On my recent trip to New York City, I experienced some of the best Mexican food I have ever tasted. These shrimp fajitas are my version and a little improv was involved but I tell you what, they were pretty darn fine!  You may think it is a little fiddly making refried beans etc but the batch I made will keep a small Mexican army fed and the beans are suitable to freeze (for a cheat you can use the canned).  Plenty of spice is also a must for this dish as the beans, salsa and guacamole really cut through the heat, balancing out all the flavours and creating a serious Mexican fiesta right on your tongue!  Ole`

Prep time:  45 minutes     Cooking time:  2.5 hours (you don’t have to stand at the stove for that time!)

$$  Medium Budget

Serves 4-6

For the Prawns:

500gm green prawn meat

1 green capsicum, sliced into strips

1 brown onion, halved & finely sliced

1 clove of garlic, finely diced

2 tbs of olive oil

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp of chilli flakes

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp of black pepper

2 tbs of lime juice

3 tbs chopped coriander

12 corn or wheat tortillas (small)

6 Baby cos leaves, finely shredded

For the Beans:

2 tbs of vegetable oil

2 cups of black turtle or pinto beans (Black turtle are what I used and are apparently more authentic)

6 cups of water

Good pinch of sea salt

3 cloves of garlic, finely diced

1 brown onion, very finely diced

2 cups of cooked bean liquid

For the Salsa:

2 large ripe tomatoes, seeds removed and finely diced

1 small red onion, finely diced

2 tbs of fresh coriander, finely chopped

Juice of 1/2 a lime

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and cracked pepper

For the Guacamole:

2 x ripe avocados, mashed

1/2 a cup of sour cream (low fat is fine)

juice of 1/2 a lime

1 tsp of tabasco sauce

1 tbs finely chopped coriander stems

Sea salt and pepper

Extra virgin olive oil (just a drizzle)

Paprika to dust

To make the beans, you can do the traditional method of soaking overnight etc etc but I found there really was no need.  Give the beans a good rinse in a strainer before placing them in a large saucepan with 6 cups of water and a good pinch of salt.  Bring them to the boil and reduce to a high simmer for a good 2 hours, stirring occasionally and topping up the water if necessary.  I found the best way to see if they were cooked was to taste them,  they should be nice and tender and mashable!

When cooked strain 2 cups of the liquid and set aside and discard the rest.  In a large pan heat 2 tbs of oil and lightly fry the onion until translucent and add the garlic, frying until aromatic.  Add the beans a couple of spoonfuls at a time and with a potato masher, go your hardest!  The beans should be fairly well mashed but you still want some chunky ones in there.  Add the liquid (a little bit at a time) as you go and allow to simmer until you have a nice pasty consistency.  Place in a serving bowl, cover and set aside.  I made these hours ahead and reheated in the microwave and had enough left over for another lot of fajitas in the freezer.

Combine all the salsa ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.  Cover and set aside.

To make the Guacamole combine the avocado, sour cream, lime juice, tobasco and coriander stems in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix well to combine.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika.  Give the edges of the bowl a wipe to neaten it up!

To cook the prawns, heat the oil in a frying pan until nice and hot.  Fry the onion until translucent before adding the capsicum and garlic.  When the capsicum is just tender add the chilli powder, flakes, cumin and black pepper.  Fry for 1 minute or until you start to cough 😉  Keeping the pan nice and hot add the prawns and fry for approx 4 minutes or until just cooked and then add the lime juice and coriander.  Stir to combine and place in a serving dish.

To prepare the tortillas, wrap them in foil and warm them in the oven for 5 minutes.  I found the corn ones were best prepared on a griddle pan as they are quite dry, still yummy though!

To prepare your shrimp fajita, spread a generous amount of refried beans on the bottom of your tortilla and sprinkle with a little cos lettuce.  Spoon on some prawn mixture followed by a generous dollop of guacamole.  Top this with a large spoonful of the fresh salsa and a couple of sprigs of coriander, fold in half and wrap your laughing gear around this little treasure trove of flavour!