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King Taco

Sorry the former thread is so muddled with crap.. thought I would start it over.

it's simple... the quantities are unknown. KISS.. Keep It Simple Stupid

de arbols
chipotles
rice wine vinegar
knorr or chicken bullion
garlic
salt

that's it....

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  1. Is this referring to the "what's in the sauce.." thread? I've never been to King Taco. What's this dish all about? Being that the old thread was such a mess I never took the time to figure it out.

    1 Reply
    1. redmeat,
      I went back and read the whole "messy" thread. You are one persistent and patient CH. I would love to think you have found your answer. Are you happy with the result yet?

      ~Nana

      2 Replies
      1. re: ItalianNana

        I'm gonna try something from a tip I got tonight.. I will let you know if it works

        1. re: ItalianNana

          I haven't really come close... Or what I think is close. However, I have come up with some really good sauces in the meantime.

          One of my favorites is just a super simple, de arbol, tomatillo & garlic sauce. Take a big handful of de arbols, de-stemmed and toss them in a pot with about 4 or 5 tomatillos and 4 or 5 cloves of garlic (add salt to taste). Simmer in a little canola or corn oil (not olive) on medium heat until the de arbols start to change color. Take off the heat, let cool and blend... add water to alter the consistency. run it through a medium strainer and boom bam.. you got a tasty red sauce.

          note: I have also made it with Chipotles added and it just gives you a smokey element.

        2. I remember reading that thread last year with fascination. I am dying to taste the original. Next trip to SoCal it is ON!

          I used to crush on a red salsa at a taqueria (Toro Bravo I think) in Capitola CA that haunts me to this day. It was biting hot and brick red. Thick. I've come close to recreating but never happy.

          Have you solved King Taco???

          1 Reply
          1. re: e_bone

            I haven't yet. But, what I made today is almost perfect. I know I have it .... I have to make another batch tomorrow and change one small thing and I think I got it.

          2. Thank you for this, I been meaning to go back to that thread and ask which recipe is the closest so I could try it. I'm assuming this one is the closest. Thanks again, that thread makes me smile. LOVE the effort from all involved.

            1. Someone told me that its the process that is a problem. They said you might get the smokey flavor by cooking the dried de arbols in oil .. to the point where they get charred ..

              1 Reply
              1. re: redmeat

                where do I find these peppers? Are they the dried ones?

              2. I'm going to repost one of my responses to the endless original thread because the ingredient list is probably quite close:

                According to a close contact I have at a Westside Taqueria that has a very similar tasting salsa as King Taco (some of you will know EXACTLY the establishment I am talking about) these are the complete list of ingredients they use in their salsa roja:

                Whole chile arbol, toasted
                Canned chipotles
                Fire roasted tomatillo
                California chile powder
                Paprika
                Cayenne pepper
                Cinnamon
                Cloves
                Black pepper
                Salt to taste
                Cumin
                Ginger powder
                Oregano
                Water

                I do not have the ingredient ratios as of yet, but I have been assured these are what they are using. The cinnamon and clove make perfect sense, as I taste both of these in King Taco's salsa roja, as well as a few other fine ones I've had, but the paprika and ginger powder were a bit of a mystery to me. I think they could be left out, to be honest.

                9 Replies
                1. re: Moose

                  I don't know about all those ingredients. I think it is super simple. Like I said in the other thread, I will go to my grave contending that there is NO CLOVES in the red sauce.

                  I'm working on a simple, de arbol - tomatillo sauce. I made one last week and it was really good.

                  1. re: redmeat

                    I really think you should just go work there for a little bit and report back to us! Take one for the team! :-)

                    1. re: e_bone

                      Yeah... Haha... I am certain the employees don't know the recipe.

                      I have a restaurant. We don't do Tacos regularly. We screw around in the kitchen sometimes trying to copy it. All of our attempts has come up with some tasty red sauces. And, we use them when we run specials.

                    2. re: redmeat

                      My reasoning is this: If the salsa at the previously mentioned westside taqueria tastes almost identical to King Taco's salsa, then wouldn't it stand to reason the ingredient list has to be really close?

                      1. re: Moose

                        "Westside taqueria".

                        El Taurino?? If so, then the ingredients are the same.

