My hubby’s abuelita, who I’ve adopted as my own, is always more than happy for us to help preserve what is culturally significant- her Mexican recipes.
On a spontaneous visit to Chicago’s La Villita (Little Village) with our camera intended to snap numerous photos at the Green City Market earlier that morning, we ended up nabbing more photos of Taquitos de Camarones than anything else that day.
I’m so happy to be able to share the simple, delicate process of making this dish so favored in our family and among many Mexicanos. Abuelita says it’s not specific to any region- just popular all over Mexico. If you eat shrimp, I think you’ll be able to see just why.
Taquitos de Camarones
(Little Shrimp Tacos)
1.5 cups queso fresco (Fresh Mexican Cheese), crumbled. You could also use feta or another fresh, crumbly cheese.
½ red onion, diced
1 bag of camarones secos (whole, dried shrimp), which should contain about 30 medium-size shrimp and cost around $5.00
2 medium-size chile ancho (dried poblano pepper)
9 small to medium size tomatillos (small green tomatoes)
1 pack corn tortillas (12-pack)
Light cooking oil
½ bunch chopped fresh cilantro, or to taste
1. Crumble the queso fresco directly into a bowl and add diced red onion. Mix gently and set aside.
2. Heat shrimp on a comal, turning frequently to warm and brown each side, approximately 15-20 minutes. A cast-iron grill pan will also work just fine.
3. Meanwhile boil chile ancho with tomatillo in a saucepan, with water to cover, approximately 15-20 minutes. This step helps to rehydrate the chiles, soften the skins of the tomatillos and to give the red color of the chiles over to the tomatillos.
4. When the shrimp are finished, remove from comal and cool for a few moments. Remove the chile/tomatillo mixture from heat, take out of water and allow to cool.
5. Remove heads (cabezas), eyes, shells and tails (colitas) from shrimp.
Add to blender and pulverize without adding any liquid. If you must add liquid, add tsp. by tsp. so as not to turn the shrimp to mush.
6. Remove stems and seeds from chiles. You can remove skins from tomatillos if you like, but it is optional. In a blender, mix the chiles with the tomatillos whole and 1 cup of water.
7. In a large bowl, add the pulverized shrimp to the chile/tomatillo mixture.
8. Heat ½ Tb. oil on comal/grill pan. When warmed, wet one tortilla with this oil- do not fry!
9. Dip the tortillas into chile-shrimp mixture, covering each side well.
10. Fill with queso-red onion mixture and roll into long, fluted shapes.
11. Top with fresh cilantro or more of the queso and onion mix.
*Repeat this entire process with the remaining tortillas, chile-shrimp mixture and queso-red onion mixture.
12. If the dish is cold by the time you finish filling all the taquitos (small, rolled tacos), you can re-heat for several minutes in the oven or a minute or two in a microwave.