I’ve been needing a little something to brighten up my days lately. Anybody else feel the same way? We’re currently stuck in the house due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the weather here in Philadelphia is meh, and my husband and I just cancelled our spring break trip to the Utah national parks since it doesn’t seem wise to travel right now. As a medical resident, my husband gets very little time off, so we’re both pretty disappointed that we’ll have to spend his vacation days at home.
Thankfully, we have Spicy Sriracha Shrimp Tacos to be grateful for. Juicy shrimp. Crunchy, zesty, vibrant coleslaw. Spicy sauce. Soft tortillas. WOW. I’m starting to feel a little better already.
Let’s talk about the slaw for a second
Cabbage has a bit of a reputation for being… blah. But cilantro coleslaw is the opposite of blah. It’s the star of the show in these shrimp tacos. Lime and cilantro are some of my absolute favorite flavors. Along with the tanginess of the sour cream, they really make this coleslaw pop. Cabbage is also super affordable and keeps in the fridge for a long time.
And then there’s the shrimp
Something you should know about me… I’m a HUGE seafood fan. But I don’t make a lot of seafood at home. It tends to be pretty expensive, and the affordable varieties don’t always taste great (sorry, frozen tilapia fillets). Every so often, however, I find two-pound bags of shrimp marked down to $10 at my grocery store (they’re usually more like $20), and I’ll grab a couple.
This is another grocery store hack: wait until expensive items are on sale to stock up rather than buying them at full price when you’re hungry for them. This means I don’t always have shrimp on hand, but it allows me to feed myself and my husband on our grocery budget of $50 or less per week.
How to make shrimp tacos with cilantro slaw and Sriracha crema
Prep the slaw and the crema
Both the cilantro slaw and the Sriracha crema can be made in advance and stored in the fridge until you’re ready to cook the shrimp. Shredding the cabbage for the slaw will give you the best texture. Or if you’re like me and don’t feel like getting an arm workout today, you just can chop the cabbage into the thinnest strips you can manage. Also, don’t bother with pulling the leaves off the cilantro. Just take a handful of sprigs and chop up the whole thing. The stems have a lot of flavor, and you won’t notice their texture in the coleslaw.
Chop the cabbage, cilantro, and green onions, and combine them in a large bowl. Then whisk together the sour cream, oil, water, lime, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Stir the sour cream mixture into the cabbage mixture and place in the fridge.
For the Sriracha crema, just whisk together sour cream and Sriracha. If you like things HOT, you can definitely add extra Sriracha. If not, consider starting with just one teaspoon of Sriracha, tasting the crema, and continuing to add more if necessary.
Cook the shrimp
Coat your shrimp in the spice mixture and fry it up on the stove. Overcooking shrimp is the worst. Please, don’t do this to yourself. I used 26/30 count shrimp (this refers to the number of shrimp in a pound), and all they needed was two minutes on medium high heat and then one additional minute after flipping. When the sides of the shrimp are no longer translucent, they’re done.
Assemble your tacos and serve them with Easy Yellow Rice. Although I adore tacos, the leftovers are messy to take to work for lunch. Instead, I opt to use the extras to make rice bowls for on the go.
Spicy Sriracha Shrimp Tacos
For the slaw:
- 4 cups shredded cabbage about half of a small cabbage head
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- ⅓ cup chopped green onions
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup water
- juice of 2 limes
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
For the crema:
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 tsp Sriracha add more or less depending on your preferred level of spice
- 1 tbsp water optional to make the crema more "drizzlable"
For the shrimp:
- 1 lb shrimp peeled
- 1 tsp paprika smoked paprika works great if you have it
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Tortillas for serving
Prepare the slaw
- Shred the cabbage or cut it into very fine strips. Roughly chop the cilantro, keeping the stems on. Chop the green onion into ¼-inch pieces. Combine all the greens in a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk together sour cream, oil, water, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
- Stir the sour cream mixture into the chopped greens until well combined.
- Store the slaw in the fridge until ready to serve.
Prepare the crema
- Whisk together sour cream and Sriracha in a small bowl.
- Whisk in water if you'd like to be able to drizzle your crema over the tacos. If you'd rather spread it on the tortillas, you can skip this step.
- Store the crema in the fridge until ready to serve.
Prepare the shrimp
- Peel the shrimp.
- Mix together paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Stir in the shrimp until coated.
- Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat.
- Add shrimp to the pan in a single layer. Cook for 2 minutes, and then turn all the shrimp with a spatula or fork. Cook for 1 to 2 more minutes or until the sides of the shrimp are no longer translucent. Remove from heat.
Assemble the tacos
- Spoon the slaw onto warm tortillas, then top with shrimp and drizzle with crema. Enjoy!