Introduction: Taco Pockets

Picture of Taco Pockets

This is my twist on a traditional Taco/Burrito/Empanada/Chimichanga.  They are basically burritos, but instead of using a flour tortilla, I use egg roll wrappers.  It gives them a nice crunch and a different flavor than a traditional flour tortilla.

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients

There's really only a few key ingredients, and you can obviously tweak the ingredients around if you like, but here's what I use.

-1 lb. Ground Beef (lean is better. I used 90/10 for this batch)
-1 can prepared refried beans
-1 package Egg Roll Wraps, any brand...just make sure you get the big ones, the won ton wrappers are too small
-1 package Shredded Mexican Cheese blend (again, feel free to use any kind of cheese either
pre shredded or not. Shredded is just more convenient)
-1 can El Pato Salsa de Chile Fresco (this is what I use for the Taco meat, but any variety of taco mix will work. Some places don't carry this so use whatever taco mix you like!)
-Vegetable Oil (How much oil you need depends on the type of pan you use.  A deep fryer would work great, as does a wok.  I just used  a regular pan this time)
-Sour Cream
(any variety)
-Spices to taste (Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Cumin...I just use these to season the meat a bit while it is browning. Just don't overpower your taco mix/sauce)

Step 2: Materials...non-food Stuff That You'll Need

Most of these are pretty obvious, but I want to cover all the bases here.

-Frying pan or skillet
-Small pot or saucepan
-plates (one for making the pockets on, and another for draining the oil off after cooking)
-paper towels (to put on one of the plates to drain off the oil)
-large mixing bowl
-2 regular bowls: one for the cheese (explained later) and one with a small amount of water in it (also explained later).
-a pan or wok or deep fryer to cook them in. ( I just cleaned out the meat pan and re-used it)

Step 3: Preparing the Filling...Part 1

Picture of Preparing the Filling...Part 1

The first thing to do is prepare the filling...just like the title of this step might imply.  Start by browning the ground beef.  I always find that it is best to brown the meat slowly over a medium heat, so it doesn't become tough or rubbery.  It may take a bit longer, but it will be worth it in the end.  I like to add a little salt, pepper and garlic powder to the meat while it is browning just to give the meat a little more flavor.

At the same time, start heating up the refried beans.  Make sure to do this over a low to medium heat, as they can burn pretty easily if heated too fast.

Step 4: Preparing the Filling...Part 2. the Sequel

Picture of Preparing the Filling...Part 2.  the Sequel

Drain the beef well, then return to the pan and add the Salsa de Chile (or prepare according to whatever taco mix you are using) and simmer until most of the liquid is cooked off.  Keep stirring the beans over low heat so they don't get dried out.

Step 5: Preparing the Filling...Part 3. the Final Chapter

Picture of Preparing the Filling...Part 3.  the Final Chapter

Once the sauce has cooked down and the meat is ready, combine the meat and the beans in a large mixing bowl (I used to portion them out separately into the wrappers, but this is so much easier) until well mixed. 

Also, at this point, you should prepare everything for filling the wrappers.  I like to put the cheese in a bowl or on a plate...easier than pulling it straight from the bag.  Also, you will need a small bowl with some water (used to seal the wrappers shut)

Step 6: Making the Pockets

Picture of Making the Pockets

Before starting this step, begin heating the oil on the stove.  ALWAYS BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL WHEN COOKING WITH HOT OIL!! I can't stress that enough.  I have been burned by splashing oil and it can be very painful, even dangerous, so please be very careful!

I recommend putting it on around  medium.  It is better to have the oil be a bit lower temperature than to have it too hot.  If the oil is too hot, the wrappers will not cook evenly, they come out crumbly on the outside and chewy on the inside and they will not be as good, guaranteed (personal experience). They could also burn much easier if the oil is too hot.  Ok, now that the oil is heating, let's make some Pockets! 

Place an Egg Roll wrapper on a plate, with one of the points facing towards you.

Put approximately 1 - 2 tablespoons of filling on the wrapper a little less than halfway down, making sure to leave room on the sides.

Place a small amount of cheese (or a large amount, just not too much so it wont close) on top of the filling

Fold the bottom up over the filling, then fold in the sides, making sure to tuck in the edges as best as you can.  If there is any kind of large opening, the cheese may melt out and make a mess in the oil.

Next,  roll the whole thing once, leaving a little point at the top.  Dip your finger in the bowl of water and "paint" the water all over the little triangle tip.

The wrappers come packaged in a rice flour, which helps keep them from sticking.  When water is applied though, it acts a a glue to hold the rolls shut.  Fold over again "glueing" the little triangle to the rest of the wrapper.  You can use more water to seal the edges if you need to. 