                        1. re: oldregret

                          Not quite. The most I can say is Olympic & 14th. Think you can figure it out from there. :)

                          1. re: Moose

                            Thanks!

                            I've never been there. How close is their salsa to KT's??

                            1. re: oldregret

                              VERY close to KT, and every bit as good, IMO. Easily one of the top 5 salsa rojas I've had.

                              Hope you'll give it a whirl and let us know what you think...

                              1. re: Moose

                                are these fresh peppers or in the can? If fresh, how are you cooking them?

                  2. I'm glad this topic has picked-up again! Thank you redmeat.

                    1. Sorry I can't contribute to your recipe. I followed the old thread & your dedicated efforts to get the recipe right.

                      I am always on the lookout for a good red & green sauce. To me, those two sauces are benchmarks of what the other food will taste like when served. If the sauce is not right, I just go pay for my drink & chips & leave. No use hanging around a joint that cannot even put a good sauce on the table.

                      I am a Gringo gal, but have been raised eating real Tex Mex food from Nuevo Laredo to the deep south & west side of San Antonio. Not bragging, mind you, just saying I have tasted some mighty fine food. I understand your quest for the perfect sauce. I too am always looking for good sauce recipes.

                      The only advice I can provide is if you have made a near perfect batch, be happy & enjoy. Sometimes you can never duplicate a restaurant's sauce or whatever because they purchase spices, powders & whatnot that you cannot get your hands on unless you contact the wholesaler & purchase a very large bag of the ingredient. And that is just one bag, there may be other large bags you might have to purchase of other ingredients.

                      Then there is the ratio thing you have to figure out. The restaurant makes gallons, you are trying to make a few quarts. Another hurdle to overcome.

                      Perhaps the journey is enjoyable to you, sorta like a hobby fiddling around with your potion.

                      I gave up quite some time ago & just try to get as close as possible to a recipe & just kick back & eat almost the exact thing that is being served in restaurants. Good enough for me. I still look for the holy grail though.

                      1. I just tried this recipe and it's pretty darn close to me...good enough as a matter of fact. I kept it simple like redmeat suggests. I wish I would have made it spicier though.
                        I did the following:
                        -Sautéed/fried a handful of chiles de arbol for a couple of minutes. Don't let them get too dark otherwise it takes on a different taste.
                        -Added 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar(bought this one by mistake instead of rice wine vinegar but it's just as good)
                        -Added 3 tablespoons of Knorr
                        -Added 2 tablespoons of garlic. I used the minced version that they sell in jars.
                        -Added a full can of chipotles in adobo sauce.(small can)
                        -Salt to taste.
                        These are all of the ingredients that I believe are required and now it's just a matter of messing with the measurements to get it down right but not by much for my taste. Like I said, this is good enough for me. Give it a try, it's not that complicated, I kept it simple with simple ingredients as would have been done in a taco truck when they first started. If you think about it, regular vinegar might have been all that they used back then.
                        Thanks Redmeat!!!!!

                        23 Replies
                        1. re: boxfan1

                          I have all those ingredients here.. and I agree all those flavors are in there somewhere.. maybe I will make a batch with red wine vinegar and I still want to try it with tomatillos. I have used tomatillos, but never with chipotles...

                          1. re: boxfan1

                            I have been talking to my good friend and he says his wife (who cooks authentic mexican all the time) uses a lot of homemade pineapple vinegar in her cooking. I asked him to ask her what applications. I wasn't sure if it was just for dressings or did they use it in cooking.

                            1. re: redmeat

                              Can you make pineapple vinegar? It sounds interesting ...

                            2. re: boxfan1

                              Made it, consistency and color are perfect, flavor is super close.. I think the Red Wine Vinegar is a little too sweet. I am gonna try it with Regular White Vinegar (not White Wine).

                              1. re: redmeat

                                I am glad that you agree that it was very close, afterall, you are the one that simplified it. I will try it with regular vinegar and see how it comes out. I am also tempted to try the green sauce since its my wife's favorite. Have you tried the green one?

                                1. re: boxfan1

                                  A split batch, I tried the apple vinegar and bitter orange (.25 cup) - I prefer the bitter orange. My recipe was an amalgam of a few recipes here, including pumpkin seed, clove, coriander, onion, and chipotles in adobo.

