Spicy Prawn Tacos

May 16th, 2012  |  Family Dinner, Favorites, From the Sea  |  0 Comments

I remember sitting at a table at Chili’s in college with my boyfriend at the time and his BFF.  When I first starting dating this guy, he made fun of me constantly.  I didn't care at the time because he was by far the coolest guy at Baylor—he had not one, but multiple tattoos-GASP!  I’d take all the abuse in the world just to have his barbwire tattooed arm on mine.  I vividly remember that day at Chili’s as I sat in silence eating some who-knows-what deliciousness, he turned to me chidingly and said “What, Chaddock?  Why are you so quiet?  Busy trying to figure out how you are going to make that at home? “  A wave of heat came over me.  Of all the things there were to make fun of me about, why did he have to choose THAT?   “NO!” I recanted sharply.  But the truth is, I was.  It’s what I do.  It’s what I’ve always done.  He made me feel stupid about something I was passionate about and that was almost the end of our relationship.  He was lucky his buddy was sitting at the table with us--that's all I have to say.

Flash forward [years and years] and I still do it---ANY time I have something delicious somewhere, I make a note to go home and try to make it….. My husband loves it about me.  If he has something good at a restaurant, he’ll have me taste it to see if I can try making it at home.  And that’s what happened with these shrimp tacos.  There’s a great quick-serve “fish taco” restaurant down the street that we frequent and while their fish tacos need much improvement, their carne asada and shrimp tacos are the best in town.  My husband has requested these shrimp tacos for months, and I finally got to it.  He stuffed a bite into his mouth.  He moaned.  He stuffed another bite into his mouth.  He groaned.  He barely came up for air on that first taco.  I caught him before he started in on the second one “Do you like them?” [I knew the answer but I just wanted to hear him say it] “These are ridiculous.  Waaaaaay better than Baja!”.  Mission accomplished and {more importantly} appreciated.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos

Serves about 3


½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 lb uncooked shrimp [I used colossal shrimp, but any size will work]
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
flour tortillas
Feta or Cotija cheese
Lime wedges, for serving

1 avocado, diced
1 small tomato, seeds removed and diced
2 tablespoons red onion, diced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
juice of ½ of a lime

lime cream
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon milk
zest and juice of ½ of a lime


Mix first five ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.   Peel, devein and remove the tails from shrimp.  Sprinkle spice mixture over shrimp, mixing to evenly coat.

To make the lime cream, whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.  <I forgot to take a picture of the cream! oh drat!>

To make the avocado-pico, mix together all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat olive oil until hot.  Add shrimp and allow to sear, then flip them over to sear the other side.  Keep a watchful eye on your shrimp as they can overcook quickly.  I cooked my colossal shrimp for about 4 minutes total, but if your shrimp are smaller, they will cook faster.  Shrimp are done when they are pink on both sides and centers appear white, with no translucency.

On a griddle set over high heat, lightly toast the flour tortillas.

Pile tortillas high with shrimp, avocado-pico, a drizzle of lime cream and Feta [or Cotija] cheese.  Serve with lime wedges and give it a splash before devouring.

It’s been 8 years today since my old {boy}friend passed away in a motorcycle accident.   I’ll fondly remember him for his quick wit and sharp [sometimes mean] sense of humor, even when it was at my expense.  He found a way with me, to never be forgotten.  Every time I go home to make a copycat recipe, I’ll remember the day he called me out.  An older, more confident me would love to tell him “Yeah, so what?  My chicken enchilada soup is going to rock this Chili’s version”.  RIP Steven.


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