Time 3h 15m
If you love tacos, we have a tasty vegan variation for your to try, inspired by the classic birria tacos from Jalisco, Mexico. We swapped meat with jackfruit but cooked it the same way as in the traditional recipe. It's such an irresistible dish we bet it'll become your new taco-Tuesday favourite. Sounds good? Let's do it!
The term birria refers to the process of preparing and cooking the filling, which varies slightly from your classic taco stuffing. Birria is actually a dish of marinated meat (usually goat meat) that is stewed in a chilli-based, herby broth called adobo. It can be enjoyed on its own, but it's often used as a taco stuffing along with chopped onions and fresh cilantro.
Turning birria into a vegan-friendly recipe is super easy, thanks to our versatile friend jackfruit. The young and unripe green fruit is not sweet at all, but it has a rather neutral taste. This means it can soak in the flavours of the herbs or spices it is mixed with. Moreover, it has a wonderful "meaty" consistency and can be easily pulled into shreds as one would do with cooked meat. It's the perfect plant-based meat replacement for these tacos!
Preparing birria tacos takes a little bit of extra time than regular tacos, but the end result is absolutely worth it. First, you have to marinate the jackfruit chunks in the adobo sauce and then stew them for about half an hour in the broth before "pulling" them into shreds.
The adobo sauce is what sets these tacos apart. It consists of dried chillies simmered in broth with spices, herbs, onions, and ginger, all blended into a dark sauce. You'll need dried whole red chillies for this, possibly mildly spicy. Ancho or guajillo chillies are the perfect choice, but if you can't find them, you can use dried paprika chillies instead.
What we love the most about birria tacos is that the corn tortillas are first soaked in the adobo broth and then sizzled in a skillet until crispy and browned. This step adds a lot of flavour and makes the tacos simply irresistible! And the great news is one of these beauties has only 170 calories, meaning you can enjoy two or three of them and make a meal out of it. Super!
- Mild Dried Red Chillies (ancho or guajillo chillies)
- Red Onions
- Garlic Cloves
- Fresh Ginger Root
- Bay Leaves
- Vegetable Stock
- White Wine Vinegar
- Dried Oregano
- Ground Cumin
- Ground Cinnamon
- Ground Cloves
- Dried Thyme
- Canned Jackfruit in Water
- Corn Tortillas (gluten-free if needed)
- Chopped Fresh Cilantro
Let's start by preparing the adobo marinade.
Add dried chillies to a pot, followed by chopped onions, garlic, ginger root, bay leaves, and 200 mLof stock.
Bring the stock to a boil, cover, and simmer the ingredients over low heat for 10 minutes.
Next, transfer the chillies, vegs, and broth into a food processor.
Tip in the vinegar, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, and thyme.
Blitz all until you have a smooth, dark red sauce.
Now, drain the canned jackfruit and rinse it well under cold water to remove the taste of the brine water.
Chop the jackfruit into medium chunks, transfer them into a bowl, and pour in the adobo sauce.
Mix well until the jackfruit is evenly coated, wrap the bowl with cling film, and leave it to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, even better overnight.
Next, transfer the marinated jackfruit to a pot, scooping in also any leftover sauce from the bowl.
Pour in the remaining 500 mL of vegetable stock, bring it to a boil, and simmer the jackfruit stew covered for 30-35 minutes.
By the end of cooking time, the liquid should have slightly reduced and thickened.
Once cooked, transfer the stewed jackfruit into a bowl, shaking off any excess liquid, but don't discard the broth as you'll need it later.
Using two forks, start pulling the jackfruit into strips as you would do for shredded chicken.
Then, set the pulled jackfruit aside, ready to fill the tortillas.
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and optionally grease it with a little vegetable oil.
Pour the reserved broth into a shallow bowl and dip in one tortilla. Let the wrap soak in the liquids and then remove it, shaking off excess water.
Place the tortilla into the hot skillet and sizzle it for a few seconds on each side; it might get a bit stuck to the bottom of the pan, so use a spatula to help you lift it without tearing it.
Then, cover one half of the tortilla with shredded jackfruit and top it with a spoonful of adobo broth, finely chopped shallots and cilantro.
Fold the empty half of the tortilla over the fillings and cook it for 1-2 minutes over medium heat.
Then, flip it and cook it for 1-2 more minutes until it's slightly crispy and browned.
Repeat steps 6, 7, and 8 until you have used all the wraps and jackfruit.
Enjoy your vegan birria tacos with extra cilantro, shallots, and a cup of adobo broth on the side for dipping.
You can add shredded vegan cheese to the tortilla filling for extra yum.