Photo by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Achiote-Marinated Shrimp Tacos

Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 4 servings

Crispy corn tortillas, marinated shrimp, crunchy cabbage and creamy guacamole, a quick meal to prepare on any night of the week. My husband Richard is always commenting on how he has never experienced so many foods and flavors until he met me. My spice cupboard houses at least 30 different spices, and I pretty much use them all, in one recipe or another, at least once a week. When I was teaching cooking classes, I was always surprised on how little knowledge people really had about incorporating spices into their dishes. This recipe contains 3 of my favorite spices: oregano, smoked paprika and cumin.


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  1. In a blender, combine all of the ingredients for achiote (annatto) marinade. Blend on high until smooth, taste for salt. Pour into heavy plastic storage bag, add the shrimp and chill for 1 hour.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for cabbage, stir well, taste for salt, cover and chill until ready to use.
  3. After and hour, remove the shrimp from refrigerator and drain off excess marinade. Preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium/high heat for 2 minutes, add the shrimp to the hot oil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring quickly to make sure shrimp cooks evenly. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Preheat a large griddle pan or nonstick skillet to medium/high heat for 3 minutes. Brush one side of corn tortillas with oil. Place on hot griddle or pan and cook for 1 minute. Fill each tortilla one one half with shrimp. Fold over tortilla to make a taco and continue cooking, turning as needed, until both sides of taco are slightly crispy and browned. Remove from hot pan and transfer to serving dish. Add the cabbage and guacamole before serving.
  5. Note: It is very important that you do not overcrowd your pan with shrimp, otherwise it will start to steam and it will not cook up as well. Make sure the shrimp is not frozen when you add the marinade.
  6. Prepping for my achiote (annatto) citrus marinade…
  7. I absolutely love the bright red color of the annatto!
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