Shrimp Tamale Casserole with Three Sisters Black Mole

January/February 2009

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This version of tamales, made into a casserole rather than little cornhusk-wrapped bundles, can be whipped up in minutes and has the same great taste and texture of traditional tamales. It's filled with shrimp here, but this is a forgiving recipe that works well stuffed with whatever you like. Quick-cooking seafood, such as scallops, cheese or even some of the mole also make great fillings. Serve the casserole topped with Three Sisters Black Mole or your favorite salsa. Adapted from Chef Jesùs González, of La Cocina Que Canta at Rancho La Puerta.

"This was very yummy! I did not make the salsa but made the recipe exactly as is, except I used fresh thyme and added two jalapenos with the seeds chopped up. I then topped with fresh chipotle salsa from my farmers market. Soooo yummy! I...
Shrimp Tamale Casserole with Three Sisters Black Mole

Makes: 9 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 2 cups masa, (see Note)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2-2 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, (see Note), peeled, deveined and chopped
  • 1 1/8 cups Three Sisters Black Mole, (recipe follows)

This recipe calls for:


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Put a kettle of water on to heat for the water bath. Coat an 8-inch-square baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk masa, oregano, baking powder, thyme, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add 2 cups water and beat with an electric mixer until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is the consistency of thick pancake batter. Add oil and butter. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and continue beating, scraping down the sides, for 4 minutes more.
  3. Spread half the batter in the prepared baking dish. Evenly scatter shrimp on top, then cover with the remaining batter, smoothing it evenly to the sides. Place the baking dish in a larger pan, transfer to the oven and pour boiling water into the larger pan to about halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Cover both pans with a piece of foil. Bake until set, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Serve each portion with 2 tablespoons Three Sisters Black Mole, or to taste.

Tips & Notes

  • Notes: Masa is ground dried corn treated with lime, sometimes called masa harina or instant masa mix; it is used for making tamales and tortillas. Look for it near flour or in the international section of supermarkets or at Mexican grocers.
  • Shrimp is usually sold by the number needed to make one pound. For example, “21-25 count” means there will be 21 to 25 shrimp in a pound. Size names, such as “large” or “extra large,” are not standardized. In recipes calling for a specific count, order by the count (or number) per pound to be sure you're getting the size you want.
  • To peel shrimp, grasp the legs and hold onto the tail while you twist off the shell. Save the shells to make a tasty stock: Simmer, in enough water to cover, for 10 minutes, then strain. The “vein” running along a shrimp's back (technically the dorsal surface, opposite the legs) under a thin layer of flesh is really its digestive tract.
  • To devein shrimp, use a paring knife to make a slit along the length of the shrimp. Under running water, remove the tract with the knife tip.


Per serving: 273 calories; 13 g fat (3 g sat, 6 g mono); 83 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrates; 14 g protein; 3 g fiber; 474 mg sodium; 237 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Iron & Vitamin A (15% daily value).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 lean meat, 2 fat

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Recipe Categories

Total Time
More than 1 hour
8 or more
Main Ingredient
Preparation/ Technique

Cinco de Mayo
Ease of Preparation
January/February 2009
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