Whether you believe in it or not, Valentine’s Day is an excellent opportunity to take some time to show your partner, your friends or yourself, some extra love. For me, in all of those situations, extra love is best served in the form of great food. The following dish has multiple components, making it a perfect activity for one or more to join the party (there’s a lot of chopping!). 

I often have taco nights with my fiancée, where we’ll each claim a side of the kitchen island, grab a chopping board and knife and get going. This is typically done with a glass of wine within reach and some good music – though take it easy on the wine while doing this part.

If making or eating this with a partner or friends, I also encourage serving the different components separately, as choosing the different fillings and customising their amounts each time is part of the fun. Depending on whether you want more creaminess from avocado, crunch from cabbage, brightness from lime or punchy acidity from pickled onions, you can build each to suit your taste and curiosity. There’s an adventure in the pursuit of the perfect bite! 

There is also always the option of adding your own condiments to customise these further – these may come in the form of a hot sauce or salsa. On this note, if you are personally or are accommodating vegetarian or vegan guests, try frying some jackfruit in the same spices and use a vegan alternative to sour cream.

This meal can be served and eaten on a dressed table with candles, red balloons and dim lights, or on a coffee table in front of a movie. It’s interactive and most importantly, delicious. I always make more than we need, because we always eat more than we need. 

I have curated the below recipe with two servings in mind, so scale up and down as necessary. Regardless of how you’re celebrating, I suggest that you treat yourself and others to a special meal this Valentine’s Day.

Image: @thecurlyhomecook

Prawn tacos with cabbage slaw and pink pickled onions

Serves: 2

Time: 45 mins

Ingredients

Pink pickled onions (ideally 2 hours before)

– 2 red onions

– 150ml water

– 150ml cider vinegar

– 1 tsp sugar

– ½ tsp chilli flakes

– ½ tsp oregano

– ½ lime

– Pinch of salt

– Grind of pepper

Cabbage slaw

– 150g white cabbage

– 100ml sour cream

– ½ lime

– 2 tsp cumin

– Handful of coriander

– Salt

– Pepper

Avocado

– 1 avocado

Spiced prawns

– 275g prawns

– 3 tbsp olive oil

– 2 tsp honey

– ½ lime

– 1 tsp paprika

– 1 tsp mild chilli powder

– ½ tsp cumin

– ½ tsp cayenne

– Hefty pinch of salt

– Hefty grind of pepper

Tortillas

– 8 corn tortillas

To Serve

– 2 limes

Handful of coriander

Recipe

Pink pickled onions – ideally 2 hours before

Chop the onions in half lengthwise, then cut off the tip and roots and peel. Place each half face down and slice thinly, lengthwise again, and set aside.

Boil a pot of water and place the onions in for approximately 1 minute. Strain the onions from the pot, and run under cold water for 20 seconds before draining once again.

Place the onions, along with the remaining ingredients into a glass container with a lidmand stir. Ensure that the liquid covers the onions – if it doesn’t, feel free to add more white wine vinegar and water in equal quantities until covered. Leave in the fridge for at least one hour before dinner – though I recommend 3-4.

Cabbage slaw

Cut off a large cheek of cabbage, lay it flat side down, and finely slice it into thin shreds. Mix the sour cream, finely chopped coriander, lime, cumin, salt and pepper in a bowl, and add the cabbage, dressing it evenly.

Avocado

Halve and pit an avocado. Using a spoon, release the halves from the skin (you can peel them if you prefer). Lay, face down and finely slice lengthwise. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and chilli flakes.

Spiced prawns

In a bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients bar the prawns. Once combined, add the prawns and marinate for at least 15 minutes. Heat a pan on high heat and add the prawns. Turn before they’re halfway cooked and allow them to cook through until pink. Then comes the cook’s tax – you’ve earned the right to try things as you go! When you think they’re done, take one out, chop it in half and check that it’s opaque all the way through. If so, it’s your duty to taste it, both for quality and because you deserve it. This is your opportunity to add more salt, spice, acidity or sweetness, depending on your taste.

Tortillas

Heat tortillas in a pan on medium-high heat for 30-40 seconds each side, or until done to your liking. Place into a container with a lid so that they keep warm and soften slightly.

Serve

These can be served either as individual dishes to be assembled at the table, or built in the kitchen before serving. I typically start with cabbage slaw, followed by prawns, avocado slices to the side, and then pickled onion on top. I’ll typically then add a mound of coriander and a hefty squeeze of lime to finish it off.

Image: @thecurlyhomecook

Et voilà! 

Dom Horan

The Curly Home Cook 

Instagram – @thecurlyhomecook

Author WCS

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