The Edible Bracket 2011

Last year's winners of the MNCAAPG Best Bracket contest are back. This March Madness season, we will be documenting foods associated with the competing schools. Consider it March Madness, Top Chef Edition.

UCLA Bruins (Los Angeles, CA): Chicken Tacos


When Anna and guest chef Jon visited Los Angeles a few summers ago they had big plans to sample the diversity of food that Los Angeles is known for.  So on their first night in the city, they tried a variety of delicious tacos from a taco truck.  And on their second night…they sampled a variety of delicious tacos from that same taco truck.  After years of trying to argue that the Mexican food on the East Coast is just as good as the Mexican food on the West Coast, one little taco truck proved them wrong.  So it was only fitting that we made tacos—nowhere near as good as those in Los Angeles, mind you—to honor the Bruins.

Some may argue that a true Los Angeles taco should be made with pork or beef.  But we like to think that the preparation of these tacos, in a Korean-inspired sauce, is a nod to one of the other big immigrant communities in L.A.

Chicken Tacos with Korean BBQ Sauce

Korean BBQ chicken*
Chopped cabbage
Sour cream
Chopped cilantro
Pickled red onions**
Corn tortillas

Layer ingredients onto tortillas.

*Dak Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Chicken)

adapted from Closet Cooking

1 lb. or so boneless chicken breast

5 cloves garlic

1-2 inches Ginger, chopped

1 small red onion

1 pear

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 to 1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. sesame oil

1/2 cup gochujang (Jon says: I didn’t have this — this is a Korean spicy sauce — so I combined about 1/2 tsp. ancho chile, 1/2 tsp. Chinese five spice, 1/2 tsp. chipotle pepper, and a dash and a half of red cayenne pepper — spicy!)

Put all but chicken in food processor and liquify. Place thinly sliced chicken in marinade for at least an hour. Sauté, chop.

**Pickled Red Onions

adapted from David Lebovitz

3/4 cup white vinegar

3 tbsps. sugar

pinch of salt

bay leaf

5 whole cloves

large red onion, sliced into rings
1. Heat first 5 ingredients in saucepan until liquid is boiling.

2. Add onion slices and simmer for about a minute.  Remove pot from heat.

3. Let mixture cool.

4. When liquid has cooled, transfer onions into glass jar and refrigerate.