Spicy shrimp tacos with cabbage slaw


Spicy Shrimp Tacos

Recipe Rewind February 26, 2014: While eating our way through Nashville this weekend, we stopped by a little home goods shop in Franklin where I gawked over the cutest recipe card box ever. Then I came back down to earth and remembered that I don’t need (another) physical recipe card box – I have a food blog that’s super handy for storing all my favorite recipes! I keep forgetting that fact. There are many recipes posted on Snixy Kitchen that I regularly refer to (like these gluten-free brownieschili stuffed peppers, and crispy tofu with mushrooms), but mostly what happens when I’m figuring out what’s for dinner I simply forget I’ve got my own personal recipe box stored online. So on this mission to re-photograph my recipes from the beginning of Snixy Kitchen, we’re meal-planning from my archives. Flipping through my digital recipe box. And what a treat it is.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos

After reviving Dad’s simple spicy green beans, our second stop on the Snixy Kitchen Recipe Rewind is this spicy shrimp tacos with cabbage slaw recipe. For this remake, we remembered how super-duper spicy these tacos were. Like my-mouth-is-on-fire-and-I’m-now-crying-from-the-heat spicy. For me, anyway – I’m a spice wuss. Accordingly, we adjusted my original recipe by cutting the cayenne and serrano chile, and adding an apple to the slaw. This time, to make the recipe gluten-free, we used corn tortillas. The last change I made was the cheese. Typically, when we buy cotija cheese, we end up buying an enormous wheel…that we never finish before it goes bad. Ricotta salata cheese is a similar sharp crumbly cheese, and I prefer its flavor and smaller packages. We’ll certainly keep this rewind in the recipe rotation.

Spicy Shrimp TacosOriginal post from January 3, 2012:

Christmas 2011 was the year of kitchen gifts. We have the world’s smallest kitchen (seriously, it’s smaller than our bathroom – we have one cabinet), but everyone knows that contributing to my kitchen accessories is always the best bet. And our kitchen is bursting at its seams already. Even Lucas got his own collection of cooking gizmos, including cookbook The Homesick Texan to bring him back to his Texan roots (and perhaps subtly hint that he should make dinner too:). This cookbook is perfect for him because now we have recipes for the familiar flavors he grew up with. And look at those fish tacos on the cover – how can you resist?

Unfortunately, we wanted to cook these tacos on a night that the seafood market was closed (where do people who don’t have a seafood market on their street corner buy fresh fish?). I also didn’t have hours to marinate the fish. So, I adapted her spicy cabbage slaw and used some shrimp we had on hand, seasoned on the fly.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos

This spicy slaw is the first crossroad in my culinary blogging where I must explain my war against cilantro. Cilantro is my nemesis. If even a tiny piece of cilantro lands in my food, the dish is ruined; my mouth fills with the overwhelming taste of soapsuds. I’m not waging this battle on my own either – The NY Times posted an article in 2010 that explained this sensation experienced by cilantrophobes around the world. Needless to say, I eliminated cilantro when adapting this recipe. Despite the missing element, Lucas loved the slaw so much that he ate it on a quesadilla the next day (and by the spoonful when he ran out of tortillas).

Photo Comparison: In the spirit of learning, here’s a before and after shot from the original post in January 2012 to today’s recipe rewind two years later. We shot the original at night with overhead light on our coffee table with a point-and-shoot. We reshot this recipe with a Canon 5d Mark II with a 50mm f/1.4 lens. A little styling and lighting in the new photo totally out fiestas the original. 

Spicy Shrimp Tacos

January 2012                                                       February 2014

Spicy shrimp tacos
Yields: 12-14 tacos, 4-5 servings
  • About 1½ pounds raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (If using thawed frozen shrimp, be sure they are uncooked)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, pressed
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12-15  corn tortillas
  • Crumbled cotija or ricotta salata cheese
  • 1 lime
  • Spicy cabbage slaw (recipe below)
  1. In a cast-iron skillet, sauté shrimp with ginger, cumin, chile powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, water, salt, and pepper until just cooked - when they turn pink. Set aside.
  2. Heat tortillas in medium skillet for about 30 seconds on each side. Set aside and cover. Repeat with all tortillas.
  3. Divide the shrimp among the tortillas and top with a handful of spicy cabbage slaw and some crumbled cheese. Squeeze lime juice inside and serve.

Spicy cabbage slaw
  • Spicy cabbage slaw (Adapted from The Homesick Texan)
  • 1 small head of purple cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ serrano chile, seeds/ribs removed and diced (add the whole chile for super spicy slaw)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise
  • 1 granny smith apple, julienned or shredded
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste
  1. Toss the shredded cabbage with salt and let it sit unrefrigerated for an hour.
  2. After an hour, drain off the excess liquid and mix the cabbage with the serrano chile, cumin, mayonnaise, apple, and lime juice.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate until serving.

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  1. These look awesome! I love red cabbage slaw with my tacos – and the more spice the better. Great recipe, thanks for sharing!

  2. Isn’t it so much fun looking back and old recipes, cringing at the photos, and then getting to re-shoot them with our awesome new photography skills?! It’ my favorite thing to do when I’m feeling down about my photography… look back and see how much improvement has been made. These tacos look amazing! I am 100% definitely making this soon. Pinned :)

    • SnixyKitchen says:

      It definitely feels better to see the progress in this way – especially when I’m having a day where I feel like I barely know how to hold my camera. Learning – learning – learning!

  3. Sheri says:

    So simple, yet amazingly flavorful!

  4. These look DE-licious, Snix. Love the red cabbage, too. xo

  5. Veronica says:

    We love fish tacos! The photos are beautiful! Thank you for the recipe

  6. Robin says:

    Thank You for all these wonderful recipes all in one place!! I plan on trying a lot of them!

  7. Teralovesdarkchocolate says:

    Love love love your website. Can’t wait to try all of your recipes. I am soon to be your Bay area neighbor. You have inspired my creative cooking vibe. Have followed you on each and every social network.

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