Step 7: Cooking Time!

Picture of Cooking Time!

Again, just a simple, yet obvious reminder...Always be very careful when cooking with hot oil!!

Ok, now that the oil has heated (again, don't make it too hot, or the wrappers will come out chewy) gently place the rolls in the pan one at a time trying to avoid splattering any oil!

Let them cook for a few minutes (or until they are lightly browned on the bottom. This may take a little longer if the oil is lower temperature, but that is better than too hot!)

Flip the rolls using tongs or a fork, being careful not to puncture or break the rolls. 

Let them cook for a few more minutes until the bottoms are golden brown.

Step 8: Almost There...

Picture of Almost There...

Pull the rolls out of the oil and place them onto the plate with the paper towels on it to drain. 

Let them drain and cool! They are still full of hot oil!!  Trust me on this one...I accidentally took a bite of one that I thought had been cooling, but it just came out of the oil....2nd degree burns inside my mouth.  Couldn't taste anything for almost 3 weeks.  Ouch.

Also, always make sure to dispose of used oil properly.  Do not pour it down the drain!! This can be not only bad for your pipes, but also bad for the environment!  Some areas will pick up used oil, and some restaurants will even take it to be recycled.  If neither of these is an option, pour the used oil into a coffee can or an empty oil bottle once it is cooled (never pour hot oil into anything!!!).  Use paper towels to wipe out any excess oil from the pan, then go ahead and wash the pan.  The canned or bottled oil can be thrown away in the trash. 

Anyway, after they have cooled a bit and drained, they are ready to serve.

Step 9: Ka-Kow! Ready to Eat!!

Picture of Ka-Kow!  Ready to Eat!!

I like to serve these with a little bit of salsa and sour cream on the side , but you can obviously use whatever you like.  My roommate uses nacho cheese sauce, and I bet homemade guacamole would be pretty good too.  I usually serve these with Vigo brand Yellow saffron rice.  It is a good compliment to the flavors in the Pockets, and it is super easy to make. 

I will post more pics next time I make these, but I got too excited to eat them and forgot to take a finished picture.  : ) 

Well, that's it.  I hope you like these as much as my friends and I do.  Happy Eating!!


maryliz (author)2011-09-10

I'm going to make these soon. They sound SOOOO good !! and I love egg rolls and I love mexican food, so these should wind up on my favorite list.Thanks for posting these.

Weather_blue (author)2010-03-13

Made these for breakfast this morning.  ohgodssogood.  :D  Excellent 'ible, wonderful edible.  I'm very glad there's more of this filling in the fridge...

spraynard (author)Weather_blue2010-03-20

Glad you liked them   : )

thatoneguy101011 (author)2010-02-03

Not to be rude, but wouldn't these be called burritos?

maven (author)thatoneguy1010112010-02-28

Burritos aren't fried.  More likely they are closer to chimichangas (fried burrito) or flautas(what the rest of the world calls taquitoes).

a burrito uses a soft corn or flour tortilla

different places call hard or soft shell tacos 'tacos', whether right or wrong.

I'd call them taco rolls (from the eggroll used). :D

Strype McClaine (author)2010-02-04

I love the idea, but,,,,
This only brings me to question,
At what point would be best to freeze for instant dinners later?

If you froze before the fry, you could get longevity out of it, but then frying frozen....egh.
If you froze after the fry, you could have instant microwave taco-pacco's and put the quick-e-mart to shame

I think that freezing before frying would be best simply because if they are cooked, then frozen, they won't be crispy out of the microwave.  Frying frozen can also be sketchy though.  Try to avoid having any ice crystals on the food you fry, because it can make the oil spatter like crazy!  I would recommend freezing first and frying them later.  If you let them thaw a bit before frying, I think they would turn out just fine.  : )

maven (author)spraynard2010-02-28

I get around this problem with egg rolls by first microwaving until thawed and warm, then putting them into the toaster oven until crisp and brown.

shanefor (author)2010-02-05

Looks delish!  Nice job! Consider this; use ground turkey in place of beef, black bean in place of refried  beans, and bake with an egg white wash.  Nice healthier twist to an all ready great recipe ;)

spraynard (author)shanefor2010-02-06

The only problem with baking them is that I don't know how well the egg roll wrappers would cook in an oven as opposed to frying in oil.  I know it is not the healthiest thing in the world, but they sure are tasty.  :)

saintrojo (author)spraynard2010-02-11

I bake my egg rolls.  Egg wash or a coating of butter helps get the flour off of them.  But nothing really beats the frying.  I would love another alternative to making it tastier

lady4feet (author)spraynard2010-02-06

I bake my egg rolls just because I don't like messing with my fry daddy. Just make sure to brush the wrappers with some oil or butter before baking, if not they get really dry and not tastey.
I'm going to put these on my dinner list I have a few egg roll wrappers left from the last egg roll and won ton dinner.

piaferre (author)2010-02-05

 Those are similar to the "empanadas" we eat here in argentina, exept the spice. ;)

eash (author)2010-02-04

Wow, this sounds amazing. I love "Americanized" Mexican food lol. I have a feeling that these will become my hubby's most requested meal.

