add a touch of oil to the pan. Cook the pork, moving in the pan occasionally, until it turns from pink until white, 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar and water, stir and cook until the sugar caramelizes and turns golden brown, another 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Serve with warmed tortillas, the pineapple salsa, cilantro-onion mix and lime wedges. Enjoy!
PS – If you like this recipe, preorder my cookbook, Easy Gourmet, today! It’s super on sale right now (37% off!) and it has one of my favourite taco recipes in it!