Crispy Fried Shrimp Tacos with Ancho Chile Tartar Sauce

This recipe is a bit of a bastardization of your standard-issue Baja-style fish taco, a food that I already associate more with California than I do with Mexico. Instead of using a flaky fried fish, I substituted in golden fried shrimp, battered in a dark beer batter that puffs up super light and crispy, almost like a tempura. Topped with a quick cabbage and cilantro slaw, a squeeze of lime, and topped with our spin on a lightly spicy tartar sauce, these tacos are enough to mentally transport you to warmer climates.

Crispy Fried Shrimp Tacos with Ancho Chile Tartar Sauce
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
1030 calories
98 g
262 g
54 g
39 g
8 g
573 g
2195 g
12 g
0 g
44 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1030
Calories from Fat 474
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 54g
Saturated Fat 8g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 28g
Monounsaturated Fat 16g
Cholesterol 262mg
Sodium 2195mg
Total Carbohydrates 98g
Dietary Fiber 11g
Sugars 12g
Protein 39g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the shrimp
  1. 1 cup dark beer
  2. 1 cup all purpose flour
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 pound 26/30 count shrimp, shelled and de-veined
  5. Peanut oil (for frying)
For the ancho tartar sauce
  1. 1 dried ancho chile, whole
  2. 1 cup mayonnaise
  3. 1/4 cup pickle relish
  4. 1/2 onion, chopped
Put it together
  1. 1 small red cabbage, sliced thin
  2. 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  3. Juice from two limes
  4. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  5. 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  6. 16 corn tortillas
  7. Lime wedges
For the shrimp
  1. Whisk beer, flour, and salt in a medium bowl until well blended. In a deep frying pan, heat oil to 360 degrees. Dip each shrimp in batter, and drain excess. Drop gently into hot oil in batches, and cook until golden brown. Transfer cooked shrimp to drain on paper towels.
For the ancho tartar sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, cover dried ancho chile in water, and bring to a simmer over high heat. After water simmers, remove from heat and let soak for 15 minutes. Carefully remove pepper from water, break off stem, and discard. Add to bowl of a food processor with mayonnaise, pickle relish, and onion, and blend until smooth.
Put it together
  1. In a separate bowl, toss cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, vegetable oil, and jalapeno until evenly coated, and set aside. To assemble each taco, stack two warm tortillas, and top with three or four pieces of shrimp. Top with a spoonful of slaw, and serve with ancho tartar sauce on the side, with plenty of lime wedges to squeeze over the top.
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Malcolm Bedell

Malcolm loves Mexico, speaks fluent taqueria Spanish, and totally has Mexican friends. Author of both "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," and food blog From Away, his writing and photography credits include Serious Eats, Down East Magazine, The LA Weekly, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and more. His seasonal food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater, and he finds trying to write this in the third person to be muy chistoso.

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