From the years I spent I living in Mexico City, my love for Mexican cuisine has grown, and so has my respect for how their tradition influences their food in every way. It's also very different to what we are exposed to in Canada, where only a few dishes are well known, compared to the vast variety of dishes and flavours in Mexico. Their cuisine is deeply regional. Cities are know for their chilies and sauces. Oaxaca has one of the liveliest markets I've been to, where you can find a a local cheese named after the city, and use it to make quesadillas and enchiladas. Puebla has its famous chiles poblanos, stuffed with meat or vegetables, served in many homes to celebrate Independence Day.
In Toronto, we are lucky enough to have a couple of restaurants that make tacos, tostadas and ceviches, as good as the ones I've had in Mexico. I remember walking around La Roma and La Condesa, two of the oldest neighbourhoods in in Mexico City, and seeing women patiently making corn tortillas by hand - blue and yellow corn surrounding them. The memories from moments like that are still fresh in my mind, and I treasure each one.
When the girls and I moved back to Canada, we craved meals we had there often. Mostly tortilla soup, chilaquiles, and tacos, so I started making them at home. The following shrimp tacos are the easiest thing to make, especially for a midweek meal when you don't want to spend more than 30 minutes in the kitchen. I've used corn tortillas instead of flour, but you can use the ones you like the most.
6 corn tortillas
20-25 raw shrimp
2 tbsp olive oil
1 can of chipotles in adobo
I tsp garlic
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 1/2 cups of shredded purple cabbage
3/4 cups of cotija cheese (or feta)
1 cup sour cream (or Mexican crema, found at Latin American markets)
Place the shrimp in a bowl, and marinate them with the juice of one lime, olive oil, garlic, 3 tbsp of the adobo sauce and 1 tbsp of cilantro. Let rest for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, mix the sour cream, 1 lime, a pinch of salt, 3 tbsp of adobo sauce plus 1/2 chopped chipotle and the rest of the cilantro.
Cut the avocado in cubes or slices. If you can't find cotija cheese, feta is a nice alternative. Crumble some until you have about 3/4 cup.
In a cast iron skillet, sauté the shrimp, turning once, set aside. Heat a skillet and place 2 to 4 tortillas at a time, toasting them for a minute or two on each side.
Once the tortillas are ready, top them with a tablespoon of the chipotle crema, add about 4 shrimp to each tortilla, avocado, cabbage and more cilantro. A splash of lime juice and some tomatillo sauce makes these perfect. All you need is some margaritas, and you are set. Say bye to winter!