Shrimp Tacos with Rice and Bean Arancini

Spicy shrimp tacos on flour tortillas with a delicious homemade mango salsa.


Shrimp Tacos with Rice and Bean Arancini

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So Pete and I were planning on posting our awesome battle today, but we had too much fun last night and simply didn’t have time to write the posts. Tomorrow will be the day.

Meanwhile, I thought I would write about a simple little shrimp taco dish I made a week or two ago. I also found a fun way to use my left over rice and beans from the burritos I made.

So this dish was not my idea. It was actually Betsy’s idea. She saw it in a book called “Cook Yourself Thin” that I’m actually reviewing this Sunday. I wouldn’t have picked up the book, but a few people told me it was good.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos

8 tacos
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Spicy shrimp tacos on flour tortillas with a delicious homemade mango salsa.

Adapted from Cook Yourself Thin


1 pound medium sized shrimp (25-30/pound)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tequila (optional)
Flour tortillas, for serving

Mango and Pineapple Salsa:

1 large mango, diced
1/2 red onion, chopped fine
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 fresh pineapple (the book uses canned, but I prefer fresh for salsas)
1 lime, juice only
Handful of cilantro, chopped


1) For salsa, dice all ingredients and stir together. Season with lime juice and a pinch of salt. This salsa is best if it sits for a few hours in the fridge.

2) To start tacos, toss cleaned shrimp with spices. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil.

3) Once olive oil is hot, add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, just to get the garlic fragrant.

4) Add in shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimps are cooked through, about 4-5 minutes.

Serve shrimp immediately in warm tortillas with lots of mango salsa.

The first step in this dish is making a really awesome pineapple-mango salsa to go on the tacos. It is a bit sweet and spicy and adds a great texture to the dish.

Lots of chopping in my future.
Lots of chopping in my future.

There is a lot of dicing to do, but it is good practice. You could make this at least a day in advance.

The longer it sits, the better it gets.
The longer it sits, the better it gets.

After I made burritos a few weekends ago, I had a LOT of leftover rice and beans in the fridge so I thought I would make some arancini with them. In other words, this dish was getting a bit too healthy so I decided it needed something fried.

The key to this arancini is finding a really spicy cheese to put inside it. If you can’t find a spicy cheese then make sure you spice up the rice and beans nicely.

Luckily, I was able to find this very spicy habanero cheddar at the store.

Seriously spicy cheese.
Seriously spicy cheese.

Your rice and beans should be kind of sticky. Basically I grabbed a palm-full of the mixture, stuck a cube of the cheese in the center, and then rolled up the ball.

It took me a few tries to get it right, but eventually it worked out. A few of them I would have to press pretty hard to get the rice to stick together. This definitely isn’t as easy as making arancini with risotto because risotto is much stickier.

A bit difficult to form, but you can handle it.
A bit difficult to form, but you can handle it.

After you get the ball rolled, send it down the standard bread crumb line. Flour with some salt and pepper is in the red bowl, 2 whisked eggs is in the green bowl, Italian style bread crumbs are in the orange bowl. If you don’t have Italian style, just add oregano and basil to normal bread crumbs.

Flour, egg, bread crumbs. Standard.
Flour, egg, bread crumbs. Standard.

I was able to get quite a few of these guys done. You can also do these ahead of time. Just keep them in the fridge to make sure they stay nice and firm.

Pretty little things.
Pretty little things.

Fry these, completely submerged in oil at 325-350 degrees. I used Canola oil because I had some on hand, but you could use any oil that can stand the heat. Do them in groups depending on the size of your pan. Don’t overcrowd them or they won’t brown well. They’ll take 5-8 minutes a batch. When they are a deep brown on the outside they are good to go. I always recommend using a deep frying thermometer to make sure your oil is the right temp.

OK. So now all we have left is to make some shrimpies. I was able to buy these shelled already which saves some time. Make sure to get fresh ones though. Also, I like the medium sized shrimp for these (around 25-30/pound). Any bigger than that and they get kind of awkward in the taco.

Some spices are necessary also.

Hard to go wrong here.
Hard to go wrong here.

Saute a few cloves of garlic in the pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil and then add all your spices. After everything cooks together a bit, add all your shrimp. These will only take a few minutes to cook. When they turn slightly opaque they are done.

The recipe in the book added a few Tablespoons of tequila at the end of this recipe which I think is a fantastic idea. I didn’t happen to have any around and I didn’t want to go buy some just for this recipe. If you have some around, use it, but it was delicious without it.

Don't forget to take off the tails...
Don’t forget to take off the tails…

Take a tortilla, add a few shrimp and some of the salsa. Serve with the arancini balls. I also recommend a nice cold beer with this dish.

A slice of heaven.
A slice of heaven.

I really liked the tacos, but I’m telling you that these rice and bean arancini deals were off the charts. Spicy and cheesy and fried. Can’t beat that.

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11 Responses to “Shrimp Tacos with Rice and Bean Arancini” Leave a comment

  1. How long to cook the shrimp and at what temp? (Sorry for such a basic question – my cooking skills are pretty lacking.)

  2. No heat in the salsa? I suppose with the pepper flakes on the shrimp and the habanero cheddar in the arancini, you're okay. But salsa without jalapenos is like a circus without clowns.

    Or some other tortured simile.

    I'm trying to win a book here.

  3. ohhhhhh im so hungry i think my stomach is going to eat itself….and shrimp tacos (came here from food gawker of course) sound like the absolute best thing on the planet right about now. and i dont think ive ever had a shrimp in a taco! ah the injustice! :)

  4. @Sam. The shrimp need to cook for only about 4-5 minutes on medium-high heat.

    Thanks for the comments everyone. Somebody… someday… will win a book. :)

  5. Wow! The whole combination sounds "outta this world"!! However, re the arancini: both of my (college-age) kids are lactose-intolerant…. so … is there something else besides cheese you might suggest for the centers… or is the cheese not completely necessary to make it work?

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