Tacos dorados

I saw this on ATK. I felt that they over-fried theirs—browned it too much. I tried it that way, then tried frying it a lot less, but aiming nevertheless for the flakiness that frying a corn tortilla can produce and it worked well and was more aesthetically pleasing than the dark brown by all accounts.


1 tbsp water
¼ tsp baking soda
12 oz 90% lean ground beef
vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
1½ tbsp chili powder (or a packet of taco seasoning)
1½ tbsp paprika
1½ tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 oz cheddar cheese , shredded (1/2 cup), plus extra for serving
¼ cup vegetable oil
12 (6") corn tortillas


1. Mix water, soda and ground beef together in a bowl.

2. In 12" skillet, oil to shimmer over medium heat. Clarify the onion, 4-6 minutes.

3. Add spices to bloom in a little oil with the onion moved aside, then mix in adding tomato pasted.

4. Add in meat, cook until no longer pink, 5-7 minutes. Remove filling to bowl.

5. Add cheese to filling to work as "glue."

6. Brush tortillas with oil and shingle on a half sheet, then into a 400° oven for 5 minutes, remove, stack and cover with moist towel.

7. Fill tortillas, not too much, pressing down a little. The cheese helps "glue" the filling in the tortilla stabilizing it for frying.

8. Fry tacos in skillet with 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat, 6 at a time. (This isn't deep-frying; adjust heat as needed.) Cook each side for 2-3 minutes, should be dark, golden brown. Set aside on paper towel in half sheet.

9. Use oven at 200 to warm cooked tacos during frying of subsequent tacos.

10. Garnish with lettuce, dice tomatoes, grated cheese, sour cream, guacamole, etc.