Tamarind Sweet Potato Tacos/Snowpocalypse Day 2
The verdict: The hype was well-deserved. Twenty inches of snow overnight, and more on the way, making this the third snowiest snowstorm in Chicago’s history. 60 mile an hour winds. A thunder and lightning storm DURING the snow storm. Motorists stranded on Lake Shore Drive. And, as a true testament to the storm’s hardcore-osity: stoic University of Chicago actually canceled classes (which, really, NEVER happens).
People seem to be making the best of it. There appears to be a brief reprieve from snow, so all the neighbors are out shoveling out their cars (which I should be doing, too). One is blasting hip hop from his car stereo. Partytime in shoveltown!
I made the best of it by making really yummy tacos. They were an experiment with available pantry items (in true blizzard-survival form), but they were a fantastically delicious concoction. Sweet, spicy, tangy, great. I’d eat them during a blizzard on any day of the week. Or, just any day of the week. Really, they are tasty.
canola oil for frying tortillas
olive oil for sweet potatoes
2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
2 shallots, peeled and diced
1 tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper
2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. tamarind concentrate
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1/2 lime (other 1/2 goes in slaw)
1 sweet potato, peeled and thinly diced
a few tbsps. stock or water
cabbage, thinly sliced
Bring a pot to medium heat ad heat the oil. Add the cumin seeds, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Gently saute the garlic and shallots until translucent (maybe 3 minutes), and then add the sweet potatoes. Add the rice wine vinegar, tamarind concentrate, lime zest and juice, and stock, turn the heat to med-low. Cover and let the potatoes simmer until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove cover and reduce the sauce a bit. Season with salt to taste.
Heat a thing coating of oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet on high until it’s hot (you’ll be able to see a tiny bit of smoke rising). Fry the tortillas about 30 seconds on each side. Drain on a paper towel and fold in half. You may need to replenish the oil, but make sure to heat it before adding more tortillas.
Assemble the slaw: shredded cabbage, cilantro, lime juice and salt.
Assemble the tacos: Spoon the sweet potato into the bottom of a fried tortilla. Top with slaw, then Greek yogurt and hot sauce.