A very traditional main course to serve during both the Lenten and the Advent/Christmas seasons in Mexico is called “Revoltijo”, which literally translates as “jumble.” The name is a fair description of a stew with potatoes, fresh Mexican vegetables, shrimp and dry shrimp patties, all simmering in a rich red mole sauce. Back in Mexico, I was able to eat this dish only at home, since I am allergic to shrimp (crustaceans in general – I know, so sad); my mom would omit the shrimp, and make patties with small dry fish. Here in Canada, in my region anyway, it used to be hard to find ingredients for mole, and jarred paste could be found only at remote international stores in Toronto; as for the Mexican vegetables, paddle cacti (nopales) were found only canned, and a pot herb called “romeritos” (Suaeda spp), was completely unknown. In addition, with one of my daughters becoming a vegetarian, there was no motivation to try to adapt this recipe for my Canadian kitchen.
In recent years, I have posted about making red mole at home, learning a lesson on how to clean fresh paddle cactus now found at a local international market in my city, and how I grew salsola (Salsola komarovii), a plant from the same botanical family as romeritos.
Skipping the shrimp, the only task remaining was to prepare tasty patties, without seafood. The original recipe calls for dry shrimp, peeled and ground; this meal is then mixed in an egg batter. I decided to use nutritional yeast, which I have mentioned before as a great vegan condiment; its flaky texture and rich flavour were just perfect as a substitute for the shrimp meal. Some people add bread crumbs to the batter, so I used some to supplement the nutritional yeast, mainly as a thickener.
Shrimp-less Patties – Tortitas sin camarón
4 eggs; egg whites and yolks separated
¼ cup bread crumbs
½ cup nutritional yeast
Oil; for frying
Beat egg whites until white and firm (photo below, left); continue mixing, while adding the egg yolks, one at a time (photo below, right):
Continue mixing until a creamy, uniform mix is obtained (photo below, left); sprinkle bread crumbs and nutritional yeast on top, and gently fold into the eggs (photo below, right):
Warm up oil (enough to cover the bottom of a frying pan) over medium heat; scoop batter onto the frying pan, about two tablespoons at a time (photo below, left); allow to cook until golden brown, then flip to brown the other side (photo below, right):
Remove patties with a spatula onto a plate lined with paper towels. This batch made twelve patties:
These patties were so good; fluffy, crispy, and flavourful! When I made this batch, back in the fall, circumstances did not collaborate and I did not have time to prepare the mole and veggies for revoltijo, so I served them with a side of Swiss Chard and Potatoes in Green Sauce, another recipe that I posted about around the same time:
I made my revoltijo afterwards, with a second batch of patties, which were equally fluffy and delicious, great for soaking up all that mole on the plate:
I was hoping to share this post and the recipe for revoltijo in early December, on time for the Advent/Christmas season, but due to a family emergency, I was in Mexico and did not get a chance. In my next post, I will finally share my recipe, which is still timely for this Lenten season.
FUN FACT: In the past, Advent (the four Sundays before Christmas Day) was a time of penance, prayer and fasting, in anticipation of the twelve days of the Christmas season, beginning on December 25th. Similar to the Lenten season before Easter, people would give up eating rich food and meat, and that is the reason why in Mexico, the two most traditional dishes to eat on Christmas Eve and during the Holy Week (before Easter Sunday) are the same, and they are both meatless. Revoltijo is one them, and the other is a salted-cod stew (Bacalao a la Veracruzana or a la Vizcaina.)
Note: If regular shrimp patties are to be prepared, follow the recipe using either 1/2 a cup of shrimp meal (made from dry shrimp, peeled, heads removed, and ground) instead of nutritional yeast, or 3/4 of a cup of shrimp meal, omitting both nutritional yeast and bread crumbs.
I am bringing my recipe to Thursday Favourite Things #432 with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.