Puffy Tacos with Picadillo or Rajas Poblano con Crema

 You didn’t think I would spend time with Diana all week and not give you her famous puffy taco recipe did you?  I love y’all, of course I wanted to feature this signature recipe, first for all for those who just can’t jump in the car- drive to Texas to enjoy Los Barrios  and secondly I have been craving these bad boys since I started this week long feature.  Need a filling for these crispy shells,  look not further I leave you with a great picadillo and a spicy rajas de poblano.  In her throw down with Bobby Flay Diana suggests that using fresh dough makes for the best puffy taco and I totally agree.  The recipe calls for masa mix, but realizing that I live in Edinburg, Texas.  I decided to take it a step further.

Yesterday morning I drove to one of my favorite bakeries and asked for freshly ground masa.  The girl working said she only had fresh masa prepared for tamales, but if I was willing to wait they would grind up a  fresh batch for me.  Of course I willingly waited and  I must givea shout out to Maria Elena for being so considerate very early in the morning. ( she had worked overnight baking.)  If you do not have a tortilla press don’t feel like you cannot make these taco, simply follow the recipe using a plastic bag then use a heavy skillet or cast iron  pan to press out your fresh masa.

I tested both methods and the cast iron worked perfect.  The rajas can also be a great combo with tostadas, used as a dip or over another meat filling of your choice. I end this week with sending Thanks to Diana for taking time out of her busy schedule to spend a little time with me in the kitchen.  I hope you enjoyed this week of great recipes and I wish you luck in the giveaway.  In my last installment of my interview I ask Diana about her love of Texas and being a Hispanic.   Have a great weekend. Enjoy!! Sweet Life

Los Barrios

In case you missed parts of this great interview  I leave you the links,  part 1  part2  part 3  part 4

Sweet Life-  What does Texas mean to you?  How has being a Hispanic raised in America helped you become the strong women you are today?

Diana-  Texas is a combination of many cultures that have been a apart of creating the cuisine we know as Tex-Mex.  There were influences from the Spanish, the French, the Native Americans and the original Vaqueros.  They took whatever ingredients they had available and created the dishes we know and love today. 

I feel blessed to be Hispanic born in the greatest country in the World.  I believe I was given the best of both Worlds…I learned the traditional Mexican customs and values as we were brought up.  We were taught to be bilingual and bi cultural.  This has opened many doors for my siblings and me.  All three of us have represented  our respected fields in one one or another because of this. 




Los Barrios Family Cookbook

serves 6 to 8

2 pounds ground beef

3 cups warm water

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 onion, diced

2 tomatoes, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 cook the meat in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring to break up any lumps.  Cook for 7 to 8 minutes until browned.  Drain off any fat.  Stir in 1 cup of water, the cumin, garlic powder, salt, and peepr and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.

2  add the onion, tomatoes, and bell pepper and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the remaining 2 cups water and simmer for 8 minutes.


Rajas Poblano en Crema

Los Barrios Family Cookbook

serves 4

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 garlic clove

1 onion, sliced

6 poblanos chiles, roasted, seeded, and cut into strips

3 1/2 cups diced mozzarella cheese

2 cups half-and-half

1 heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat.  add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.  remove and discard the garlic, and reduce the heat to medium-high.  add the onion and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.  add the chiles and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

2. add the cheese, reduce the heat to medium, and stir in the half-and-half.  cook stirring until cheese has melted.  serve immediately.


Puffy Tacos

Los Barrios

serves 12-15 tacos

3 cups corn masa mix

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 1/4 cups warm water

vegetable oil for frying

1 combine the masa mix, salt, warm water in a large bowl and mix until a smooth dough forms.  pull off  pieces of dough and roll them into balls about the size of a ping-pong ball.

2 cut a quart-size resealable plastic bag open down both sides, to form a rectangle.  use the bag to line a tortilla press as you shape the tortillas, so they do not stick; lay one side of the plastic over the bottom of the press, place a ball of dough in the center, and fold the other side of the plastic over the dough.  shut the top of the tortilla press firmly down on the dough to shape tortilla.

3. meanwhile pour 2 inches of vegetable oil into a large deep pot and heat to 350 degrees.

4 drop a tortilla into the hot oil and using a metal spatula, repeatedly douse the tortilla with the hot oil until it begins to puff up.  flip it over and, using the spatula, make an indentation in the center of the tortilla to form a taco shape.  transfer to paper towels to drain.  repeat with the remaining tortillas. (caution; be very careful when making these, make sure there is proper ventilation, and do not allow the oil to get too hot.)

