Dried shrimp cakes during lent were a staple in our home. Tortitas de camaron seco is the translation in Spanish. In all honesty, it’s one of those traditional Mexican dishes that you either love or you don’t enjoy! Lol! It’s like cilantro. I love it!
Does your family have a favorite dish that is prepared during lent?
There were several staple dishes prepared during this time. Tortitas de camaron seco (shrimp cakes), lentils, cactus(nopalitos) in salsa, pan fried fish and potato cakes. Those are the dishes that come to mind right away when I recall lent growing up.
How often do you use dried chile pods?
Make the recipe your own!
I am a true believer in making a recipe your own. You can still keep all the traditional flavors of this tortita(cake) even if the texture is slightly different. Depending on how many eggs you add, you can prepare two different variations.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photo directly above. It is the batter prepared with four large eggs. It has to be spooned into the oil and yields a lighter shrimp cake.
Shrimp cake batter prepared with only three eggs. Thicker batter yields a more dense shrimp cake.
Tortitas de Camaron Seco – Dried Shrimp Cakes
Red Chile Sauce
- 4-5 tbsp grapeseed or olive oil
- 1/4 large white onion roughly chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic smashed
- 8 Dried chile guajillo remove stems and seeds
- 2-4 chile morita optional
- 2 roma tomatoes sliced in quarters
- 5 cups Water
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 4 large eggs at room temperature separate whites from yolks
- 1/2 cup dried shrimp finely ground
- 1/2 cup unsalted cracker meal or breadcrumbs finely ground
- 2 cups oil for frying canola or grapeseed
You Also Need
- 2 cups nopalitos(cactus) previously sliced and cooked
For Red Chile Sauce
- In a deep skillet, add 2-3 tablespoons of oil and heat to medium. Add the onions and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes.
- Add the dried chiles, mixing well to coat chiles with oil in skillet. Saute chiles in oil for a few minutes or until they become aromatic. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 4 minutes.
- Cover with 5 cups of water. Bring up to a boil. Reduce heat and cook at a steady simmer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
- When ready, use tongs to transfer all of the ingredients to the blender. Add 3 cups of the cooking water, cumin, oregano, pepper and salt to taste. Reserve remaining water in the skillet. Cover tightly with lid and blend on high for 45-50 seconds or until sauce is very smooth. Taste for salt. Strain the sauce if necessary using a wire mesh strainer.
- In a separate skillet, preheat 2 tablespoons of oil to medium for a few minutes. Pour in the chile sauce from blender. Add remaining water from skillet where you cooked the chile pods into the sauce. If it's still too thick, add in a little fresh water. Cook chile sauce at a steady simmer for 20-25 minutes. Taste for spices and adjust to your liking. Keep covered and on the lowest heat setting until you are ready to use.
For Dried Shrimp Cakes
- In the bowl of the stand mixer, add the four room temperature egg whites. Whip the eggs whites on high for 2-3 minutes or until stiff peaks form. You should be able to flip the bowl upside down and egg whites will not slide out.
- When ready, mix in the egg yolks at low speed just until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula fold in the dry shrimp powder and cracker meal(or breadcrumbs). Set aside.
- In a skillet, preheat 1 1/2 cups of oil to medium for a few minutes.
- When oil is ready, take a spoon and scoop some of the shrimp batter, about 1/4 cup size. Use a second spoon to help release it into the hot oil. Try to drop it in so it's round in shape and slightly flattened. Fry for 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
- Once all the cakes are fried, transfer them to the skillet with red chile sauce. Fold in the precooked cactus(nopalitos). Mix in some fresh cilantro sprigs. Stir gently and cook on low just until all of the ingredients are warmed through. Serve in shallow bowls. Warm tortillas and a side of lentils would be delicious!