Puffy Taco Trend Coming To Dallas? Plus: How To Cook A Perfect Puffy Taco At Home.

Categories: Cook This

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Puffy Tacos on the menu at Tupinamba
Back in December I started my search for the puffy taco, a deep fried delicacy, which according to popular convention hails from San Antonio, yet is impossible to find just a few hours away here in Dallas. That first blog post kicked off a dialogue with Eddie Dominguez, who says he's been tweaking his own puffy taco since the post.

See also:
- Tracking Down the Origin of Dallas' "Puffy" Tacos

Dominguez tells me he went online, put puffy tacos in YouTube and checked out different recipes people were trying. Then he started testing different variations. He said he tried recipes that added baking powered to the raw masa used in making puffy tacos and he tried recipes that left it out. He tried different frying temperatures and different frying times. He says he even drove to San Antonio to try puffy tacos at Henry's and a few other places.

He came back to Dallas with pictures and a few more ideas. And now there's a menu placard on the tables in his restaurant offering San Antonio style puffy tacos with rice and beans for $8.25.

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Tupinamba's San Antonio style puffed taco doesn't snap apart, but an order purchased recently split open at the bottom.
Dominguez told me the most important part of the puff taco process is the thickness of the pressed masa and how long you fry it. He's right. While he'd been testing puffy tacos in his kitchen, I was testing them in mine. I used the recipe in Robb Walsh's Tex-Mex Cookbook, filled a saucepan with oil and proceeded to make my house smell like a fast food stand while frying taco after taco.

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You must work quickly to make the perfect puffy taco at home.
After slipping the masa into the hot oil it quickly puffs up, just like the softball shaped puffy tacos you can get at Tupinamba if you order their original style, or at Ojeda's or other Tex-Mex restaurants around Dallas. At this point, you have to flip the thing over, crimp it with a spoon, and hold it in a sort-of-taco-shape while the shell firms up a bit and becomes golden brown.

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Hold still, taco!
If you fry a puffy taco too long, or in oil that's too hot, it becomes too crisp. It will still be puffy, but your first bite will cause a fissure if you're lucky, but more likely a taco explosion that leaves you eating the rest of your homemade delicacy with a fork. At that point you're better off going out for puffy tacos. And your house won't smell like the state fair.

If you pull the shell from the oil a little earlier, though, it maintains a pliable consistency that gives under light pressure, while the exterior of the shell is crisp and almost flaky. The result is a taco you can eat in entirety with your hands -- no forks required.

Location Info

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Eddie Dominguez's Tupinamba

12270 Inwood, Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

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19 comments
Alexander Winchester
Alexander Winchester

HELL Pulidos in Hurst has had puffy tacos for almost a decade now, and I know there are other places that have too. Observers foodie person is donkey.

Chris Edwards
Chris Edwards

this is the BEST way to make homemade tacos!

Coleman Chance
Coleman Chance

This "puffy tacos are a trend" thing you guys are pushing seems a little contrived, considering several great restaurants in Dallas have had them for years.

David Hernandez Jr
David Hernandez Jr

They're big in San Antonio, so it's about time. Can't wait for it to be bastardized by every restaurant in uptown.

eekmustang
eekmustang

It's not impossible to find in Dallas - just go to El Fenix, they have them.

Rich Lopez
Rich Lopez

Trend? Really? Been eating those for years and most recently at chains like Posado's. #daylate

Alejandro Monjaras
Alejandro Monjaras

Weird I don't know how the Dallas Observer got on my page but we've had these puffy tacos in Tampa, FL for a while now.

Rikki Rincón
Rikki Rincón

Thank you James, this is nothing new, been in Dallas for decades

James Day
James Day

Tupinamba`s has had them for years.

dawatx
dawatx

You guys are just too young. Puff tacos were all the rage 30 years ago when North Dallas was discovering 'unknown' restaurants like Herrera's and Ojeda's. They were impossible to eat. My mother used to fold the whole taco in a soft, warm tortilla to contain the mess. Now it's hard to find soft corn tortillas in Dallas, you have to ask for them and when the warm leathery discs are brought to your table you wonder why you did.

roadsidecouch
roadsidecouch

I love to eat my wife's puffy taco when she isn't looking.

huskers716
huskers716

Tipico's near Bachman Lake has great San Antonio style puffy tacos, they also have a location in Carrolton on Valley View

Lori Lynn Jackson
Lori Lynn Jackson

There used to be this great place called Caro's in Ft Worth that had amazing puffy tacos. Sadly, they closed down a couple years ago.

Sue Mason
Sue Mason

San Antonio has the BEST puffy tacos

Mervis
Mervis

But the place that replaced them was supposed to still have the puffy tacos.

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