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Shrimp Tortillitas

Origin: Andalusia

Fried Shrimp Cakes

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.

Tortillitas de Camarones | Fried Shrimp Cakes


  • ½ lb small shrimp, peeled
  • 1½ cups chickpea flour or plain flour
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 scallions, white part and a bit of the green tops, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp sweet pimeton pepper
  • A pinch of salt
  • Enough Olive oil for deep frying
  • Serves 6


  • Put the small shrimp into a saucepan and then fill with enough water to cover the shrimp and bring to the boil over a high heat.
  • When the water begins to boil, lift out the shrimp from the saucepan using a slotted spoon and leave to one side to cool. Also scoop out 1 cup of the cooking water and leave to cool. The rest of the water can be discarded.
  • Once the shrimp have cooled, cover them and put them in the fridge until they are needed.
  • To make the batter, mix together the flour, parsley, scallions and pimeton either by hand or with a food processor. Then add a pinch of salt and the cup of cold cooking water.
  • Mix the batter until it is smooth and has a texture which is slightly thicker than milk. Cover the mixture and then put in the fridge for one hour.
  • Fried Shrimp Cakes
  • Take the shrimp out of the fridge. If you are using larger shrimps then you should mince them finely. In general, the pieces should be around the same size of coffee grounds.
  • Take the batter out of the fridge and then mix the shrimp into the batter.
  • Pour the olive oil into a heavy saucepan so that the depth is around 1 inch or 3 centimetres. Heat the oil over a large flame until it is almost smoking.
  • To make a fritter, take 1 tablespoon of the shrimp batter mixture and add it to the oil and immediately flatten the batter into a circle shape of around 8 or 9 centimetres (3½ inches) in diameter using the back of the spoon. Do not crowd the pan, so only do 2 or 3 fritters at a time.
  • Fry the tortillitas for about 1 minute on each side, or until they are golden in colour and crispy.
  • Remove the fritters from the oil using a slotted spoon, draining the excess oil over the pan. Then put them on a plate lined with paper towels so as to remove the excess oil even further.
  • While frying the other fritters, you can keep the ones you have already made warm in a low oven. The oil shout remain very hot for frying the other fritters.
  • Once all the fritters are fried and the excess oil removed, arrange and serve immediately to retain their crispiness.