Mon, 20 April, 2020
You were wrong, John - happiness is a warm tortilla. Filled with spicy and fruity prawns, with just a chunk of avocado and a slice of pickled jalapeno.
Tacos are the ultimate fast food, unless of course you produce your own tortillas. I’m not averse to a bit of cooking challenge but somehow making pasta, noodles or tortillas has never taken off with me. Not sure why as a/I bake bread and b/it’s not like I’ve had an abysmal first experience not to be repeated. I have made pasta from scratch and although it was not a resounding success every time, it succeeded on a number of occasions.
I have never become convinced to make my own tortillas probably because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the ones you can buy. You may say that about many things though and it’ll turn out I’ve made them at home from scratch: butter, clotted cream, yoghurt or jams. So perhaps once I’ve tried I’ll get hooked – for now though, Old El Paso will suffice.
Still, however my tortillas are produced, mass or artisan, the filling is what matters most. The art of taco is bastardised all over the world pretty much like pasta and pizza are but Mexicans seem much less uppity about it than Italians are. So I hope my shrimp and apricot filling will pass muster even though dried fruit is probably quite un-Mexican if you think about it.
This recipe is a very simple way of cooking prawns and worth chalking up for non-taco occasions. Fresh shrimp are gorgeous of course, and best de-shelled and de-veined promptly before cooking but as long as they are sourced responsibly, frozen prawns are more sensible and sustainable to use in a dish like this.
Be seasonal about it: if fresh apricots or peaches are available, use them by all means. Or fresh mango, but that will turn it into the boring old classic shrimp with mango. Try dried fruit, it will make the prawns sweeter and the sauce jammier!
prawn tacosServings: 4Time: 15 minutes
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp. groundnut oil
- 400g (about 1pound) raw peeled deveined prawns, thawed if frozen
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 jalapeno chillies, finely chopped
- a handful of soft dried apricots, mango, peaches or a mix, chopped
- juice from 1 lime
- To serve:
- soft corn tortillas
- chopped avocado
- shredded lettuce
- pickled jalapenos
- crema or mayo
1. Grind the cumin seeds with the dried oregano in pestle and mortar.
2. Heat a wok or large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the spiced and toast for a few seconds until fragrant. Add the oil, the prawns, garlic and chilli and stir fry for about 2 minutes until the prawns turn pink.
3. Add the dried fruit pieces, pour in the lime juice and cook down gently so that all the liquid is absorbed. Take off the heat and keep warm.
4. Warm up a stack of tortillas wrapped in aluminium foil in the oven at 200C/400F.
5. To serve, place some lettuce and avocado on a warm tortilla, top with a pile of prawns and add more garnish as desired.