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Martina's Cactus Shrimp Soup

1993 Fall Food Festival at Peaceable Kingdom School proved especially popular, though all have earned plaudits for Zenaida Alejandro, the school's food and beverage manager. Zenaida credits her mother, Martina, the school's head gardener, for the Cactus Shrimp Soup recipe. For the Rose Petal Pound Cake, the school's extensive rose garden yields the petals. Festival-goers also enjoyed Zenaida's way with such dishes as Day Lily Soup, Wild Greens Salad with Edible Flowers, Yaupon Coffee, Pickled Purslane, Herb Bread, Herbal Iced Tea, and Cilantro Pesto.

Serves 10-12.

  • 5 eggs 
  • 3/4 oz. dried ground shrimp 
  • 2 T. cooking oil 
  • 1 2-lbs. bag of processed cactus, rinsed and diced 
  • 1 16-oz. can whole tomatoes, chopped 
  • 1 c. cilantro leaves, packed 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped 
  • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 6 c. water 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
Separate egg whites and yolks. Whip the egg whites until stiff, add the yolks and ground shrimp, and stir well. Form the mixture into two omelet-like patties and fry in hot oil. Cut the patties into julienne strips. Set aside. In a four-quart pot, mix remaining ingredients except the egg strips and cilantro. Cook 10 minutes, add egg strips and cilantro, and simmer 30 minutes on low heat. 
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