Yellow Courgette and Poblano Taco

  • Time: 1 hour
  • Serves: 4
  • Level: easy

Fresh and dried poblano chillies are very prevalent in Mexican cuisine. Perhaps the most recognisable dish with poblano chillies is chilli rellenos. Here I have used rajas, or strips with yellow courgettes to make a vegetarian/vegan taco. The taste of a poblano is a cross between green pepper and a chilli. The heat is very mild, so if using peppers instead of poblanos, include a couple jalapeno chillies to generate some heat.

An easy vegetarian/vegan taco

What you need

Corn tortillas

2 large yellow courgettes

3 fresh poblano chillies or 3 poblanos from a tin, or 2 large green peppers.

1 large white onion, peeled and quartered

2 jalapeno chillies if using peppers instead of poblano chillies

400g fresh tomatoes

1 tsp epazote or more to taste

100g pumpkin seeds

Optional taco accompaniments – amounts to suit

Chopped lettuce

Chopped tomatoes – or pico de gallo (chopped tomatoes, onion, chilli, coriander)

Sliced avocado

Grated or crumbled cheese (mild cheddar, Wensleydale, hard mozzarella, feta)

Crema – Greek yoghurt, sour cream, or crème fraiche or a mix, with a little lime juice and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Chopped green or red chillies

Chopped coriander

Limes

Chilli sauces of choice…



How Dad Cooked It

The Mexican way with many sauces is to ‘broil’ or char ingredients in a pan and then blitz in a blender and return to a pan to finish cooking. The traditional pan for ‘broiling’ is a ‘comal’ (cast iron flat pan). Therefore, a cast iron pan is the best tool for the job, but a normal non-stick pan can also be used providing you are happy cooking at a relatively (possibly lifetime-guaranteeing-limiting) high temperature. Otherwise, cook the ingredients on a baking sheet under the grill. The idea is to soften and partially cook, whilst charring a little – not to cook all the way through or blacken excessively.

Epazote is wormwood and used fresh and dried in Mexican cooking. Source online, as there is no real substitute.

  1. If using fresh poblano chillies, or fresh peppers, char under a hot grill, turning until the skin is evenly charred and blistered. Put into a bowl and cover with cling film. When cool peel the skin away, then remove the seeds, and stalk. Cut into strips. If using poblanos from a tin, cut into strips, removing seeds and stalk.
  2. In a small dry frying pan, toast the pumpkin seeds until they start to pop or just begin to colour, transfer to a dish, and cool.
  3. Trim the courgettes and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds with a spoon. Cut into strips about 1.5cm x 5cm. Heat a large frying pan, add a little oil and fry the courgettes until starting to colour, but still quite firm. Drain and set aside.
  4. Put the tomatoes into a cast iron pan (see note above) along with the chillies (if using) and onion. Turn the heat up high and cook, allowing the ingredients to soften somewhat and char a little and evenly, keep turning and remove ingredients as they become ready. NB: If desired, protect the ingredients from the blackening of charring by leaving the skin on the onion and peeling after cooking, removing the chillies (if using) before they blacken, and peeling the tomatoes after cooking. However, top Mexican authority, Diana Kennedy, says don’t bother – the black bits add interest to the finished dish…
  5. Remove any excessively burnt bits from the broiling ingredients. Cut the stalk off the chillies, if using (remove the seeds if less heat is preferred). Put all the broiling ingredients into a blender and blitz, adding a little water if necessary, the consistency should be like soup. Pour into a saucepan, add the epazote and cook for a minute. Then add the courgettes and chilli strips. Check the seasoning and cook for a couple minutes more.
  6. Put into a serving dish and sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds.
  7. Warm the tortillas (in the oven wrapped in tin foil, in the microwave in a plastic tortilla warmer or zip bag, or individually on a hot dry frying pan). Serve, along with laid out accompaniments for everybody to make their own tacos.

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