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Costa Rican Tacos Ticos


Oftentimes people think of taking an ingredient, like a potato or piece of meat, and frying it. This recipe, from Sandra A. Gutierrez' Latin American Street Food, takes an entire dish and fries it. These tacos ticos resemble taquitos, but as you can see, the best part of enjoying them are the toppings. 

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* For the cooked meat, simply boil a 1-pound piece of beef roast or flank steak in salted water until it’s cooked through. Cool and shred. Shredded rotisserie chicken works well, too.


  • 5 Cups shredded cabbage
  • 2 1/2 Cups cooked and shredded beef*
  • Mayonnaise, for serving
  • 12 warmed corn tortillas
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Mustard, for serving
  • Ketchup, for serving
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon salt


Place the cabbage in a large bowl and add enough boiling water to cover. Let it sit for exactly 1 minute. Drain the cabbage well and return it to the bowl. Add the salt, stir, and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or until cool. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.

Working with 1 tortilla at a time, place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the shredded beef on 1 end of it and roll it up tightly, like a cigar (it has to be tight or the beef will escape when the tacos are fried). Tie it snuggly with a piece of twine and set aside. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.

Fit a large baking pan with a metal cooling rack and set aside. In a large skillet with high sides, heat 1 to 2 inches of oil to 360 degrees (or use a deep-fryer according to the manufacturer’s directions). Working in batches, use tongs to place the tacos in the oil. Fry them until golden, about 3 to 3 ½ minutes, turning them over halfway through. Transfer them to the prepared rack to drain.

To plate, place 2 tacos on a plate, top with a generous amount of the cabbage, and drizzle with the condiments. Serve immediately.