I was inspired by this ssam-bap post to try a similar thing with Mexican flavors. It made for a fast meal, with minimal cooking.
I felt there was something subtle missing in the flavor, so I will have to refine on the experiment. I think more lime juice, a better/more flavorful salsa, and a dash of hot sauce is the answer. Also, the purple cabbage, while beautiful, turned out to be quite messy. It stained my fingers and threatened to drip purple juice all over! I recommend sticking with green cabbage.
Cabbage Tacos (tacos en repollo)
Cabbage leaves, pealed from the head carefully so they are as intact as possible
A crispy variety of lettuce
Green onions, chopped
Shredded cheese (I like melty cheese, so I used a Chedder/Jack mix, but cotija would be nice if you want something firmer)
Cooked rice (it’s not traditional, but short grain sticks together better and makes for a neater eating experience)
1 can black beans
1 small can tomato sauce
! tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon pasilla chili powder (optional)
1/2 ground cumin
salt to taste
Get the rice cooking. Add the beans, tomato sauce and spices to a small pot and bring to a low simmer. Cook the bean mixture until thickens into more of a chili constancy.
Meanwhile, steam the cabbage leaves for about 10-15 minutes. You want them to be soft enough to fold without breaking, but not soft enough to be mushy. When they are done, run them under cold water to stop them from cooking more. Let them cool to room temp/holding-without-hurting-your-hands temp.
When the rice is done, transfer to a serving bowl and mix in the beans. Add salt to taste, keeping in mind that your salsa and cheese will add saltiness as well.
Assemble the taco! Lay a cabbage leaf on a plate, then place the lettuce so it covers any tears or breaks in the cabbage. Add rice mixture and the toppings of your choice! I think some quick pickled radishes would be a nice addition for next time, both in terms of flavor and crunch.
The nice thing about cabbage tacos vs. tortilla tacos is that the cabbage sort of stretched to contain all the filling. So unless you way overfill, you don’t run into the problem of your taco loosing a chunk of its filling at the first bite, or the tortilla breaking halfway through eating.