Aaron Mayís Puffy Tacos, as seen on Guyís Ranch Kitchen Season 4.
Recipe courtesy of Aaron May

Puffy Tacos

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 1 hr 20 min
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 8 tacos


Taco Shells:



Special equipment:
a deep-fry thermometer or deep-fryer; a tortilla press
  1. For the taco shells: In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, heat 3 inches oil to 375 degrees F or preheat your fryer to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a wire rack.
  2. Mix the masa harina and 1 teaspoon salt together in medium bowl. Add the warm water and combine until it comes together, about 30 seconds. Cover the dough and let rest for 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and roll each into a smooth ball. Keep covered and work quickly.
  4. Cut two 8-inch squares of parchment and line a tortilla press. Add a dough ball, then top with the other piece of parchment and press into disc, 5- to 6-inches in diameter.
  5. Carefully remove the tortilla and place in the hot oil. Fry the tortilla until it begins to puff, 25 to 30 seconds, then flip the tortilla, cooking another 25 to 30 seconds. Press down in the center of the tortilla with a metal spatula to form a taco shell, submerging the tortilla completely. Fry until golden brown and the taco shell holds its shape, another 30 to 45 seconds.
  6. Let drain on a wire rack lined baking sheet, then season with salt and reserve. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  7. For the filling: Heat a 12-inch cast-iron pan over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring to break up; sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook the ground beef fully, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and onion, stirring to prevent burning. Meanwhile, combine the cumin, chili powder, Mexican oregano and cayenne in a bowl, stirring to combine. Once the garlic and onion begin to turn translucent, about 1 minute, add the seasoning mixture and stir to combine. Add the crushed tomatoes to the same bowl and stir to combine, collecting any remaining spices, then add to the pan. Stir together until the beef is coated and allow to simmer until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. Equally divide the taco meat into the puffy taco shells. Add equal amounts lettuce, sour cream and pico de gallo to each taco. Grate Cheddar over each taco with a rasp grater. Serve with lime wedges.