Tacos al Pastor with Pineapple & Smoky Ancho Chilli Salsa


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves:


Appears in

My Street Food Kitchen

My Street Food Kitchen

By Jennifer Joyce

Published 2015

  • About

In Mexico, street stalls sell these orange-hued pork tacos, slicing the meat off rotating spits. The pork is marinated in achiote (annatto seed paste), pineapple and chilli, giving it the distinct colour and taste. This version doesn’t attempt to use a spit but instead does include an ancho chilli and pineapple salsa to produce a close riff on the original. If you haven’t made a dried chilli sauce before, I urge you to give it a go. Reconstituted chillies, blackened garlic and onion are puréed with apple cider vinegar and sugar to supply the perfect smoky tang.

Preparation: 15 Minutes, Plus 30 Minutes Soaking
Cooking: 15 Minutes


  • 2 pork fillets, about 450 g (1 lb) each, sinew removed, cut into 2 cm (¾ inch) slices
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small pineapple, peeled, cored, finely chopped
  • 1 red or white onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped
  • flour or corn tortillas, warm, to serve
  • lime wedges, to serve

Smoky ancho chilli salsa

  • 5 dried ancho chillies
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) boiling water
  • 2 onions, thickly sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • tablespoons chipotle paste or chipotles in adobo
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons soft brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt


To make the salsa, remove the stems and seeds from the dried chillies. Put the chillies in a heatproof bowl, add the boiling water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) of the water.

Meanwhile, put the onion and garlic in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat and dry-fry, shaking the pan frequently, for 10 minutes until blackened. Remove from the pan and, when cool enough to handle, peel the garlic. Put all of the ingredients in a blender with the reserved water and purée until smooth. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. Transfer to a small airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Preheat a barbecue or chargrill pan to medium. Toss the pork slices with 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) of the salsa, then drizzle with the vegetable oil. Cook the pork slices for 2 minutes on each side or until just cooked through. Chop into smaller pieces.

Put the pineapple, onion and coriander in a bowl and toss to combine. Serve the pork with warm tortillas, lime wedges, the remaining salsa and the pineapple salad.