Shrimp and Cactus Torta


  • 1 1/2 pounds cactus
  • 1 onion (1/4 to cook the cactus, and 1/2 onion for the salsa)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 12 california chilis
  • cilantro
  • 3 oz whole dried shrimp
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 slices of bread (I used white bread but any type of sandwich bread would work)
  • 3 medium white potatoes
  • canola oil (1 cup+ 5 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 whole allspice
  • 6 cups water


  1. Preheat 5 cups of water in a medium saucepan
  2. Prepare you chilis by cutting of the stem with scissors and removing the veins and seeds from them
  3. Rinse the chilis under water ensuring to remove any dirt
  4. Once the water starts boiling place the chilis into the pot and cook for 5 minutes
  5. Cut the cactus into strips and place into a medium pot
  6. Add 2 peeled garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 bunch of cilantro, 1 cup of water, 1/4 onion (whole)
  7. At this point your chilis will probably be done cooking so remove off the heat
  8. Cook the cactus on medium heat for 30 minutes (stir periodically)
  9. In the meantime snap off the heads off the dried shrimp
  10. Toast 3 sandwich breads with a toaster
  11. Preheat a pan on medium heat and roast the peppers onto the pan for 2-3 minutes
  12. Cube the potatoes and cook on a pan with 1 tablespoon of oil and cook until the potatoes are soft
  13. Grind the shrimp by placing into a blender and pour out into a small bowl(you can also just buy premade ground shrimp)
  14. Blend 1 toast to get a fine breadcrumb mixture
  15. At this point your cactus may be done so drain out the water and let sit
  16. To make the sauce add your cooked peppers, broth from the peppers, 2 tablespoons of shrimp powder, 2 garlic cloves, 2 allspice, 1/2 tsp cumin, and 2 toasted breads (making sure to blend in small increments)
  17. At this point the potatoes are usually done so remove off heat
  18. Dice 1/4 of an onion
  19. In a pot add 2 tablespoons of oil and preheat on medium heat
  20. Add the diced onions and cook for 2 minutes
  21. Add the cactus and cook for 10 minutes
  22. Add the potatoes and stir to incorporate
  23. Add the sauce and lower the flame to low heat
  24. Bring the mixture to a boil and prepare the tortas in the meantime
  25. Preheat 1 cup of oil in a pot
  26. In a large bowl add the egg whites of 4 eggs into a bowl (set aside the yolks but don’t throw away)
  27. Whisk until the mixture reaches firm peaks and you can turn the bowl upside down without it falling out
  28. Then add all the yolks 2 at a time making sure to incorporate on low speed
  29. Slowly add the grinded shrimp and blended bread crumbs on low speed in small increments
  30. Add this mixture into the oil with a spoon and fry until golden brown on both sides (usually 2 minutes each side)
  31. Set tortas on a plate with a napkin to drain some of the oil
  32. Once the sauce boils add the tortas into the sauce and let cook for 2 more minutes adding some chopped cilantro (about 1 tbsp)
  33. Turn off the heat and enjoy!