                                  I boiled the sauce, apparently too long, as it darkened considerably. Surprising, a sauce of only peppers (sans tomato) was not blistering hot (as I expected).

                                  I think the clove was overpowering and will either leave it out of the next batch or reduce it by 50%.

                                  Redmeat & Boxfan, are you cooking your batches? If yes, for how long?

                                  I've got a batch of pineapple vinegar bubbling away under the sink. It smells wonderful.

                                  1. re: ultravista

                                    Honestly, after I blend it for a good 10 to 15 minutes , I strain it because the chiles de arbol don't blend too smooth, I let it chill and that's it. I'm not sure if redmeat does.

                                    1. re: boxfan1

                                      Boxfan - got it, no cook. What is your latest recipe?

                                      1. re: ultravista

                                        Same as redmeat's. I first tried it with Red wine vinegar. The only thing I would do differently is to add a little more than 1 can of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce. In my opinion, this is the addicting flavor.

                                        1. re: boxfan1

                                          Is this the one?

                                          * de arbols
                                          * chipotles
                                          * rice wine vinegar
                                          * knorr or chicken bullion
                                          * garlic
                                          * salt

                                          If yes, at what quantity for each?

                                          1. re: ultravista

                                            Handful of chiles de arbol slightly toasted in a pan with oil. 2 1/2 tablespoons of chicken knorr; at least 1 can of chipotles but maybe more depending on the amount of water you use. About 2 or 3cups of water. I used 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar but you can try regular vinegar; 2 teaspoons of garlic. I used the minced type sold in jars. That's it, salt to taste but be careful because knorr has plenty of salt. Blend thoroughly and strain.let us know how it comes out.

                                2. re: redmeat

                                  Redmeat - which version did you make most recent?

                                  1. re: ultravista

                                    I used the exact recipe Boxfan1 put up. Although everyone agreed it was very very close, the consensus was a tad too sweet. I attribute that to the Red Wine Vinegar.

                                    I toast the de arbols just to release the oils. In a non stick pan, maybe a minute or two.

                                    I basically start to boil water to reconstitute the dried Chills. However I ad a few cloves of garlic and knorr to the water. So it makes a flavored broth. I add the de arbols to the broth and soak them until they are soft.

                                    I transfer the soften de arbols, chipotles (which I rinse the adobo off - somehow I think KT uses dried chipotles and not the ones in adobo), garlic and ladel enough broth to cover in the blender. I add a little vinegar, salt and pepper and blend really really good.. careful if its hot (hold the lid on with a towell).

                                    I press it through a medium strainer and refrigerate. I think actually adding a little oil to the pan and cooking it to reduce it to the proper thickness might be needed here but I didn't do it. Cooking it does take away some of the bitterness of the chili.

                                    I just ate King Taco about 3 seconds ago and the sauce I made was not as hot. I am thinking all dried chilis toasted and reconstituted in water, de arbols, chipotles and cayenne. add the garlic, salt, pepper and vinegar....

                                    For sure the flavors are there.

                                    Quantities...

                                    One Large Handful of de arbols, destemmed and deseeded.
                                    One Can Chipotles ( i washed off the adobo)
                                    2-3 Cloves of Garlic
                                    2 TBSP Knorr
                                    approx 3 cups of water
                                    3 TBSP Vinegar
                                    salt and pepper to taste.

                                    1. re: redmeat

                                      So you're toasting before rehydrating? I did not rehydrate my De Arbols after toasting, they went right into the blender.

                                      I cooked mine too long, it darkened-up considerably and the flavor changed.

                                      What are your thoughts on pumpkin seeds? Is there a place in this sauce for them?

                                      1. re: ultravista

                                        I mean it's personal preference. The pumpkin seeds will (blended) add a nutty flavor and a creamy texture... I don't think that goes with KT's Red Sauce. Plus, it probably will lighten the color, which doesn't match KT's Sauce....

                                        And, Yes, I toasted the de arbols, lightly...

                                        1. re: redmeat

                                          You are right about the heat level, mine was not spicy enough even though the taste was close. I'm thinkin
                                          g of adding a couple of habaneros to increase the heat level.