***pic of diana and bobby flay throwdown from Los Barrios website!****



  1. says

    Hi ya sweetlife. Would you mind if I use your picadillo recipe for a post I plan to do about making a crunchy taco supreme? Mind if I link it back to your post too?

    I’ve got the low down 36% beef taco blues that needs some fixin.

    Cheers! Scott

  2. says

    Oh my goodness, this just sounds amazing. I will be getting my fryer out for this one. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful recipes. You have me inspired!

  3. says

    Whoa! Where the heck have I been…I’m looking back and I missed a sh*tload of fabulous here!! Sheesh…I’m gonna set aside some time later to read everything I’ve missed. I don’t know Diana Barrios, so I’m looking forward to the whole interview. Awesome puffy tacos. Ah!

  4. says

    I’m not always a huge fan of tacos and I think it’s because of the crispy taco shells. These puffy tacos, though, these I could get behind.

  5. says

    WOW! The photos of your puffy tacos make me want to jump through my computer screen and woof these babies down (and I’ve already eaten!) I loooooveeeeee tacos puffy tacos, but I’m very intimidated ! Thank you for the inspiration!

  6. says

    These interview posts have been neat to follow. I can understand the pride in being a part of many cultures, since I live in Toronto and am a minority myself–its so fun to see how each culture can produce so many interesting and delicious dishes–like these puffy tacos! I like the look of these.

  7. says

    Hi Bonnie,
    I’ve never had puffy tacos…. Mmmm…. it looks like one of those beautiful heavenly gifts. I wonder if I can buy Masa in my small Canadian city? If anything I guess I can always go down to North Dakota/Minnesota to get it… lol.
    Wonderful as always and thanks for sharing an amazing and highly memorable series of posts.

  8. says

    I am so glad to have the puffy taco recipe! And I really loved this series with Diana! I loved her on Showdown. She sounds so sweet and down-to-earth and passionate about food.

  9. says

    I can hear the puffy tacos shouting “Eat me! eat me!”. So tempting! After reading your great interview, I wish I will have the opportunity to try out Tex-Mex food one day. 😉

  10. says

    wow – puffy tacos. I love the way you wrote this post also. It’s very engaging and the recipes look awesome. We’re taco fans.

  11. says

    Dear Sweetlife – You are doing us all a great service by celebrating these wonderful family traditions, culinary heritage and American treasures found in the small town across this country.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your series that beautifully presents from scratch, flavorful and honest cooking. What a heartwarming and inspiring story that underlies these amazing foods.

    I am far from being an expert in this cuisine but just looking at your pics of the foods and going down the ingredients lists makes my heart sing :)

    Happy first year blogging, Bonnie!


    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  12. says

    Oooh! Love you for sharing this with us! It looks ethereal…puffy, slightly airy, enough grease to give it that perfect fried taste, but not overly so….mmmm~

  13. says

    I drooled for hours over those puffy tacos when I saw them on the show…and now I’m sitting here doing it. Again. I love that filling! Absolutely amazing.

  14. says

    Texas sounds a lot like Montreal…a great big melting pot of diverse and interesting cultures.
    We enjoy all the great creativity that their kitchens send to our tummies…I love it.
    Now…I’ve never had a puffed taco…hmmm

    Have a great weekend and flavourful wishes,

    • Vianneybonnie says

      @Foodessa… you have never had a puffy taco?? oh well here’s your chance my friend, you will not be disppointed!! HUGs


  15. says

    thanks so much for sharing so much great information, your recipes sound wonderful, and your pictures are beautiful…..being a Texan and Mexican American I can really appreciate everything about this post!
    I do miss the great Mexican food of Texas, I was spoiled with Tex-Mex!

    • Vianneybonnie says

      @Chef Dennis….thanks your truly sweet…Yes we are blessed with having great Tex-Mex, oh yes we are spoiled, my little sis lives in Kansas and she misses her Tex-Mex


  16. says

    Now these are just three great recipes and I cannot wait to taste how they come together. I have not had fresh masa in a long time… always have to use from the bag.
    Tell Diana how greatly we appreciate her recipes and her way of cooking is dear to my heart, as you well know. What she said about Tex-Mex is what makes cookery so fascinating, the melding of diversity.

  17. Vianneybonnie says

    @Dessert For Two Gee thanks girlie, yes 350, will change the recipe..enjoy them ..they are killer


  18. Lazaro says

    Love the puffy taco. I cannot agree with you more on feeling proud of being Hispanic and bilingual.

    Wonderful post.

  19. says

    Ok, I have told my California cowboy for months about Tex-Mex puffy tacos, but have not yet made them for him. Tonight’s the night! Thanks for the reminder.

    Your extended interview posts have been fabulous-I really enjoy ’em. :)


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