Chile Cascabel Shrimp Tacos

Chile Cascabel Shrimp Tacos with Slaw

Once you find a good source for those hard to find dried chiles, preparing your favorite Mexican dishes becomes much easier. This recipe for chile cascabel shrimp tacos is ready in minutes once you prepare the salsa. And not only for shrimp, this same recipe can be used with thinly sliced chicken, pork or beef. I actually prepared this recipe in late fall when the farmers markets were winding down here. They had a nice selection of cabbage, peppers and carrots in all different colors. And any chance I get, I really enjoy shrimp or fish tacos with a fresh and colorful cabbage slaw. The dried chile cascabel are one of the more difficult peppers to find in my area. Lucky for me, I found a source online and the best source of all, family that lives in Texas! Make taco night special and prepare a small batch of homemade tortillas. Find the link at the end of blog post. Get the family involved and make it a fun family taco night. #mexicanfood #cookathome


Chile Cascabel Shrimp Tacos with Slaw

Chile Cascabel Shrimp Tacos with Slaw 

Yields 4 Servings


For Salsa
8 dried chile cascabel
6 dried chile de arbol
4 roma tomatoes, sliced open(in half)
2 cloves garlic, leave skins on
1/3-1/2 cup cooking water
salt to taste

1 pound large shrimp, cleaned
salt and pepper
2-3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil
3-4 tablespoons chile cascabel salsa

For Slaw
4 cups red cabbage, shredded
1 large carrot, shredded

1/3 large red onion, sliced thin
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1-2 red fresno peppers or jalapenos, seeded and sliced thin
Juice of 1 large lime
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper


Remove the stems and seeds from chile cascabel and tear into two pieces. Remove just the stems from chile de arbol, if any. Transfer to a preheated comal(griddle) pan, at medium heat, to toast. This is a fast process. As soon as the chiles begin to blacken and become aromatic, turn over. Toast for just another few seconds.

Transfer the dried chiles to a saucepan of simmering water. Reduce heat slightly. To that same comal(griddle) at medium heat, place the tomatoes, skin side down onto hot surface. Also add the 2 cloves of garlic. Dry roast, turning as needed for about 15 minutes.

Add the tomatoes to the dried chiles in sauce pan. Remove the skins from garlic and set aside. Turn the heat off and just let the ingredients steep while you clean the shrimp and prepare the slaw.

  After you peel and clean your shrimp, season lightly with salt and pepper and chill until ready to use.

Combine all of the ingredients for the slaw in a bowl.  Cover and set aside.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the dried chiles in the sauce pan to the blender. Peel the skins from tomatoes and add them to the blender along with 2 cloves of garlic. Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of cooking water and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth. I like to blend a couple of times for an extra smooth salsa.

Preheat 2 tablespoons of oil to medium/high heat in a skillet for a few minutes. Remove shrimp from refrigerator. Once skillet is hot, add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook for 5-6 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Add just enough chile cascabel salsa to the shrimp to coat evenly, about 3 tablespoons. Serve with warm corn tortillas, slaw and extra salsa. 

Chile Cascabel Salsa

The chile cascabel is more of a mild/medium heat, so I like adding a few chile de arbol for a little more heat. Cascabel refers to a rattlesnake. The sound the pepper makes resembles the sound of the rattlesnake when you shake it! Find chile cascabel at Lupitas Brand online.

Chile Cascabel Salsa

If your store does not carry chile cascabel, you could use two chile ancho instead.

Fresh Red Cabbage Slaw

I picked up some purple carrots at the market and mixed it in along with the orange carrot. The longer the slaw sits, the darker and more pickled it will become.

Chile Cascabel Shrimp Tacos with Slaw

Once you have your salsa prepared using dried chiles, you can use it for so many different recipes. If you don’t think you will use it fast enough, you can freeze it in small portions. Defrost at room temperture when ready to use.

Corn Tortillas

Click onto picture above to see full recipe on how to prepare corn tortillas.

Chile Cascabel Shrimp-Tacos with Slaw

Chile Cascabel Tacos with Slaw