If you like shrimp tacos, you've got to try this easy recipe for Korean shrimp tacos. They're super flavorful with a bit of heat and optional sweetness for the perfect balance.
These tacos are dairy free and can also be made gluten free as well! They're a super easy and tasty addition to change up your weekly menu.
Mirin is a flavorful rice wine used in Japanese cooking. It's made by fermenting cultured rice with a distilled rice liquor. It has a low alcohol content and a high sugar content which is why it pairs well with soy sauces, as it balances out the salty flavor. It's loaded with umami and perfect for sauces and glazes.
Garlic cloves or garlic powder.
Ginger- freshly grated or powdered.
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Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables such as cabbage, garlic, ginger and peppers. There are different combinations used to make kimchi, but it's flavor profile is typically sour and a little spicy or even sweet.
Pineapple mango habanero salsa is the perfect topping to balance out the spice and umami flavor from these shrimp tacos. It gives a nice sweet and refreshing taste with another note of heat that can be altered or even omitted for your taste.
Mango salsa is actually more of a Mexican/Mediterranean cuisine, but I feel like it makes such a great flavor combination for Korean shrimp tacos.
Gochujang is a Korean condiment made from rice, peppers, fermented soybeans, garlic, onion, and sweeteners such as syrups or sugars. It has a subtle sweetness from the fermentation which balances out the spicy and salty umami flavor it gives. Gochujang pastes can vary in level of heat. I use this brand from Chung Jung One and feel that the level of heat is mild. However, the more you use, the spicier it will taste of course.
White corn tortillas
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you're using frozen shrimp, place them in a colander in the sink and run with cold water until thawed. Then take the deveined shrimp with the tails removed and pat them dry with a kitchen towel.
Next, mix together the ingredients for a quicks marinade in a bowl and evenly coat the shrimp.
Let it sit while you make the mayo sauce in a small saucer.
Then, wrap about 8 white corn tortillas in some aluminum foil and place it in the oven for about 5-8 minutes.
Heat your skillet over medium-high heat and add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the shrimp in the skillet without the marinade. Let it cook for about 2 minutes on each side. You may need to do this in a couple different batches. Do not overcrowd the skillet with too many pieces of shrimp.
Lastly, assemble the tacos. Add the mayo sauce on the corn tortilla, the kimchi, about 2-3 pieces of the grilled shrimp and the pineapple mango habanero salsa.
The taco components should each be stored separately in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
- The mayo sauce will last several days in the fridge.
- The pineapple mango habanero salsa will last about 2 days for best quality.
- Store the shrimp for about 3-4 days in the fridge.
Freeze the shrimp in a freezer safe ziplock bag or airtight container. Either separate the shrimp with parchment paper so they are not touching or flash freeze them first. To flash freeze them, line a pan with parchment paper and space the shrimp out on the pan so they are not touching. Freeze them for about 30 minutes to 1 hour until they are completely frozen. Then transfer them to a freezer ziplock or container. They should be good for two months frozen, or possibly longer.
Thaw the shrimp in its container or bag by submerging it in cold water, ensuring that water cannot pass through.
Reheat the shrimp on the skillet or in the microwave until warm enough to serve.
- Use a good quality kimchi. Not all kimchi tastes the same. If you've never tried kimchi, I recommend sampling through different brands to see if one suits your liking better. My favorite brand of kimchi is from Wise Goat.
- Heat the corn tortillas in the oven, wrapped in foil. If you do not heat them, they will not be pliable and they will break apart.
- Use large or jumbo shrimp for a meatier taco!
❓Frequently asked questions
These tacos are spicy. However, you can control the level of heat by choosing ingredients such as the kimchi and Gochujang with a more mild spice level. You can also use less of the two ingredients to make it less spicy. The mango salsa is also a little spicy, so you can omit or reduce the amount of heat in the salsa as well.
When it comes to shrimp tacos, the best shrimp comes down to preference, in my opinion. I prefer a shrimp that's large or jumbo in size. My favorite to use is royal red shrimp. They're sweeter than regular shrimp and have a texture more like lobster!
In a typical shrimp taco recipe, you'll use sauces such as a lime cilantro sauce, an avocado Crema, guacamole and/or sriracha. For an authentic Korean style shrimp taco, you'll use a sauce recipe typically with Gochujang and/or sriracha and a Korean style mayo.
Shrimp tacos originated in Baja California, Mexico. A traditional shrimp taco will have lettuce or cabbage, avocado, pico de gallo and a sour cream or mayo with citrus on either a corn or flour tortilla. Over time, different cultures have put their own spin on a shrimp taco.
This recipe is not gluten free because of the Gochujang and soy sauce, but substitutions can be made. The Gochujang is wheat free but not considered to be gluten free. You can always substitute the Gochujang for sriracha to taste. Sriracha can not be used as a 1:1 ratio, since sriracha is very spicy. This means you will not use 1 tablespoon. I would start out with about ½ teaspoon.
Soy sauce is not considered to be gluten free as it it contains wheat. You can substitute soy sauce for coconut aminos. Coconut aminos have a sweet taste so you may want to omit the honey so that its not overly sweet.
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Korean Shrimp Tacos
- 1 pound shrimp large or jumbo, peeled, deveined and tails removed
- 8 white corn tortillas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon mirin
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 2-3 garlic cloves or 1 teaspoon powdered
- 1 inch grated ginger or ½ teaspoon powdered
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 3 tablespoons mayo
- 1 tablespoon Gochujang or ½ tablespoon for less heat
- ½ teaspoon mirin
- Pineapple Mango Habanero Salsa
- sriracha optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take one pound of the thawed, peeled and deveined shrimp with the tails removed, and pat them dry with a kitchen towel.
- Mix together the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and evenly coat the shrimp.
- Let it sit while you make the mayo sauce in a small saucer.
- Wrap about 8 white corn tortillas in some foil and place it in the oven for about 5-8 minutes.
- Heat your skillet over medium-high heat and add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the shrimp in the skillet without the marinade. Let it cook for about 2 minutes on each side. You may need to do this in a couple different batches. Do not overcrowd the skillet with too many pieces of shrimp.
- Assemble the tacos. Add the mayo sauce on the corn tortilla, then the kimchi, about 2-3 pieces of shrimp and the pineapple mango habanero salsa.
Note: Nutrition label is just an estimate amounts may vary. Nutrition label does not include the pineapple mango habanero salsa as the recipe servings for it is larger than what will be needed for 8 tacos.