Tacos al pastor

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Tacos al pastor is one of the most iconic dishes of Mexico City, and is traditionally cooked on a vertical spit by skilled taqueros. This recipe from Nud Dudhia replicates the smoky flavour by cooking marinated pork steaks directly on the barbecue, which are then chopped up and served in warm tortillas with a fresh salsa, slivers of pineapple and minced onion.

See more recipes inspired by Mexico City and read about what Nud discovered during his time in the Mexican capital here.

First published in 2019

Pastor is the definitive Mexico City taco. This technique of grilling layered, marinated meat on a vertical spit was introduced to Mexico by immigrating Lebanese textile workers in the 1950s, in the form of lamb shawarma. Soon enough, Mexicans replaced the scarcely available lamb with marinated pork and taco al pastor was born.

This recipe makes a little more marinade than you need, but it will last up to a week in the fridge and is fantastic on chicken, fish or even potatoes.





Salsa taquero

To assemble


  • Barbecue
  • Blender


To prepare the marinade, remove the stems from the chillies and tear each chilli open. Shake out and discard the seeds, then tear the chillies into small pieces and set aside
Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the cinnamon, clove, peppercorns, oregano and cumin seeds. Toast for 15 seconds until fragrant, then transfer to a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder
In the same pan, toast the torn chillies for 30 seconds until they start to smoke. Transfer to a bowl, cover with hot water and leave to soak for 20 minutes until soft and pliable
Add the unpeeled garlic cloves to the pan and toast until they begin to char and have softened slightly (about 8 minutes). Remove from the heat and leave until cool enough to handle, then peel and discard the skins
Drain the chillies and place them in a blender with the ground spices, garlic cloves, vinegar, achiote and orange juice. Blitz to a puree, then massage the mixture into the pork steaks. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight to marinate
The next day, light a barbecue and wait for the coals to turn white
To make the salsa, place all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Set aside until ready to serve
Grill the pork steaks until almost blackened on one side, then flip – you want the meat to be very charred. After 3–5 minutes the pork will be cooked and you can set it aside to rest
Meanwhile, warm the tortillas in a dry pan until soft and place inside a damp tea towel to keep warm
To serve, slice the pork steaks against the grain into small pieces, then place in a bowl and pour over any resting juices. Assemble the tacos by placing a large spoonful of meat in a tortilla, followed by a dollop of salsa, a sliver of pineapple and the onion and coriander. Squeeze over a little lime juice and enjoy

Nud’s journey began in a makeshift taco shack in a car park in Hackney, where he set up Breddos Tacos with his business partner Chris Whitney.

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