Grilled Shrimp Tacos

The first thing that strikes me about this photo is that my tortilla isn’t a perfect circle.

The first thing that strikes me about the previous statement is that I need to let some things go. This was a mighty tasty meal. Easy, too.

It’s hard to give hard and fast measurements here. Plan on two large or jumbo shrimp per taco. The tortillas are on the small side, so figure at least two per person, but more like three. And by three I mean four.

We blended a lot of flavors and textures in this dish: spicy, creamy, cool, crunchy, but you don’t have to make the shrimp caliente. Straight up grilled shrimp would be delicious. We started soaking some skewers, then bathed the shrimp for 30 minutes in a mixture of 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 tablespoon water, the juice of half a lime, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, then whisked in 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

Meanwhile, we mixed up 2 cups of finely sliced cabbage, 1 cup julienned jicima, a hearty 1/2 cup of thinly sliced red onion, and a handful of cilantro, ends cut off.

Then, I got this crazy notion that a little tartar sauce would really make me happy. But I didn’t have pickles or pickle relish. However, I did have a jar of pickled jalapenos that is a staple in our house, on account of the nachos. We may run out of milk for the girls on a regular basis, but there are always pickled jalapenos in the house. So I tossed 1 teaspoon of diced pickled jalapenos, 1 teaspoon of the juice from the jar, and 1 teaspoon of minced red onion into 1/4 cup mayonnaise.

Full fat mayonnaise.

I mean: Full fat mayonnaise!

We needed 16 corn tortillas, which we’ve begun to make since they’re easy and crazy delicious homemade. By tortilla number 11, I felt like a one-woman tortilla factory. To keep homemade tortillas soft and warm after you’ve cooked them, just set them in a heated tortilla warmer or glass baking dish and cover them in a paper towel.

Nacho Man fired up the grill while I skewered the shrimp, and after 2-3 minutes of cooking per side, we were ready to assemble: corn tortilla, 2 shrimp, and some slaw and chopped tomatoes. A drizzle of tartar sauce.

And then I decided that these tacos needed just one more thing: some queso fresco, or soft Mexican cheese. It has the texture of feta but is mild and creamy. I find it in all our local supermarkets and it runs about four dollars for a round. You can divide that round into smaller pieces and freeze them for later use.

And here it is:

Fold it over and take chow down.

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

serves 4


1 pound large or jumbo shrimp (at least 32 shrimp), peeled, deveined, and marinated, if desired (see marinade recipe below)

16 corn tortillas

slaw (recipe below)

tartar sauce (recipe below)

2 limes

2 large tomatoes (optional)

Mexican cheese for garnish (optional)


1. Marinate shrimp, if desired.

2. Prepare slaw, tartar sauce, and garnishes.

3. Cook tortillas.

4. Place shrimp on skewers that have been soaked in water. Cook shrimp over grill approximately 2-3 minutes per side, or until shrimp are opaque.

5. Assemble shrimp, slaw, tomatoes, and tartar sauce in tortilla. Sprinkle with Mexican cheese.



1 tablespoon tomato paste

juice of 1/2 lime

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you like it extra spicy)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


1. Mix all ingredients except olive oil in a small bowl.

2. Whisk olive oil into bowl.

3. Pour mixture into a glass dish or quart sized plastic bag and add shrimp.

4. Refrigerate 30 minutes.



2 cups finely sliced cabbage

1 cup julienned jicima

hearty 1/2 cup of thinly sliced red onion

handful of cilantro, ends trimmed


1. Combine ingredients in a medium sized bowl and set aside.

Tartar Sauce


1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon finely chopped red onion

1 teaspoon died pickled jalapenos

1 teaspoon juice from pickled jalapeno jar, or 1 teaspoon vinegar


1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Corn Tortillas (makes 16)


2 cups masa harina

1 1/4-1 1/3 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Combine masa harina, salt, and 1 1/4 cups water in a medium sized bowl.

2. Mix with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms, about 2-3 minutes. If the dough seems dry, add a little more water and stir.

3. Roll the dough into 16 balls. Cover with a damp cloth or paper towel.

4. If you don’t have a tortilla press, roll out each ball between two pieces of wax paper until very thin. The tortilla will be about 5 inches in diameter.

5. Set an ungreased skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat.

6. Carefully peel away the wax paper and cook tortilla for about 50-60 seconds per side.

7. Cover the cooked tortillas in paper towel and set in a warm tortilla warmer or glass baking dish.

1 Comment

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One response to “Grilled Shrimp Tacos

  1. Pingback: Cafe Sua, or, Iced Coffee: Vietnamese Style | The Adventures of Pho Girl and Nacho Man

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