With cabbage slaw, pickled red onion and spicy cilantro-yoghurt sauce these blackened shrimp tacos are great for busy weeknights. The blackened shrimp is so simple and so extremely flavourful, add super simple slaw and wrap them with pre-made or store bought tortilla. Drizzle with cilantro-yoghurt sauce to balance the spicy blackening seasoning
Let’s talk about blackening. At first, I wasn’t sure what’s the difference between blackening, charring or grilling. At a glance blackened and charred food might look pretty similar, both have a crispy black crust and smoky aroma.
Blackening is a cooking technique that commonly used in Cajun cuisine. Both blackening and charring use direct cooking method (while grilling can use direct or indirect cooking method) to get the crispy outer and robust smoky flavour. Blackening food always involves seasoning to rub the food surface before grilling, while charring doesn’t involve seasoning blend.
There is no standard recipe for blackening seasoning, but usually includes paprika, oregano, thyme, peppercorn, garlic powder and onion powder. Besides the basic seasoning blend, I also add a pinch of ground tea leaves. It may sound odd mixing ground tea leaves with blackening seasoning, but trust me it such a clever flavour pairing.
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Blackened Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Yoghurt Sauce
- 8 corn or flour tortillas
- 1/4 head of green cabbage, thinly slice about 2 cups
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 lemon
- cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
Blackened shrimp tacos
- 250 g medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black tea
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Cilantro yoghurt sauce
- 1/2 cup non-fat plain yoghurt
- 1 small jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup tightly packed cilantro leaves
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Combine shrimp, smoked paprika, oregano, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, ground tea leaves, ground tea leaves, oil and lime juice in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Set aside.
- Prepare the sauce: place yoghurt, jalapeno, cilantro, honey and lime juice in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until sauce is smooth. Season sauce with salt and pepper, adjust seasoning as desired.
- Place thinly sliced onion in a medium bowl, squeeze out juice from 1 lemon to the bowl and add a pinch of salt. Massage the onion until begin to soften. Set aside.
- Heat cast iron skillet over medium-high. Warm tortilla in skillet for about 30 seconds per side. Transfer tortillas to a piece of foil and wrap tightly to keep warm.
- Return skillet to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. Once the oil begins to simmer, add shrimp and cook until opaque and curl up, about 1 minute on each side. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes until shrimps blackened. Remove skillet from heat.
- Top tortillas with cabbage, shrimp and onion. Serve tacos with cilantro-yoghurt sauce.