                                          1. re: boxfan1

                                            Don't add habaneros... I have a possible secret. I will test it in a day or so and report back.. I have a restaurant and one of my brand new cooks works part time for his family on a taco truck... he tasted the KT sauce I brought in and told exactly what he thinks it is... give me a day or two and I will try what he told me..

                                            1. re: redmeat

                                              "I have a possible secret" - can't wait!

                                              Question for both redmeat & boxfan - are you toasting, rehydrating, and using that water (with or without Knorr in it) as the water in the sauce?

                                              1. re: ultravista

                                                I don't re-hydrate the chilies but I'm thinking of doing this. BTW, lets not respond to the loser...he's probably never even tasted a good Mexican salsa.

                                                1. re: boxfan1

                                                  I jacked something up on the "i have a secret." I am doing something wrong. I think I am going to do a batch without straining. I am getting my sauce too watery and I am losing that strong chili flavor. The white vinegar jacked it up. I think I am going to give tomatillos another try.

                                                  1. re: redmeat

                                                    Just a suggestion but u might not need to strain it if you are re hydrating the chiles de arbol. I do because I was toasting them and blending them which left them a bit flakey.

                                          2. re: redmeat

                                            I know that its a whole other topic but any suggestions on the green sauce?

                                3. Looking for feedback on heating/cooking the sauce. I left mine boil for a few minutes (covered) and it really darkened-up. The flavor seems to have changed too ...

                                  1. A guy who works for me used to work in McDonalds' food laboratory. He has a recipe which is very close to the Big Mac special sauce:

                                    Big Mac Special Sauce
                                    1/4 cup KRAFT Miracle Whip
                                    1/4 cup mayonnaise
                                    2 tablespoons, heaping, WISHBONE deluxe French salad dressing (the orange stuff)
                                    1/2 tablespoon HEINZ sweet relish
                                    2 teaspoons, heaping, VLASIC dill pickle relish (Heinz dill relish also works)
                                    1 teaspoon sugar
                                    1 teaspoon dried, minced onion
                                    1 teaspoon white vinegar
                                    1 teaspoon ketchup
                                    1/8 teaspoon salt
                                    Mix everything very well in a small container. There better be no streaks! Microwave 25 seconds, and stir well
                                    again. Cover, and refrigerate at LEAST 1 hour before using. (to allow all of the flavors to "meld") Makes nearly
                                    1 cup... enough for about 8 Big Macs

                                    I have made it numerous times with tweaks but still don't think it is exactly right. I bet if I continue to go back to McDonalds to taste the original I will keep getting closer and closer in my experiments.

                                    Man, McDonalds should pay me for the free marketing I am doing for them.

                                    1. I made my batch yesterday.

                                      35-40 De Arbols (large handful)
                                      3 large garlic cloves
                                      3 Knorr chicken stock cubes
                                      3 cups of water
                                      3 tblsp pumpkin seeds
                                      1 can of Chipolte peppers (washed the Adobo off)

                                      I toasted the De Arbols then rehydrated them in the warm water, garlic, and Knorr slurry. I also toasted the pumpkin seeds and threw them into the blender.

                                      After blending, I strained the sauce through a fine mesh strainer. Despite a hard blend, there were a lot of solids.

                                      The strained sauce tastes great. The pumpkin seeds change the flavor a lot - adding an earthy kind of taste. I tasted the batch prior to the seeds and I prefer it with the seeds.

                                      The color and flavor are awesome.

                                      I'm in Las Vegas, no King Taco here. My friend brings back sauce once and while so I can't compare the taste to the real deal. This recipe however will be my goto recipe from now on.

                                      14 Replies
                                      1. re: ultravista

                                        I just did a new batch and it came out pretty good.
                                        Toasted handful of chilies
                                        2.5 tablespoons of ckn knorr
                                        3 teaspoons of pre minced garlic
                                        2 tablespoons of wine vinegar
                                        2 small cans of chipotle. 1 entire can and in second can I rinsed off adobo sauce but added all chilies.
                                        2 cups of water
                                        I addedd no salt since knorr is is rather salted. Strained and ready to go. I didn't dehydrate the chilies.

                                        1. re: boxfan1

                                          Here is my closest yet... And I have to "Eat Major Crow" because I said NO to Cloves and i used Cloves in small quantities and it is pretty damn close.

