This Shrimp Aguachile Recipe (Aguachile de Camarón) is made with by blending jalapeños, limes, cilantro, which is poured over the shrimp and served with cucumber and onion.
Aguachile is a popular Mexican dish that originated in the coastal regions of Mexico, particularly in the states of Sinaloa and Nayarit. It is a type of ceviche, which is a dish made with raw fish or seafood that is marinated in citrus juice, typically lime or lemon juice, which "cooks" the fish or seafood without using heat.
Camarón in spanish means shrimp! Another one of my favorite Mexican appetizers. I used to absolutely love going to Los Mariscos in Chelsea Market on a hot Sunday afternoon in NYC to get to either eat this dish. Every plate cost about $20, so I thought, why not make my own and save? Eating Aguachile is not eating raw shrimp - the shrimp actually cooks in the lime juice!
What is Aguachile?
Aguachile typically consists of fresh, raw seafood, such as shrimp or fish, that is marinated in a tangy sauce made with lime or lemon juice, chili peppers, salt, and sometimes other seasonings such as cilantro, onion, and cucumber. The dish is often served chilled and can be spicy, tangy, and refreshing, making it a popular dish for hot weather.
The name "aguachile" translates to "chile water" in English, which refers to the spicy, tangy marinade that the seafood is soaked in. Aguachile is known for its bold flavors and is often enjoyed as a ceviche-style appetizer or main course. It is a popular dish in coastal regions of Mexico and has gained popularity in other parts of the world as well due to its delicious and refreshing taste.
Aguachile Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Red onion
See recipe card for Shrimp Aguachile Recipe (Aguachile de Camarón) quantities.
How to make Aguachile
Blend the jalapeños, limes, cilantro and salt in a blender.
Put the peeled shrimp in a bowl and pour the juice on it. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
After 30 minutes or marinating, feel free to flip the shrimp to the other side so it will cook. Meanwhile, add the sliced onions in cold water to take away the strong taste.
Take the bowl out of the refrigerator and assort the cucumber between the shrimp. Top with red onions and add the avocado on the side.
What to serve with Aguachile
- Tostadas: Crispy corn tostadas are a popular choice to serve alongside aguachile. They provide a crunchy contrast to the soft texture of the marinated seafood and add an additional layer of flavor. Check out my Tuna Tostada Recipe.
- Saltine crackers or tortilla chips: These can be served as a crunchy and salty option for scooping up the aguachile, similar to how you might enjoy chips and salsa.
- Avocado: Creamy slices of avocado can complement the tangy and spicy flavors of aguachile, adding richness and creaminess to each bite.
- Mexican-style Salsas: Serving different types of salsas, such as salsa verde or pico de gallo, can add additional layers of flavor and heat to your meal, enhancing the overall dining experience.
- Cold Beer or Margaritas: Aguachile pairs well with cold beer or my Tamarind Margarita Recipe, as they can help balance the spicy and tangy flavors of the dish with their refreshing and complementary tastes.
- Shrimp: For the best quality aguachile, you will need the freshest shrimp possible. The shrimp is cooked in the lime juice so you won't want to risk eating old shrimp.
- Jalapeño: You can substitute jalapeños but using serrano peppers. They both work. I have even tried this dish with habaneros as well, if you can handle the spice.
- Limes: You will need to use lime juice from actual limes, and not store bought, for the shrimp cooking process.
- Cilantro: This is the key ingredient. If you hate cilantro, it is okay to omit.
- Onions: The traditional onion to use is a red onion. Once you slice them, put them in cold water for 10 minutes to take away the strong taste before serving.
- Avocado: I love using a sliced avocado on the side, although this isn't typically traditional.
- Cucumber: I like to peel and slice the cucumbers and assort them between the shrimp. It makes the plate pretty!
Aguachile Recipe Variations
- Shrimp Aguachile: This is the most traditional and popular version of aguachile, made with fresh raw shrimp. The shrimp is typically marinated in lime or lemon juice, along with a sauce made from pureed chili peppers, garlic, salt, and sometimes other ingredients like cilantro, onion, or cucumber. The result is a tangy, spicy, and flavorful dish.
- Fish Aguachile: While shrimp is the most common seafood used in aguachile, fish can also be used. White fish fillets, such as snapper or halibut, can be thinly sliced and marinated in the lime or lemon juice, along with the chili pepper sauce and other seasonings. Fish aguachile has a milder flavor compared to shrimp aguachile, but it is still refreshing and delicious.
- Mixed Seafood Aguachile: Some recipes may combine different types of seafood, such as shrimp, fish, and scallops, in the aguachile marinade for a variety of flavors and textures. This can add depth and complexity to the dish, and allow for a creative twist on the traditional recipe.
