Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tortitas de Camaron en Chile Colorado Con Nopales (Mexican Shrimp Fritter and Cactus Stew)

Again I will say we have lots of Nopales (cactus pads) as you guys already probably know, so here's a dish I'm posting for "YayaOrchids" who kindly asked for this dish :)

In this dish shrimp fritters are made from a fluffy egg batter and ground dried shrimp, and simmered in "Chile Colorado" a flavorful smooth, smokey, rich Mexican red sauce, married with julienned nopales.

The version I present today is a very simple and "typical" version, it's what you would get at any Mexican eatery.

This is my mother's recipe for the typical traditional one, but let me tell you, my mother has a special one she makes RARELY which is more elaborate, complex, and non- traditional when I say rarely I mean like once a year rare, she made it already this year when I wasn't present so I'm out of luck, but when she makes it again I'll catch her in the act and make a post.

Ingredients for fritters:
-1 packet 4 oz. ground dry shrimp powder
-5 egg whites
-5 egg yolks
-1 teaspoon ground black pepper
-2 tablespoons flour

Ingredients for the sauce:
-8 dry chile california or guajillos (depends on how spicy you want it Californias have no spiciness, guajillos are hot, if you wish a combination of both can be used)
-2 dried chile pasillas
-15 dry "chile japones" or dry "chile de arbol" (optional I added them because I only had Chile California's and no Guajillos so I used them to make the sauce spicy)
-1/2 onion
-2 cloves garlic
-1 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1 teaspoon cumin
-1/2 teaspoon cloves
-1 heaping teaspoonful chicken bouillon

Ingredients to prep cactus:
-8-12 cactus pads cleaned, washed, thorns removed, julienned
-2 cloves garlic
-1/4 onion
-2-3 teaspoons salt (to taste)

(1) Prep your sauce, get a medium pot, fill with water and leave on high until it comes to a boil, meanwhile remove stem from all dry chilies, and remove the seeds and veins from the California chilies, pasillas, BUT NOT from the "chile de arbol" or "chile japones" leave those whole but without stem. When water is boiling add all the dry chilies, stir well, let boil about 1 minute then turn off heat and cover. Allow to rest 10- 20 minutes. Set aside.

(2) While the chilies are soaking, I got a hot griddle heated it on high, then put a small layer of aluminum, I lowered to medium high and charred 1/2 an onion, and the 2 garlic cloves for the sauce. When blackened and fragrant on some sides, peel and set aside. (this is optional you can use them raw) (yes i have been multi- tasking I have to for this recipe)

(3) After chilies have soaked, add them to a blender, with the liquid they cooked in, along with the onion, garlic, cumin, black pepper, cloves, and chicken bouillon.

(4) Heat a pot on very high heat if you wish you can coat the bottom of the pot with oil or lard but that is optional I did heat some lard in the pot and when the pot is very very hot, strain the blended sauce in, bring to a rolling boil and thin out with some water or more of the cooking liquid if necessary (the sauce should be as thick or thin as you'd like so it's a matter of preference how much liquid u add). When sauce boils turn off and leave pot alone.

(5) Now prep your cactus, in a pot boil water with 2 garlic cloves, 1/4 onion, and salt, add cactus and boil until tender uncovered about 10 minutes, drain well and set aside, discard onion, and garlic. Set aside.

(6) Now prep your fritters, have a plate with paper towels to drain the fritters. Now beat egg whites to a stick peak, beat egg yolks back in 1 at a time, beat in 2 tablespoons flour a little at a time, along with 1 teaspoon black pepper. Now fold in shrimp powder.
(7) Heat enough oil to deep-fry or pan-fry (at least 1 inch of oil) on medium high, and fry the shrimp fritter batter by large scoop sized I used a large kitchen spoon, brown on one side then flip and brown on the other, set aside on plate to drain. When all are done, set aside.

(8) Now putting this dish together, bring your red sauce to a boil, add cactus that's already prepped, cooked and drained, when it comes back to a boil, slowly add shrimp fritters one at a time, they will float up and most of the cactus will stay at the bottom. Allow to simmer 3-5 minutes. Taste red sauce for salt add more if needed ( I doubt it) then turn off and cover.

(9) Serve with fresh tortillas alone, or with beans. If you wish a Mexican red rice. It's up to you.

-The shrimp powder is very salty, so salt the sauce towards the end after the shrimps fritters simmer in the sauce a bit, if it needs more than add, but don't add too much as they sit their flavor and salt will infuse into the sauce more.

-I made the red sauce without tomatoes this time, because they aren't necessary and I didn't have any, but if you wish 2 ripe Roma tomatoes can be simmered together with the chilies.


tinyskillet said...

Another interesting dish! I love all these homemade recipes that mom used to make. Thank you for sharing them.

We bought some cactus and are going to try them tonight. My daughter is game for it. I didn't get too many, we don't know if we like it yet. They were a little pricey in my opinion, compared to all the other good veggie they had. The tomatillos were cheap.

Nathan said...

At the store they can be pricey (like 2 dollars for 1.5 lbs, if bought prepared) however our friend gives us a ton of cactus from her plant which is producing a lot lately. So it's free luckily.

If you buy them un-prepared (with the spines and all) they are usually cheap.

I'm glad you take interest in them though let me know how you prepare them and like them :)they have a grassy citrusy almost limey taste that's how I would describe them.

momgateway said...

your dishes are so appetizing, I wish I lived close by to sample them or get the unique ingredients you use.

YayaOrchid said...

Nathan! My computer is in the shop and I'm using a very slow laptop for now. Had to pop in and say hello and I find your wonderful recipe! This is exactly how I make it myself. Happens to be my favorite nopalito recipe! And oh yes, always with a side of Mexican rice. I love your tutorials, they're so clear and easy to follow.

¿Gusta Usted? said...

Nathan qué delicia, yo tambien tengo una receta en mi blog muy parecida a la tuya, la fui a ver y todas las imagenes desaparecidas La tengo que arreglar.

Que no pudiste ver el estofado de pollo, tengo 2 recetas en mi blog
Tal vez falló Blogger o ve tu a saber, pero puedes volver cuando quieras!


Unknown said...

Nathan, anxiously awaiting your next post and recipe! LOL!

Nathan said...

I'm sorry I've been so busy with school finals that I haven't had time to post, but I'll get something in probably before the end of this week :) if not early next week :) maybe another "Nopalito" recipe :)

IDania said...

You don't stop to amaze me with all these delicious recipes!!!!

¿Gusta Usted? said...

Nathan, puse un enlace de la receta original del estofado de pollo, la que andaba perdida, en la la que está puesta ahorita, que es rápida y en olla de presión, si quieres ir a verla.


El taller de Curra - Cartonnage said...

Fantastic and interesting blog..!!!! all my compliments..!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Nate. I'm gonna try this one!! your awesome for sharing

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this recipe! Growing up as kids, my mom made this same recipe during Lent. My mom didn't like anything fishy so she used Kellogg's Corn Flakes instead of the dried shrimp. It tasted just like what we remember. thank you!

Unknown said...

Gracias! A mi esposo le encanto y creo que lo que mas me facino fueron las fotos! XOXOXOXOXO Maria de California...

Nathan said...

Lemme know how it turns out :)

Sounds very interesting, sometimes my mother makes a different version that she makes using a combination of some fresh shrimp with dried shrimp so she won't have an overpowering fish taste.

Me alegra que le aya encantado a tu esposo :) se me olvido poner en la receta pero si quieres le puedes meter unos 3-4 jitomates maduros a la salsa de chile colorado para que quede la salsa con un sabor mas fresco y jugoso. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe. What amazed me the most is to see a young man so in tune with food, also how clear, accurate and easy to follow you've made this recipe for us.

Amanda Jaime said...

I'm American and my husband is from Mexico . I made this And it reminds my husband of how his mom use to make it! But mine came out very very dark.? Would that be the Pasilla chiles? But it was still great! Will make it many more times. I am going to make a lot of your Mexican recipes to show my husbands family that us white girls can cook too! I'm mixed white and Mexican but I'm not in touch with my Latina cooking skills! Hopefully your recipes will help! Much love

Nathan said...

It was possibly the Pasillas that made it darker. However if you didn't use tomato that was another reason. To be completely honest I just didn't use tomato in this recipe because I didn't have it, but if you do use it, it gives the dish some moisture I think. Basically the "Chile Colorado" is a mother suace in MExican cooking once you know how to make it, you can cook alot of MExican dishes (Chilaquiles, and anything with a name that ends in "Chile Colorado" lol.) You can make the sauce by just using about 12- 15 "Chile Californias" or a combination of those with Guajillo if you like spicier. Btw I'm glad I can be of some help, feel free to comment or email me whenever :)

Chica Regia said...

¡Muchas gracias por tu receta! Yo JAMAS aprendí a cocinar (ni a hacer nada mas de la casa) pero definitivamente reconozco el sabor casero de mi mamá y es super difícil encontrar comida mexicana preparada de la misma manera (aunque este sabrosa... no sabe igual). Esta cuaresma me decidí a que si no lo puedo encontrar lo tendré que hacer en casa y tu receta es, bueno parece ser porque obvio cuando mi mamá cocinaba yo huía de la cocina y andaba por ahi hechando novios... en fin que parece ser exactamente lo que a veces veía yo que estaba haciendo. Así que gracias de nuevo. Otra cosa más... en mi casa (y solamente he visto eso en casa de mi mamá y sus hermanas mis tías tan chulas) mi mama usa esta misma salsa (o una similar de chilito colorado) pero en vez de tortitas le pone a los nopalitos camarones y huevos revueltos - y la salsa luego es mas espesita...

Anonymous said...

We gave up on camarones because they soak up too much oil - can't tolerate it any more. So been wondering to put baking powder, flour, what? You answered. My recipe is a bit different - MIL would get the chile for me special from farmer & already ground up - also for chile colorado she taught me opposite of what you say - fry the garlic just long enough to impart flavor but take out before it bubbles and crisps or it will make sauce bitter - and it does seem to work that way for me. But I know others who do as you do - tasty - no problem. Thanks!