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Blackened Shrimp Tacos with Dragonfruit Salsa

Bold in both flavor and color, these blackened shrimp tacos feature a tangy avocado cream sauce, boldy-spiced sauteed shrimp, and a fresh and fruity dragonfruit salsa on top.


For Pink Corn Tortillas:

  • 1 cup (120g) masa harina flour

  • 1 tablespoon (6g) dragonfruit powder, sifted

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup warm water


  • 1 large dragonfruit (or half red and half white), flesh scooped out and cut into cubes (about 2 cups cubed)

  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeded, deveined and finely minced (about 2 tablespoons minced)

  • 1/4 medium red onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup chopped)

  • 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon lime zest, from 1 lime

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice, from 1 lime

  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or flake sea salt (1/4 teaspoon if using fine or table salt)

  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder

For Avocado Crema:

  • 1 ripe avocado, flesh scooped out and pit discarded

  • 2 tablespoons greek yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream (you can also use all yogurt or all sour cream if you prefer)

  • 2 tablespoons packed fresh cilantro

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 2 tablespoons milk, more or less as needed

For Blackened Shrimp:

  • 1 pound medium/small shrimp (51-60 size), peeled and deveined

  • 4 teaspoons chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • vegetable oil, for cooking


For tortillas:

  1. Whisk together masa, dragonfruit powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and mix well, kneading until dough comes together in a ball. Add more water as necessary (I found different brands of masa absorb different amounts of water). The dough should be soft and pliable but not sticky.

  2. Divide dough into 8 even balls (about 35g each). Place on a plate and lightly cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Place two pieces of plastic or parchment (I like using a cut up freezer bag) in your tortilla press. Place on ball in between the layers of plastic. Press firmly down on tortilla press to smash the ball into an (approximately) 5-inch circle.

  4. If you want thinner tortillas, roll out a bit more with a rolling pin, then cut into a perfect circle using a 5-inch-round cookie cutter. Any scraps can be gathered and rerolled into another tortilla (I was able to get 9 out of one batch this way).

  5. To cook the tortillas (I recommend doing this just before you cook the shrimp), preheat a flat skillet or griddle over medium heat. Gently lay one tortilla on the hot pan (you can cook more than one at a time if they will fit on the skillet without touching) and cook for about 45 seconds, then flip and cook for another 45 seconds on the other side. The tortilla will lighten slightly in color and take on a stippled texture. It may form a few bubbles, but it should not brown in this amount of time.

  6. Transfer cooked tortilla to a plate and cover tightly with plastic wrap (this will hold in the steam, keeping the tortillas hot and malleable while you cook everything else). Repeat with remaining tortillas.

  7. Any leftover tortillas can be stored in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Rewarm prior to serving.

For Salsa:

  1. Combine dragonfruit, jalapeno, red onion, cilantro and lime zest in a medium bowl. If you are using both colors of dragonfruit, you might want to set the red fruit aside and stir it in just before serving (otherwise it’ll stain the white fruit pink).

  2. Add lime juice, salt and chili powder and toss to coat. Taste and season with additional salt and/or chili powder if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For Avocado Cream:

  1. In a blender, combine avocado, yogurt, sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, salt, chili and garlic powder. Pulse to combine. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture blends easily. If you prefer a thicker sauce to spread on the bottom of the tacos, 2 tablespoons should be plenty. If you would rather drizzle your sauce on top, add another tablespoon or 2 as needed.

  2. Transfer to a small bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For Shrimp:

  1. Be sure all your shrimp are deveined and peeled, tails removed. Thaw completely if frozen. Lay on a paper-towel lined plate and pat dry.

  2. In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper until evenly mixed. Sprinkle generously over shrimp, coating both sides evenly with a thick layer of spice mixture.

  3. Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to hot skillet, and let oil preheat until shimmering.

  4. Add shrimp, arranging in a single layer in the bottom of the pan.

  5. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until shrimp are opaque and sides are browned.


  1. Arrange warm cooked tortillas on serving plates. Spoon some avocado cream sauce down the center of each tortilla. Top with 4-6 blackened shrimp, followed by dragonfruit salsa. Optionally top with more chopped cilantro and/or some pretty microgreens if desired.

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