Here’s a simple taco recipe for Baja style fried shrimp tacos. These are very popular throughout the coastal areas of Mexico, and it’s no secret why: they are damn delicious. It happens that this easy shrimp tacos recipe is one of the few authentic Mexican recipes to originate from the Mexican Baja peninsula, and they are one of my favorite contributions this region of Mexico has made to the the rest of the country and the world at large. Even up in Canada and the US, I see Baja’s shrimp taco recipes faithfully replicated in nicer restaurants with the proper ingredients and portions, which is rare for an authentic Mexican recipe served outside the country. But shrimp tacos like this are served all around Baja and throughout the coastal towns that dot the edge of mainland Mexico. If you’re in Mexico and you’re near the ocean, it’s a safe bet that you aren’t far from little kitchens and big restaurants that serve tasty and simple taco recipes like this.
This taco recipe can actually be used with any type of seafood, but using shrimp like in this recipe is one of the most popular variations of it. And just before we begin, I need to emphasize that the “success” of this dish depends on you getting fresh ingredients to work with for this recipe. Everything has to be fresh for this recipe to work. So buy the ingredients right before you intend on preparing and serving these delicious shrimp tacos de Baja to your hungry guests! Alright, here we are:
Ingredients (serves 6):
Shrimp – 1/2 lb (1/4 kg) medium size, and fresh!
Egg – one
Beer – 100 ml of light beer (Corona works well and adds a nice authentic Mexican touch)
Wheat flour – 1 cup
Cooking oil of some kind (olive, soy, canola, vegetable: whatever you prefer to use)
Tortillas – corn tortillas if you can find them, otherwise use whatever you can find. Corn tortillas are what we use down here and they have a more natural flavor to them in my opinion. Get about one pound of these (1/2 kg)
Limes – 6 small ones
Now to dress any Mexican tacos like this, you’re going to want to want to make some salsas and dressings. In Mexico, these tacos are almost always served with the following in a little “salsa bar” on the table:
For the dressing, you can use–as many Mexicans do–thousand islands or ranch salad dressing; or you can make a spicier dressing from scratch by slicing up chipotle chiles and mixing it with mayonnaise.
For the garnish, use:
Romaine lettuce – 3 leaves
Red onion – one
And either coleslaw (1/4 of a ball) or cabbage. Both are used by the restaurants serving these authentic Mexican taco recipes.
Start by making the salsas for this fried shrimp tacos recipe (recipes linked above), along with the dressing and garnish you intend on serving with these tacos. For the garnish, you’re going to use the romaine lettuce, the coleslaw (or cabbage), and the red onion. Thinly shred each of these, put each in its own bowl (or container for easy storage later, if you’re planning on having leftovers) and then with the coleslaw/cabbage, add the juice of a lime and let it rest for about 30 minutes in its bowl with the lime juice on it.
Next, clean the shrimp, remove their shells, and devein them. Make sure you keep these shrimp at room temperature from this point forward because refrigerating them at this point will ruin their flavor for any tacos camarones recipes like this.
Next, make the batter for this simple taco recipe: in a bowl, add 1 cup of wheat flour, 1 egg, and the 100 ml of light beer, and then add salt and pepper to taste. Mix the ingredients well, making sure there are no chunks of flour left, and make sure this batter isn’t too thin or too thick: you want it right in the middle, so if too thin, add a little more wheat flour, and if too thick, add just a little bit more beer, and then mix it all again.
Now, if you have a deep fryer or you have access to one, this would be the time to use it! But since most of us aren’t so lucky, we take a pan, add about 2 cups of cooking oil and bring it to a light boil (just until the bubbles start forming, but not too much more because it will cause the shrimp to burn if it is too hot).
Fry your shrimp one at a time: grab a shrimp by the tail, dip it in your batter so it’s covered all over, and then lower it into the oil for about 30 seconds. Then turn it over and let it cook on the other side until it’s crispy golden, and then remove it to a plate with paper towel covering it, to absorb the excess oil from the shrimp. Repeat this process with each shrimp until all have been cooked. Make sure you don’t burn the shrimp: 30 seconds on each side will likely be plenty, but test your first one out to see if the inside is still a little raw and they need to be cooked a bit more. 30 seconds per side (and so 60, total) is usually perfect for these. Just make sure you don’t leave them unattended because they will almost certainly burn.
Here’s a quick video that demonstrates these last steps of making the batter and frying the shrimp:
Now bring out all of your ingredients and make your authentic Baja shrimp tacos and the rest of the dish: heat up your tortillas, place three or four shrimp in each, add your shredded coleslaw (or cabbage) garnish with some shredded romaine lettuce and red onion, and then about 1/2 spoon of pico de gallo, then your favorite salsa and/or dressing (if you’ve made these, of course, which I highly recommend you do for the authentic Mexican flavor).
Garnish each plate with a cut 1/2 lime, and then enjoy one of the most popular and authentic Baja shrimp taco recipes from the peninsula. Provecho! In the future, I’d like to share another simple taco recipe or two like this one from Mexico, so if you would like that, please click the Facebook “like” button for this recipe, below, and so I’ll know you’d like more taco recipes like this one!