Torillitas de Camarones or Fried Shrimp Cakes are almost exclusively found in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia as they are made using a particular type of shrimp, called Camarones, which is found in the region of Cádiz. However, just because you won't find these shrimp fritters in a Spain guide to food, doesn't mean they are not delicious! In fact, many people who visit Cádiz or other locations in the South of Spain always rave about them.
Normally, Tortillitas de Camarones are accompanied by some small sides such as sun-dried tomatoes or a salad. However it is also common to see them served as a tapa, especially in the bars and restaurants of Andalusia, especially in the coastal areas of Sanlúcar de Barrameda and San Fernando in the province of Cádiz.
The dish actually originates from the 'Las Callejuelas' zone of the San Fernando area of the city of Cádiz. This zone is close to the marshy coastline where the Camarones are found. Even today, you can still see a few fishermen's stands dotted around Cádiz, selling Camarones in order to be used as live bait for fishing.
The Camarones normally used in the recipe come from Cádiz and are cooked whole because they are so small. These tiny shrimps shouldn't be confused with the larger varieties found in other regions, although you can always use them in the recipe if you can't find authentic Cádiz shrimps.
An interesting fact is that if you were thinking of making these while visiting Andalusia or the Canary Islands, you would call these shrimps 'camarones', a word which is also used in some parts of Latin America. Meanwhile in the rest of Spain, those of you who study Spanish abroad should know, shrimps are called 'gambas'.
A few tips for this recipe. Chickpea flour is the traditional and most authentic flour for the recipe but it is also very difficult to find. However, fortunately, normal, plain flour works as well. The batter should be very thin, the optimum viscosity being just a little bit thicker than milk. Also, when you get round to frying the shrimp fritters, only do a couple of them at a time so as to make sure that the temperature of the oil doesn't drop too low. If the oil is too cold, the fritters will just absorb all the oil rather than cooking in them. The final tip is that as soon as you have fried them then you should eat them as they will be perfectly crispy and tasty.