                                          I used:
                                          a small handful of de arbols
                                          a small handful of japones
                                          (maybe 20 each)
                                          2 tbsp Chipotle Chili Powder
                                          3 Cloves Garlic
                                          1tsp Knorr
                                          3 tbsp White Vinegar
                                          3-4 Cloves
                                          1 tsp Salt and cracked Black Pepper

                                          I didn't toast or do much d-seeding.
                                          Boiled Water. added de-stemmed de arbol and japones as is. Let them soak for 20 minutes or so.
                                          Added the chilis and garlic to the blender with the Vinegar, Knorr, Chipotle Powder, Cloves, Salt, Pepper and enough Chili water to cover. Blended it really good - a good minute or longer.

                                          I didn't strain or anything... that's the sauce. Add more chili water if it's too thick. Keep adding until you get the right consistency.

                                          It's is almost there. about 90% I would say.. the only missing element is the unique tangy-zinginess... It has some of that from the vinegar ... I'm thinking Citric Acid - but don't know exactly what that tastes like.

                                          Lime is too sweet... it's not fruit...Vinegar works but it it has that sweet/sour taste... All the flavors are there, it's just a matter of finding that one item ...

                                          1. re: redmeat

                                            How about the bitter orange for the tangy-zinginess?

                                            1. re: redmeat

                                              While i have immensely enjoyed following both threads, i always thought it would come down to something absurdly simple like this.
                                              While I was cooking one batch I thought " no way is King Taco doing this kind of complexity for gallons and gallons of this stuff a day"

                                              Its a remarkable job and fascinating process to participate in.

                                              Ultravista's seville orange suggestion is interesting....

                                              Wonder if I have the stuff around to make another batch....

                                                1. re: redmeat

                                                  I let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours and it tastes even more like it than I originally reported. It thickened up on me a bit, I just diluted it with a bit of fresh water.

                                                  I think it is it.

                                                  I don't think you can much closer.

                                                  Somebody try and make it and let me know what you think.

                                                  1. re: redmeat

                                                    Redmeat - why the mix of De Arbols & Japones? Do the Japones impart a different flavor than the De Arbols alone?

                                                    In my clone of yours, I added 3 Knorr chicken stock cubes. With this sized batch, it was a little salty. Perhaps 2 cubes would suffice.

                                                    In your latest post, tsp - teaspoon or tablespoon?

                                                    1. re: ultravista

                                                      tsp is teaspoon ...

                                                      trust me, just try it..

                                                      the japones (japanese) pepper idea came from a new employee of mine. his family owns lunch trucks and does a lot of tacos and stuff.. i asked him to taste KT and give me his thoughts.

                                                      He basically said, either or both peppers, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper... that's it.

                                                      I made it like that, but it was missing something, so i put the chipotle powder in, the 3 cloves, and teaspoon of knorr.

                                                      1. re: redmeat

                                                        Its an interesting idea to try the powder chipotle. My issue right now is in increasing the heat level. I'm going to try some habaneros and keep you posted. I'd like to know more about the orange taste that ultravista suggested.

                                                        1. re: boxfan1

                                                          Boxfan - the bitter orange was suggested by someone here, I tried it and found the taste to be different than apple vinegar. I preferred the bitter orange.

                                                          1. re: boxfan1

                                                            I brought it to work and had two KT fans try it and they agreed that without the original recipe or knowing exactly what the factory that produces it for KT puts in their sauce.. ... the one I made was a dead-ringer for the KT Red Sauce.

                                                  2. re: redmeat

                                                    Has anyone tried redmeat's latest recipe? It sounds like it's pretty close...

                                                      1. re: ultravista

                                                        This one from Sept 2013:

                                                        Here is my closest yet... And I have to "Eat Major Crow" because I said NO to Cloves and i used Cloves in small quantities and it is pretty damn close.

                                                        I used:
                                                        a small handful of de arbols
                                                        a small handful of japones
                                                        (maybe 20 each)
                                                        2 tbsp Chipotle Chili Powder
                                                        3 Cloves Garlic
                                                        1tsp Knorr
                                                        3 tbsp White Vinegar
                                                        3-4 Cloves
                                                        1 tsp Salt and cracked Black Pepper

                                                        I didn't toast or do much d-seeding.
                                                        Boiled Water. added de-stemmed de arbol and japones as is. Let them soak for 20 minutes or so.
                                                        Added the chilis and garlic to the blender with the Vinegar, Knorr, Chipotle Powder, Cloves, Salt, Pepper and enough Chili water to cover. Blended it really good - a good minute or longer.

