Prawn tacos, pico de gallo and pickled red onions: Karla Zazueta’s Mexican recipes | Food

Pico de gallo

My family loves making pico de gallo for gatherings – it’s lovely to snack on with totopos (tortilla chips) and, if we have any left over, I use it to make Mexican scrambled eggs the next morning.

Prep 15 min
Serves 4

3 small tomatoes, finely diced
½ medium white onion, finely chopped
10g fresh coriander, finely chopped
½ tsp salt
½ lime

Put the tomatoes, onion and coriander in a medium bowl and mix well. Add the salt and lime juice, mix again, then set aside for five minutes. Eat as a snack with tortilla chips or use as a topping for tacos.

Pickled red onion

Karla Zazueta pickled red onion
Photograph: Ola O Smit/The Guardian. Food styling: Esther Clark. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins

My mum, who is not a big fan of vinegar, came up with the idea of pickling onions in lime juice, and I think it’s wonderful, because the citrus not only pickles and takes away the strong flavour of raw onions, but it gives them a mellow acidity. I always have some in my fridge, ready to add to tacos or salads.

Prep 20 min
Serves 4

1 large red onion, peeled and thinly sliced (about 150g)
1 tsp table salt
Juice of 3 limes
¼ tsp dried oregano

Put the onion in a bowl, add the salt, mix to combine, then set aside to steep for 10 minutes (the salt will take away some of the moisture in the onion). Rinse the onion to get rid of the excess salt, then add the lime juice and dried oregano, and mix well. Set aside for 10 minutes, mixing from time to time – the onion will turn bright pink. Use as a topping for tacos or salads.

Baja prawn tacos

Karla Zazueta Baja prawns tacos
Photograph: Ola O Smit/The Guardian. Food styling: Esther Clark. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins

This dish is very close to my heart: every time I make it, it takes me back to my home town, Ensenada, where these tacos are from. My dad, who was a keen cook, would fry lots of pieces of fish and we’d sit around the table and have a feast. Everyone would make their own tacos with their favourite toppings; I loved to add a bit of everything, and still do. The batter is very versatile – I’ve used prawns instead of fish, but you could also try cauliflower florets or 10cm-long courgette batons for a vegetarian option.

Prep 10 min
Cook 45 min
Makes 12

For the batter
170g self-raising flour
1 ½ tsp salt
tsp dried Mexican oregano
1 tbsp American mustard
200ml lager
plain flour, for coating
Salt and ground black pepper
36 extra-large raw king prawns
, cleaned and deveined

For the mayonnaise
soured cream
60g mayonnaise
1 tsp milk

To serve
400ml sunflower oil
12 corn tortillas
120g iceberg lettuce, shredded
Pico de gallo – see recipe above
Pickled red onion – see recipe above
2 limes, cut into wedges
Your favourite spicy salsa (optional)

First make the mayonnaise: in a medium bowl, mix the soured cream, mayonnaise, milk and a pinch each of salt and pepper, or to taste, then set aside.

To make the batter, put the self-raising flour in a wide bowl, add the salt, oregano, mustard and beer, and whisk until there are no lumps.

Put the plain flour on a plate, season and mix. Pat dry the prawns with a kitchen towel, dust each prawn in the seasoned flour, shake off the excess, then drop into the batter.

Put the oil in a medium frying pan on a medium heat. Once it’s hot, fry the prawns in batches for a minute or so on each side, until golden brown, then transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain.

Heat the tortillas in a hot, dry frying pan, then transfer to a warmed plate and cover with a tea towel to keep them warm.

To serve, take one warm tortilla, spread it with some mayo and lay three battered prawns on top. Add some shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, pickled onions, a squeeze of lime and, if you want some heat, spicy salsa, and tuck in.