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Shrimp Tacos with Homemade Flour Tortillas

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While perusing through the Sweet Basil Cookbook this weekend during my meal planning, I came across a comment by the cookbook’s author Dave Becker, that read something to the effect of “why would you buy flour tortillas when they are so easy to make at home.”  Before this moment, the thought of making tortillas at home had never crossed my mind, but when I read the recipe that Dave included in his book, it did indeed seem extremely easy, so I decided to give it a shot.

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As the cookbook promised, the process was extremely easy and I love the way that the flour tortillas turned out.

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They definitely weren’t like the tortillas you find in a package – they were a bit doughier and crisper thanks to the light fry they get in canola oil – but I actually preferred them!  Sometimes the tortillas you get in the package are just bland (even the best authentic ones you can find), these had flavor and texture.  But if you aren’t in the mood to deal with this extra step (it probably added an additional 10-15 minutes to the entire cooking time), absolutely feel free to sub in your favorite flour or corn tortillas in the recipe.  The other components of the tacos were just as tasty, and I wouldn’t want you missing out!

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Not only are the flavors of these tacos superb, but the textures and colors are great too.  You have a slight crunch thanks to a pan fried, panko crusted shrimp, a beautiful purple color from the cabbage and a nice creamy finish with the chipotle mayo and avocado.

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Overall, this dish is easy enough to make on a weeknight, but special enough that you could serve it for Sunday dinner too!  Enjoy!

Shrimp Tacos with Homemade Flour Tortillas (Tortilla recipe from Sweet Basil Cookbook) – Serves 4

Flour Tortillas:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the tortillas
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shorting
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • Approx. 1/2 cup water, plus more if needed
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying

Directions:

Making tortillas is actually pretty similar to making pie dough, except there is a lot less fat in tortillas.  While you can use a pastry cutter or fork to break up with shortening, I find the a food processor is the easiest and best tool for making dough.

Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and mix to combine.  Add the shortening and pulse 8-10 times until the shortening has broken down and is approximately the size of peas.  With the machine running, pour in the water through the feed tube and pulse until the dough forms a ball.  Pour the ball onto a floured surface and cut into 14-16 pieces.

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Then, using a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough into rounds that are approximately 6 inches in diameter.

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When you are ready to cook the tortillas, pour about a 1/2 cup of vegetable oil into a pan and turn to medium – high heat.  Fry each tortilla for about 30 seconds to a minute on each side until lightly browned and puffed.

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Serve with your favorite taco ingredients or as the base for my shrimp taco recipe below!

Shrimp Tacos:

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs to 2 lbs shrimp, pealed and deveined
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup yogurt, separated
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, minced
  • 3 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 2 serrano or jalapeno peppers, minced
  • 2 TB butter
  • 1 TB vegetable oil
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying
  • S+P to taste
  • 1 Avocado, sliced
  • Lime wedges

Directions:

In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter and 1 TB of vegetable oil together.  Add the serrano or jalapeno and sautee for one minute.  Add the shredded carrots and cabbage.  Stir to coat the carrots and cabbage with the fat.  Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the cabbage and carrots have softened slightly, but is still have a slight bite.  Set aside and allow to cool.

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Meanwhile, pour enough vegetable oil into a large sized frying pan so that it there is about 1/2 inch coating.  Heat over medium high heat until the vegetable oil is hot enough that when you place a piece of panko in it, it sizzles and forms small bubbles around the panko.

While the vegetable oil is coming up to temperature, it is time to coat the shrimp.  For my “wet coat,” I used a mixture of yogurt (1/2 cup) and water (1/4 cup).  Traditionally, fried shrimp tacos use buttermilk for the wet coating, but I didn’t want to buy an entire carton of buttermilk for this one purpose.  The yogurt and water combo made a great substitute.  Whisk the yogurt and water together in a shallow bowl and season with 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper.  In a separate shallow bowl, add the panko.  Now it is time to coat the shrimp.

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First, place the pealed and deveined shrimp into the yogurt, water mixture and allow any excess coating to drip off.  Then place it in the panko for an even coating.  Place the shrimp into the hot oil and cook for 1-2 minutes per side until the shrimp are crispy and have curled up.  You want to make sure that you aren’t over crowding the pan, and thus lowering the cooking temperature, so make sure to cook the shrimp in batches.  After each batch, place the cooked shrimp on a paper towel lined plate to absorb the excess oil.  Place the cooked shrimp in a 250 degree oven while you cook the remaining batches to keep the shrimp warm.

The last step of the process is slicing the avocados and making the chipotle mayo sauce.  To make the sauce, simply combine 1/4 mayo with 1/4 cup yogurt and stir in the chopped chipotle with adobo.  If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can use all mayo, but I prefer the tang that comes with a bit of yogurt!

The last part of the process, is putting everything together.  Place a flour tortilla on a plate, add 3-4 shrimp and top with 1/4 cup of the cabbage mixture.  Then top with avocado slices, the creamy and spicy sauce and sprinkle with fresh lime juice.  Serve with more lime wedges, a garnish of cilantro and hot sauce!

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4 Responses to Shrimp Tacos with Homemade Flour Tortillas

  1. Wow Jessie I am impressed. Question: the flour tortillas you made look like roti bread from Flat Top! Do they taste a little like that, or just like a normal flour tortilla?

    • Actually taste wise, they do taste a bit like that! Texture wise they aren’t as doughy tho! I would say that the taste is somewhere between roti bread from Flat Top and a normal tortilla!

  2. Your description about them being more doughy and crispy is how I remember my Grandmother making them, and she always made homemade ones, NEVER store bought… hers were also a bit smaller than we are used to seeing. So nice to see how easy they are, I will have to give it a try.

  3. Hmmm, maybe we should make these when you come to Florida next weekend.

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