If you haven't already seen it, you might like my Taco Ring. It seems like the two recipes should be in the same family.

spraynard (author)eash2010-02-04

I guess technically it would be "Japanesed" Mexican food.  Lol.  Also, I checked out the Taco Ring 'ible.  It looks delicious!  Can't wait to try it!

whitt2 (author)2010-02-04

When cooking with hot oil ALWAYS have a tight fitting LID next to pot or skillet.
If case of fire IMMEDIATELY put the lit on the pot or skillet.
When deep fat or not so deep frying ALWAYS have a lid that will fit tightly next to or on the stove TOP.
If no tight fitting led:  cover inside of lid with alum foil.  Tear large piece or 2 of foil ..put lid on top of foil. Fold the foil back over top  leaving it extending half inch or so all round edge of lid. (leave a longer edge by folding back and pinching foil so it stays on when you pick it up.)

spraynard (author)whitt22010-02-04

Very sound advice.  Thanks whitt!  : )

Creativeman (author)2010-02-04

Excellent instructable!  Looks like a winner to me. Cman

chipf (author)2010-02-04

These are similiar to Empanadas.

l8nite (author)2010-02-03

the egg roll wrappers are a novel and interesting twist, I may just have to try it!  I really hate washing dishes so when Im going to just mix the refried beans into the filling anyway I drop them into the simmering meat mixture

spraynard (author)l8nite2010-02-03

You can obviously do that.  The pan I was using was just a little too small to fit both. 

Rorsach (author)2010-02-02

This is on the menu for next weekend, thanks.
On the point of the temperature of the oil though; shell out for a decent thermometer, it makes all the difference. If the oil is too hot, the taco will burn without heating the inside, but if the oil is too cold, the taco will act like a sponge and absorb too much oil during cooking.

spraynard (author)Rorsach2010-02-02

Let me know how they turn out!

darus67 (author)2010-02-01

Great. Now I'm hungry.
If I were making these I'd add some chopped onion either with the beef as it was browning or stirred into the filling.

Most Mexican restaurants I've been in would call these Chimichangas. Basically a deep fried burrito.

Well written, nice clear pictures, good use of notes in the photos.

One minor glitch: in step 6 your 3rd photo is out of order. It should probably 2nd to last.

spraynard (author)darus672010-02-02

The main difference between these and chimichangas is that I use egg roll wraps which are made with rice flour.  Traditionally, a chimichanga uses a wheat flour based tortilla.   :)

spraynard (author)spraynard2010-02-02

Also, I fixed the photos.  Thanks Darus.   : )

allen (author)darus672010-02-02

I agree with darus67. You've got nothing to apologize for, spraynard.

Nice and clear, useful photos that are in focus, ingredients and equipment. That's more detail then I need but better too much detail then too little.

bFusion (author)2010-02-02

I highly recommend using a cooling rack OVER some paper towels. If you just rest them on as you have them now, the paper soaks up the oil, but then the oil gets soaked back into the rolls making them soggy. If you set them on a cooling rack and let the oil drip down, they will probably end up crispier (and better for you since oil won't be soaked into the crust.

You can always pat them down with paper towel to get rid of residual oil, of course.

Also, these look amazing, I'm gonna have to try them :D

jeff-o (author)2010-02-02

Mmmm, looks great!

ERCBIENG (author)2010-02-02

 This is kinda like my southern dinner shells..good work!

Cat on my Lap (author)2010-02-01

You could link the used oil bit to a biodiesel or soap instructable.

leeski (author)2010-02-01

 yummy.  I have always loved the crunchy taco shells, this takes it one step further and best of all eliminates the broken taco shells....

valhallas_end (author)2010-02-01

These sound pretty tasty.  I had a similar filling in a taco stromboli I used to make, and it was quite excellent in the thicker dough, but my love of eggrolls and eggroll wrappers may top stromboli.  I'll have to try this as soon as I find a good local wrapper...

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