Believe it or not, this is a first for me. Sure, I’ve had soycurl tacos at Taqueria Los Gorditos, but I’ve never made them myself. When we first started making vegan tacos we used TVP, then moved on to LiteLife fakey chicken strips, and now we’ve been using tempeh (recipe here) for quite some time—and loving it. But what if you’re out of tempeh and you still get the hankerin’ for tacos? Those soycurls are just sitting right there in the cabinet, waiting to be rehydrated and spiced and grilled up.
As I have yet to make my big batch of Taco Town, the proprietary blend of spices that I promised to share with you probably a year ago, we just shook a little of this and a little of that, along with Butler’s chickeny soycurl seasoning. You know what was missing? Paprika! We were totally out. I don’t know how that happened. Paprika’s one of my favorite things in this world and I allowed it to disappear? What the hell? I know it doesn’t sound right that a traditionally Hungarian spice should make or break a Mexi-ish dish, but it totally does.
The soycurls were not to blame, but these were some pretty sad tacos, beautiful though they may be. The flavor was just flat. It had spice, it had bite, but it lacked that warm middle ground. If you’ve been making tacos without paprika, then I just have to wonder how you can feel alive. You’re just fooling yourself, man. Get on the paprika bus, ’cause it’s a funky one.
Oh, and let’s hear it for crunchy shells. Makes you feel like a kid again, and not just because you make a huge mess of yourself. There’s delight in that crunch.