Crispy Rolled Shrimp Tacos with Tomato Broth

Before we continue, let’s get something straight. A soft tortilla folded around some filling is called a “taco,” agreed? And if you roll it up instead of folding it, and then fry it? It’s a taquito. Or does that mean “little taco?” And if so, does that make a plate of small folded tacos, really called taquitos? Of course, if the tortilla is made of flour instead of corn, it’s a flauta. Everybody knows that. But if it’s a corn tortilla, rolled up, secured with a toothpick, and fried, it becomes a rolled taco, right? Or does it then become a “taco dorado?” And if a golden-fried taquito is really a taco dorado, then what’s a soft tortilla folded around a filling made of dorado, the Spanish word for mahi mahi? Is that ALSO a taco dorado? Or is that then something else? And what if those tacos dorados made with fish are, in turn, small? What then?

BOOSH. Mind blown.

Rolled Shrimp Tacos

I can only pose the questions. I don’t have the answers. For that, we turn to Rick Bayless:

Crispy Shrimp Rolled Tacos with Tomato Broth
Adapted from a recipe in Fiesta at Rick’s, by Rick Bayless. Makes 12 rolled tacos. Or taquitos. Or whatever.


For the tacos:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large jalapeno, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes, diced
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Oil for frying (preferably peanut)

For the tomato broth:

  • 2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken or shrimp broth
  • Sea salt, to taste


For the tacos:

Rolled Shrimp Tacos

In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until they begin to soften and turn transluscent, about five minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute more. Add jalapeno, cumin, and tomato, and cook until sauce begins to break down and reduce, about five minutes more. Add shrimp and cook until pink, about two minutes. Remove from heat, stir in fresh cilantro, and set aside to cool.

Rolled Shrimp Tacos

Heat oil in a large skillet. You’ll need enough to fill the pan by two inches. Working in pairs, cook the tortillas very briefly in the hot oil, so that they soften, but not so they become crisp. Remove them from the pan while they are still pliable, and drain on a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat until all tortillas are warmed and softened, then turn the heat off on the oil while you assemble the tacos.

Rolled Shrimp Tacos

To assemble tacos, place 1-2 tablespoons of the cooled shrimp filling at the bottom edge of each tortilla, then roll up tightly and secure with a toothpick. Repeat until all tacos are rolled up.

When ready to cook, return the skillet of oil back to the heat, and bring up to frying temperature. Add the rolled tacos and fry until golden on one side, about a minute and a half. Flip the tacos, and continue frying until golden brown and crispy. Serve with tomato broth and, optionally, sour cream or guacamole.

For the tomato broth:

Puree tomatoes, garlic, and onion in a blender or food processor. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. When oil gets hot, add puree, and cook until mixture darkens in color and thickens, about five minutes. Add chicken or shrimp stock, and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce is reduced, about thirty minutes, and season with salt, as needed.


Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road." He currently owns and operates the Ancho Honey restaurant in Maine.


  1. Wow do these ever look fantastic! I am notoriously bad at anything wrapped in tortillas (lack of coordination? i don’t know, even my quesadillas ooze out everywhere) but I am going to try these. I even have all the ingredients on hand, oh, joy!

  2. It’s simple… I’ll explain in American terms. A tortilla (fried, no one uses Flour fyi) “open faced” crispy with toppings is a TOSTADA. A tortilla, flour or corn, holding fillings, half folded is a TACO (whether soft or fried crispy). A fried flour or corn tortilla That’s rolled with a filling is a FLAUTA.

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