The Venomous Tacos from Zacatecas (Tacos Envenenados)

With the usual mexican sense of humour, always with a strong side of irony, someone decided to name his special recipe for tacos Envenenados or "Venomous"... You will see these authentic mexican tacos only in the state of Zacatecas - there are two things about this intriguing taco: it is delicious and its recipe is kept secret. No worries, there is nothing toxic about this taco (unless of course you eat hundreds)!

The story goes that there was a very small mobile Taco stand, at a train station in Zacatecas in the 1950s, that was operated by a man who would enthusiastically call out his taco by this catchy name. Often intrigued by this unusual name a passer-by would inevitably stop to try this mysterious taco - the stand would be here only a day or two - gone elsewhere by the next. By the late 1960s the name caught on and we started seeing this taco sold at fixed locations, and today it's all over the state.

Basically this taco is made with a red homogenous paste-like red stuffing which includes potatoes, beans, chorizo, serrano chile, onion, cumin and cheese. Following tradition, this taco is offered "blandos - soft" or "dorados - golden crispy" i.e. deep fried longer in oil or lard. Patrons can ask for extras in their tacos, such as shredded beef and another type of cheese. These tacos are inexpensive and usually eaten as a snack.

| Yield: 12 tacos | Preparation: | Frying time: | Total time: |

The Secret Recipe of the Envenenados Tacos


* 12 Corn tortillas
* 1/2 lb. (250 g.) Chorizo sausages
* 1 lb. (500 g.) 2 big potatoes
* 2 chiles guajillos
* 1 lb. (500 g.) pinto beans, already cooked
* 1/2 lb. (250 g.) fresco cheese
* 1 yellow onion, chopped finely
* 4 ripe red chiles serranos (other red chiles if unavailable)
* 1/2 cup (125 ml.) Chicken broth
* 1 tablespoon tomato paste
* 1 tablespoon oil
* 1 teaspoon cumin, or to taste
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* Salt, to your taste
A deep fryer will be needed to deep fry these tacos in the last step.


1) Peel and boil the potatoes; they need to be very tender so that now you can mash them to a very smooth texture; add the paprika, the fresco cheese, and the cumin; mix and reserve.

2) Put the guajillo chiles in a bowl with hot water; leave to soak for 10 minutes; when tender remove its seeds and stem. In a large saucepan, fry the chopped onion a little bit, until translucent.

3) About the same amount of pinto beans as you had potatoes; using a blender, blend them with the cooked onion, the tomato paste, the guajillo chiles, the red chiles and the chicken broth - to a very smooth paste.

4) Fry the chorizo sausages in a regular saucepan (not nonstick) with the oil, breaking them up in the process as small as you can.

5) When the chorizo are cooked, add the potatoes mixture and also the pinto beans mixture. Mix and simmer, stirring every now and then - careful, this thick mixture will burn if left for too long without mixing. Season with salt, to your taste.

6) Heat up the corn tortillas in the microwave oven in a towel; fill them with the mixture we did earlier. Close them tightly and put them to fry in the deep fryer, one pressed on the other, so their mixture will not seep out.

7) Fry until the tortillas change color and become crispy - golden; that's it your envenenados are ready!

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