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Masa Cakes with Shrimp, Refried Beans and Guacamole

December 27, 2011

I don’t feel like I get to go out for Mexican food nearly as much as I would like to (which would be all

shrimp and masa corn cakes

the time), so sometimes I just try to make what I’m craving.  This is a pretty fast version of crispy pan-fried corn masa cakes with refried beans, spiced shrimp and guacamole on top.  The corn cakes come from Martha Stewart and are quick to make, and getting the other ingredients ready is just as fast.  I served this with some cumin corn rice and black beans.


1 t olive oil

1 t Cajun seasoning

3/4 lb medium shrimp, peeled and detailed

For the corn cakes:

1 1/2 c masa harina

1/2 c all-purpose flour

1 t baking powder

1/2 t coarse salt

1/2 c grated cotija cheese (I substituted some shredded Monterrey Jack)

2 c coarsely chopped fresh or frozen corn kernels (about 2 ears) (I ground 1 c in the blender)

3/4 to 1 cup warm water (110 degrees)

4 – 6 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil, for frying

For serving:

1 15 oz can refried beans (black beans or pinto), heated


Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Fresh cilantro leaves


To make the corn cakes: Whisk together masa harina, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in cheese and corn kernels (I pureed half of the kernals and liked the way it turned out). Add water, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until mixture holds together.

Heat 1-2 T of oil in a cast-iron skillet or non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, scoop a heaping 1/2 cup mixture, and use your hands to shape into a patty, about 1/3 inch thick. Repeat with remaining mixture, forming 8 patties.  Working in batches of 4, fry patties, turning once, until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. If pan becomes dry, add 2 tablespoons oil for second batch. Cover patties with foil to keep warm, up to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil oil in a skillet and add the shrimp, sprinkling with Cajun seasoning.  Let sit in pan until first side is cooked, about 4 minutes, then flip shrimp to just cook through.

To serve, place 2 corn cakes on a plate.  Spread a spoonful of hot refried beans onto the corn cake, arrange 3 shrimp on top, then top with a scoop of guacamole and a sprinkling of cheese and cilantro.  Serve immediately.

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