                                                        I didn't strain or anything... that's the sauce. Add more chili water if it's too thick. Keep adding until you get the right consistency.

                                                        It's is almost there. about 90% I would say.. the only missing element is the unique tangy-zinginess... It has some of that from the vinegar ... I'm thinking Citric Acid - but don't know exactly what that tastes like.

                                                        Lime is too sweet... it's not fruit...Vinegar works but it it has that sweet/sour taste... All the flavors are there, it's just a matter of finding that one item ...

                                              1. Sounds interesting, with the exception of the boullion - but how is this used? As a marinade? Is the meat cooked then soaked in it? Is it reduced into a thick sauce?

                                                  1. re: Cinr

                                                    Redmeat hasnt posted for months.

                                                    I fear the worst.

                                                    1. re: hyde

                                                      Does anyone here know Readmeat?

                                                      1. re: ultravista

                                                        I believe a few on here may know 'of' him from conversations they have had with him. I read one older post from someone who 'thought' he may have been involved in a bad car accident. Not sure if that is true. Seems none of the early posters involved in the hunt post anymore. I have saved your version & hope to make this weekend. Sounds very tasty. I lived in L.A. for years & never had KT. Now in the PNW....a challenge to find decent ethnic chow of any kind.

                                                        1. re: chefwillie97321

                                                          My version is an adaptation of versions here, I wouldn't say that it's the real-deal. Close, yes, but not quite there.

                                                          KT is hotter than the just De Arbol mix, maybe the Japones or supplemented with a powdered chili. For the last batch, I used too much Knorr powder, the flavor was there but it was too salty. The next batch will be a 50/50 mix of De Arbol and Japone with 1/3 less Knorr.

                                                          1. re: ultravista

                                                            Sounds good. I used the Knorr cubes, just 1. I've made similar sauces in the past using a combo of Arbols & other dried chilis for flavor (not heat) with good results. Very basic..chilis soaked in hot water, most seeds removed, some fresh onion & garlic, squeeze of lime, dash of salt and a handful of cilantro. Blended very well using the soaking water as needed & strained. Will flat light you up...to hot for some though.

                                                  2. King tacos sauce =This is what it contains: Chile de arbol, capsum, garlic powder, pimienta dulce, ginger, white vinegar, salt.

                                                    Note: The way you process is extremely important. Also note that when your done making the sauce it needs a 24 hour period before serving. Flavor, spice and texture will change to what your looking for.

                                                    When people can't tell the difference between king taco sauce and your sauce is how you accomplish perfection.

                                                    I say this from experience.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: legnaagetro

                                                      What is "capsum"??

                                                      And for that matter "pimienta dulce"? Like , allspice?

                                                      1. re: hyde

                                                        think he means capisum? which encompasses most peppers per the Net. And, yes, looking up pimiento dulce brings you to allspice. One note of possible interest is pimiento dulce Malagueta combines flavors of cloves, cinnamon & nutmeg. Perhaps where the underlying flavor of clove comes from?

                                                        1. re: chefwillie97321

                                                          My reading is that english is probably not lesnaagetro native tongue but was hoping he would expand on this recipe as it might be a litlle inside.

                                                          and those clove notes always are elusive in some of the other recipes.

                                                          1. re: hyde

                                                            I meant pure cap is the chemical that makes peppers hot. It contains vegetable oil and capsaisin. 500,000 scolville unit is what you need. Just make sure to wear gloves when handling extract.

                                                            Pimienta dulce look it up online. You can find it in most Hispanic markets and cheap.

                                                            Just to be more clear. Please view pic.

                                                             
                                                             
                                                        1. re: ultravista

                                                          I've had mustard (Frenches) years ago with this added and it was pretty HOT stuff. I was told the person got it at a pharmacy but here it is on Amazon, with reviews. Not questioning the poster but I have doubts a couple of guys on a Taco wagon were using this stuff. Regardless, here's the link http://www.amazon.com/Pure-Cap-Hot-Sa...