Oaxaca white beans with dried shrimp: Frijoles blancos con camaron seco

articles Food & Cuisine Recipes

Karen Hursh Graber

This recipe for white beans with dried shrimp from the southern Pacific coast of Oaxaca is adapted from Susana Trilling’s wonderful regional cookbook, Seasons of My Heart. Use other beans, such as fava, and try substituting cilantro for the traditional hierba santa used in Oaxaca.


  • ½ pound whole dried shrimp, peeled, with heads removed and reserved
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 pound tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cups cooked or canned white beans
  • 2 fresh hierba santa leaves, or use cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Rinse the shrimp, soak them for 15 minutes in 2 cups water. Drain and rinse. Place the reserved heads in a blender with 1 cup water. Blend well and strain, reserving the liquid.

Heat the oil in a large pot, add the onion and sauté until it becomes transparent. Add the chopped garlic, continue cooking until soft. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking another 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the shrimp and shrimp head liquid. Simmer 20 minutes.

Add the cooked beans, with some of the bean broth if cooked from scratch, or water if using canned beans. The amount of liquid will depend on how soupy or thick you want the beans. Add the hierba santa and black pepper. Continue cooking for another 20-30 minutes. Taste for salt, although it shouldn’t need much.

Serve with salsa if desired. Males 9-10 servings.

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Published or Updated on: May 16, 2013 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2013
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