… wat?“Like seriously, WHAT EVEN IS THIS DISH GUYS? Tacos made from Indian paratha? Cabbage seasoned with maple flavoring? This doesn’t make any sense!”
We know. We hear you. You’re right, this doesn’t seem to make any sense, but rest assured, every flavor is added to elevate or balance another one. Once your teeth sink into this eccentric taco, every piece falls into perfect place. Peanuts and maple bring earthiness, yogurt brings acidity, eggplant brings meatiness, liquid smoke brings depth, ginger brings spice, and cilantro brings bright herbal notes.
Instead of belonging to one particular cuisine, this dish is a combination of many different cultures, including Indian, American, and Japanese. And while it may sound abstract, this idea is actually inspired by Goa Taco, a pop-up at Smorgasburg. On their menu is two items: a banh mi paratha taco and a smoked pork belly paratha taco. Obviously we haven’t tried the latter, but their banh mi taco takes reign as our favorite taco in Los Angeles. They fry up paratha till it’s puffy, flaky, and subtly burnt, then fill it with mushroom pate, do chua, julienned cucumber, tender tofu, and crushed peanuts.
In comparison to corn tortillas, paratha – a layered wheat bread from India that raises when cooked – is fluffier, more durable, holds onto sauce better, and can you tell we’re biased? Honestly, we’d choose paratha over tortillas for tacos any day. Remember, “it ain’t about who did it first, it’s about who did right.” (Shout out Drake)
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Let’s Taco ‘Bout It
Flaky Paratha Tacos with Smoky Grilled Eggplant, Sweet Maple Cabbage, Roasted Peanuts, and Cilantro Ginger Yogurt Sauce (vegan)
Pan-fried paratha replaces the tortilla in this mind-bending taco.
Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
- 1/4 c coconut yogurt (homemade is best)
- 1 tsp cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp dried ground ginger
- 1 tsp apple honey or xylitol honey
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- small pinch of salt
- 1/4 head red cabbage, cut into thick slices
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 1 tbsp apple honey or xylitol honey
- 1/2 tsp maple flavor*
- heavy pinch of salt
- few grinds of black pepper
- 4 oz of eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 in rounds
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 2 tbsps soy sauce
- 1 tbsp liquid smoke
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 2 rounds of frozen paratha*
- 2 tbsps vegetable oil
- crushed roasted peanuts
- Eggplant: Cut eggplant rounds into quarters. Whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, liquid smoke, dijon mustard, and spices in a casserole pan. Add in eggplant and marinate for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Once it’s hot, cook eggplant on each until its grill marks are golden brown; about 4 minutes per side.
- Cabbage: Pre-heat oven to 450° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, honey, maple flavor, salt, and pepper. Add in cabbage and toss to coat.
- Arrange on prepped baking sheet and roast until its tender with a crisp bite; about 12 minutes.
- Sauce: Whisk together all of the ingredients in a bowl until smooth. If you’re using a thick yogurt, you may want to add a teaspoon or two of water to loosen it up. Store in fridge until ready to use.
- Assembling: Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in vegetable oil and one of the paratha rounds. Cook until fluffy and golden brown on each side; about 2 minutes per side. Repeat for second piece.
- Build your tacos in the order of: paratha, eggplant, cabbage, sauce, and crushed peanuts. Fold and enjoy while fresh!
*If you can’t find maple flavoring, replace the honey with maple syrup. The flavor won’t be quite as strong, but it will do trick in a pinch.
*Paratha can usually be found in the frozen section of Oriental markets. Just check the ingredients to make sure they don’t contain any real butter. Butter flavoring, on the other hand, is generally vegan-friendly.