Fresh or store bought corn tortillas 2 Orange and/or Purple Kumara, cut in fine matchsticks or grated 2 Spring onions, sliced fine 1/2 c Toasted pumpkin seeds Iceberg lettuce, finely sliced or shredded Fresh coriander leaves Almond salsa 1 c slivered almonds Dried Chillies (arbol chillies if available) to suit (1 for mild, 5 for fire) 2 cloves garlic 1/4 t cumin 1/4 t coriander 1/4 t smoked paprika 2 long red capsicums (or bottled pre-roasted) 2-3 T red wine vinegar 3-4 T Tio Pablo Tomatillo salsa Lemon or lime juice Crema 1 1/2 c soaked cashews (volume after soaking). Macadamias can be substituted. 2t cider vinegar 2 T savoury yeast 1 T olive oil 1/2 t salt or to taste White pepper 6 T water
At least 6 hours before beginning soak cashews in cold water – or they can be soaked overnight. When ready to begin get everything assembled and organised. Prepare kumara: peel and cut into fine matchsticks. You can do this with a mandoline, a food processor, a sharp knife or simply grate them. I prefer the match sticks as they end up with a better texture. Toss kumara with approx 1/4 t salt (per large kumara) and let sit 10 min, massage lightly with hands to make sure salt helps soften it a bit. Heat oven to 180 fan bake. Heat fry pan to hot, add olive oil and when that is well heated put in a thick layer of kumara. You want to cook it like a large hash brown, crispy on the outside and un-cooked in the middle careful not to burn – this only needs to be lightly cooked but should be crispy. Do this in batches if necessary. Spread out kumara onto parchment covered baking sheet, breaking up into bite size/taco size clumps. Put in oven for approx 15 min, checking that it doesn’t burn or get too brown as it will go bitter. Test the kumara to see that it is cooked – it shouldn’t be mushy but should be cooked. Toast pumpkin seeds and chop spring onions, set both aside for use when assembling tacos Almond Salsa: while the kumara is cooking prepare the salsa. This can also be made up to a day in advance. Put slivered almonds on a baking sheet or in a pan and toast until just light brown – do not burn or let get too dark. Cool and set aside. Cut open the dried chillies and remove seeds, toast these in a dry pan until fragrant, remove from heat. Put chillies into a bowl with water to soften.Heat 2T oil in a small pan, add sliced garlic and sauté until fragrant, add cumin and coriander seeds, stirring 3 minutes. Add smoked paprika, stir 1 minute and then add chillies and about 1/4 c soaking water. Cook the chillies and spices approx 10 minutes or until the chillies are well softened, set aside to cool. If using fresh capsicums – they are best charred over an open flame. You can put them directly on your gas element, moving them around so they get well charred all-over. You don’t want to char them so much that they burn through the skin, just blister the skin so it can be peeled off. You can do this on a hot grill pan or also in a very hot oven on fan grill. The char from a bbq or open fire is the best though. If you have a bbq and a lot of capsicums you can do a big batch and put them in the freezer until ready to use. When well charred, put the capsicums in a bag (plastic works best but paper should be fine). When cool enough to handle, slide the skin off with your hands and lightly wipe clean off most black bits, remove the seeds and chop. Put the chillies mix, capsicum, almonds, vinegar Tomatillo salsa, and lemon or lime juice in a blender and process until smooth but still textured. Taste and adjust salt, pepper and lemon juice. Put in fridge until ready to use. Crema: Put cashews without soaking water, vinegar, savoury yeast, olive oil, salt, pepper and water into blender and process until very smooth and thick. Assemble: If using store bought tortillas, heat them on a grill with a bit of oil or in a fry pan. Keep covered and warm for use. At this point you can put everything on the table and everyone can make their own. If you want to plate them: take a warmed tortilla, smear it with about 2T of almond salsaput a two finger sized piece of kumara into the middle, top with lettuce, put a few blobs of crema on top, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, spring onions and coriander leaves serve with extra almond salsa and tomatillo salsa. 3-4 tacos per serving.
Source: By Helena Willes
Inspired by Wes Avila