Mexican cuisine has to be my favourite gastronomic fare.
This is really saying something, because I would be hard pushed to pick between about a hundred dishes competing for that grandiose title.
But Mexican cuisine – the real deal, mind you – noses to the front with its layers of punchy heat, complex infusions of spice and savoury and those fresh zings of lime and coriander.
Now I’m not saying that oozing, cheesy, sour-creamy Tex Mex doesn’t have its place (it’s definitely a comforting and proven addition in the hangover cure department) but there’s something quite incredible about the explosions of flavour that come from the authentic recipes.
Perth is slowly discovering this very phenomenon after years of lacking great Mexican joints but Melbourne has been way ahead of us.
One of my mandatory visits of every Melbourne trip is Mamasita, answer to the emerging popularity and awareness of proper Mexican food in Australia.
This recipe is inspired by their tacos de camaron (prawn tacos).
soft tacos with prawns & guacamole
200g prawns, shelled and deveined
2 red chillies
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chopped coriander stalks
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 red cabbage, thinly sliced
soft tacos, to serve
3 tbsp finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
juice of half a lime
Pour over the prawns, give a good toss and leave to marinate for at least four hours.
There are plenty of different versions for guacamole out there but I prefer those with a good dose of acidity to balance the richness of the avocados. Here the bright lime juice and vinegary notes from the Tabasco sauce do just that.
Halve the avocados and remove the seeds. Slice lengthwise, then across the width and scoop the flesh out of the husk using a soup spoon.
Add the red onion, lime juice and coriander, and add enough Tabasco and sea salt for your liking.
Mix together so that the cubes of avocado begin to break down and incorporate the other ingredients.
Taste and add more lime juice, Tabasco or salt as required.
Just before it’s time to eat, heat a frypan over high heat and fry the prawns for 1-2 minutes on each side or until just opaque.
To serve, warm the soft tacos, top with shredded red cabbage, guacamole and the grilled prawns. Garnish with extra coriander leaves and a squeeze of lime.