Check out this Chicken and Shrimp Fajitas.
- Cutting Board: A sturdy cutting board is essential for safely chopping and preparing the ingredients for aguachile, such as the seafood, chili peppers, and vegetables.
- Sharp Knife: A sharp knife is important for cutting and slicing the ingredients, including the seafood, chili peppers, and other vegetables, into thin, uniform pieces.
- Mixing Bowl: A large mixing bowl is needed to combine the lime or lemon juice, chili pepper sauce, and other seasonings to create the aguachile marinade. A glass or stainless steel bowl is ideal for acidic ingredients like citrus juice.
- Blender or Food Processor (optional): If you're making a chili pepper sauce from scratch, you may need a blender or food processor to puree the chili peppers, garlic, and other ingredients into a smooth sauce.
- Measuring Spoons: Measuring spoons are useful for accurately measuring the lime or lemon juice, salt, and other seasonings in the aguachile marinade.
- Serving Dish: A shallow serving dish or platter is typically used to present the aguachile for serving. It should be large enough to accommodate the marinated seafood and other ingredients.
- Plastic Wrap or Cling Film (optional): Covering the aguachile with plastic wrap or cling film can help to seal in the flavors and prevent cross-contamination in the refrigerator while marinating.
- Refrigerator: A refrigerator is needed to chill the aguachile and allow the flavors to meld together during the marinating process.
How to store Aguachile
- Transfer to a Clean, Airtight Container: After making aguachile, transfer any leftovers to a clean, airtight container. This will help to keep the flavors intact and prevent any cross-contamination with other foods in the refrigerator.
- Cover the Aguachile: If possible, cover the aguachile with a plastic wrap or cling film directly touching the surface of the dish. This will help to prevent oxidation and keep the aguachile fresh.
- Store in the Refrigerator: Place the covered aguachile in the refrigerator and store it for no more than 24 hours. Aguachile is best when consumed within the same day it is made to maintain its freshness and quality.
- Do Not Freeze Aguachile: Due to its delicate raw seafood and fresh ingredients, aguachile is not suitable for freezing. Freezing can affect the texture and flavor of the dish, resulting in a loss of quality.
- Add Garnishes Freshly: If you have leftover aguachile that you wish to store, it's best to add any garnishes, such as cilantro, onion, or avocado, freshly before serving. These ingredients can lose their freshness and texture when stored for long periods of time.
- Use Safe Food Handling Practices: When handling and storing aguachile, it's important to practice safe food handling practices, such as washing your hands thoroughly before handling food, using clean utensils and containers, and refrigerating promptly to minimize the risk of foodborne illness.
Aguachile Recipe Top tips
- Use Fresh and High-Quality Ingredients: Aguachile relies on fresh and high-quality ingredients, especially the seafood. Use the freshest seafood available to ensure the best flavor and texture in your aguachile.
- Adjust Spice Level to Your Preference: Aguachile can be quite spicy due to the use of chili peppers. Adjust the amount and type of chili peppers to your preferred spice level. You can use milder chili peppers or remove the seeds and membranes to reduce the heat.
- Be Mindful of Food Safety: Since aguachile uses raw seafood, it's important to follow proper food safety practices. Ensure that your seafood is fresh, properly cleaned, and handled safely to prevent foodborne illnesses.
- Marinate for Optimal Flavor: Marinating the seafood in the aguachile marinade is key to developing the flavors. Allow the seafood to marinate for at least 15-30 minutes, or as specified in the recipe, to let the flavors meld together.
- Use Fresh Citrus Juice: Freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice is preferred for aguachile, as it provides the best flavor and acidity. Avoid using bottled citrus juice, as it may have a different flavor and acidity level.
- Garnish Just Before Serving: Garnishes such as cilantro, onion, and avocado are often used in aguachile to add freshness and texture. Add these garnishes just before serving to maintain their freshness and prevent them from becoming soggy.
- Serve Chilled: Aguachile is typically served chilled, so refrigerate it for some time before serving to let the flavors meld together and to achieve the desired temperature.
- Experiment with Variations: Aguachile is a versatile dish that can be customized to your liking. Feel free to experiment with different types of seafood, chili peppers, and seasonings to create your own unique aguachile variation.
- Enjoy it Fresh: Aguachile is best when consumed fresh, so aim to serve and enjoy it as soon as possible after making it for the best flavor and texture.
- Presentation Matters: Aguachile is a visually appealing dish, so take some time to plate it nicely and make it visually appealing. Consider arranging the marinated seafood, garnishes, and other ingredients in an attractive way to enhance the overall dining experience.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove