Executive chef Barry Pall of Crudessence gave me a tour of the raw food restaurant’s commercial kitchen space a few weeks ago, way up in a loft in one of my favourite areas of Montreal. I figured it’d be nice and cool, not needing air conditioning because Crudessence is a “raw” restaurant – no heat required. But it’s scorching up there! for one, they do cook things like quinoa and gently steam vegetables occasionally, but it’s the legion of dehydrators pumping out sandwich breads, crackers, eggplant “bacon” and granola that makes the kitchen mighty sticky come summer. That’s why the army of fans cooling the huge containers of sprouts are so important. Hundreds of dollars of moldy sprouts = no fun.
Barry inspired me to make this recipe when he mentioned how great sprouted mung beans are for a taco filling. I think he dehydrated them a little bit to keep some crunchy texture. But I don’t have a legion of dehydrators, or even just the one I’d need for little old me. But I’m stubborn, and if I’m going to make a raw taco filling with chipotle chili pepper, I’m going to make it as good as I can. After a little trial and error, here’s the recipe I came up with. If you don’t over-process this filling, it works well without requiring a dehydrator…and air conditioning. The raw taco shells, however, will have you sweating up a storm if it happens to be the middle of a Montreal summer.
P.S. Go to Balnea Spa between August 11th and 17th to try his raw dehydrated crepe stuffed with spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, avocado, mint, dill, and raw basil cream sauce. This is paired with a sprouted rice and parsley salad seasoned simply with lemon and olive oil. You can go enjoy it while you sit in the hot tub or Turkish baths, or lounge by the private lake…Heaven is swanky, as it turns out. And I have a feeling his dish here (and his version of raw tacos) is better than mine.
Raw Chipotle Tacos
3 cups sprouted mung beans
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1/8 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin,
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika,
2 tsp coconut sugar
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp lime juice
1 recipe raw taco cups (below)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or lettuce if you hate cilantro, but I’m sad for you)
1 cup chopped tomato salsa (chopped fresh tomatoes with a little diced hot chili pepper, juice of one lime and 1/4 tsp salt)
Combine taco fillings in food processor or blender and grind just until combined. You don’t want a smooth paste. You want some texture. Place two tbsp filling in each taco cup. Top with shredded lettuce and tomato salsa.
Raw Taco Cups
1 1/4 cups ground flax seeds
1 1/2 cups frozen (or fresh!) corn kernels
2 shallots or one small onion, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup roughly chopped red or orange pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Spread on teflex sheets and dehydrate for 3 hours. Then use an upside-down bowl and a knife to cut the batter on the sheets into large rounds. You should be able to pull the rounds off of the sheets then flip and dehydrate about an hour more. (If they don’t cut you need to dehydrate them more first so they don’t fall apart.) Once dehydrated 1 hour more, fold the circles into loose wraps held together with toothpicks or stuffed with aluminum foil to maintain the wrapped shape. Dehydrate another 3-6 hours until crispy. Or longer for extra-crispy. Soft tacos work fine too, and take less patience…These make rolled tacos, not taco bowls like below.
Spread the filling really thin in two parchment-lined muffin tins. Bake in the oven at the lowest possible temperature with the door slightly ajar until crisp (at least half a day…). It’s tricky lining the tins with parchment. It won’t be perfect. Don’t worry about it. And you’ll probably have to cut the parchment out to remove the shells cleanly. Tricky – yes. Worth it – if you’re raw, yes.