For today’s recipe, I will be making authentic Mexican Aguachile Verde. This is an extremely easy fresh shrimp salad to make, similar to ceviche. However, it takes less time, and personally, it has a lot more fresh flavors!
Try this salad with fresh avocado slices and tostadas. It also goes very well with some tequila (or tequila-based cocktails) and a cold beer!
What Is Aguachile Verde?
Aguachile directly translates to “chile water” in Spanish. It’s a traditional western Mexican dish that originated in Sinaloa. It is made with a combination of shrimp, raw cucumbers, and fresh or pickled red onion slices. the shrimp is marinated in a delicious and surprisingly refreshing chili-lime-cilantro dressing.
This is a raw shrimp salad, meaning it doesn’t get cooked at any point. So, as you can imagine, choosing the freshest shrimp is crucial.
How To Choose The Freshest Shrimp
Fresh shrimp should be intact. They should still have their shells, legs, and heads on. For Aguachile Verde, it’s crucial you choose the freshest shrimp possible.
Your fresh shrimp should also not smell fishy. This is the first and easiest way to tell if you are working with fresh shrimp. If it smells fishy, it shouldn’t be used at all (for fresh or cooked shrimp dishes).
Fresh shrimp smells salty and like clean seawater.
You can also look at the appearance of the shrimp. It should have a bright color (even if the color is a pale shade of pink and orange). The surface of the shrimp should also be uniform and blemish-free (including any bruises).
The shell and head should also not be slimy in any way! If the shrimp are kept on ice, they naturally will be wet. But, again, it shouldn’t be slimy or juicy.
You can also feel the shrimp. Their flesh should be very firm (not rubbery) and they shouldn’t be mushy.
Never buy prepared “fresh” shrimp. Rather clean it yourself.
How To Choose The Best Frozen Shrimp For Aguachile Verde
The best indication that frozen shrimp will give you if it’s bad is a smell. It shouldn’t smell like rotting eggs, ammonia, iodine, chlorine, or a smelly fish. These are all common smells of rotting frozen shrimp.
Other than that, you can check the inside of the box. If you see any frozen shrimp juices, it means that the shrimp were thawed and re-frozen. It could also indicate that the shrimp has gone bad.
Some really off-frozen shrimp boxes will even show indications of mold. You can also just check the use-by date, but always make sure the contents are fresh. The date isn’t an indication that the frozen shrimp was stored correctly.
Tips For Making Mexican Aguachile Verde
- I don’t recommend buying frozen shrimp for this recipe. because you serve it raw, frozen shrimp won’t have a good texture or super fresh flavor. It is best to buy fresh shrimp if it is possible at all.
- If you do buy frozen shrimp, take a look at the section above to buy the best option you possibly can.
- If you’d like to you can remove the cucumber seeds from the cucumber sliced you add them as garnish. I personally love the juiciness they add, but many people don’t like the flavor and texture of this part.
- This salad should be served fresh. You shouldn’t store any leftovers for longer than a day. And, for as much as you can, keep the shrimp salad inside the fridge.
Is Aguachile Verde served raw?
This is a fresh shrimp salad. The shrimp doesn’t get cooked at all and neither does any of the accompanying ingredients. That’s why it is very important to choose fresh shrimp and make sure that you clean them well.
Is Aguachile the same as Ceviches?
These two dishes are very similar but they are not the same. Ceviche only marinates in lime juice but is left there for a long time. Aguachile, on the other hand, is simply tossed in the seasoning liquid and served immediately.
Is Aguachile Verde healthy?
This is a surprisingly healthy dish. It is filled with fish protein, healthy oils, and a ton of vitamins and minerals from the red onion and cucumbers. You can also substitute the shrimp with prawns if you’d like.
More Healthy Salads
Aguachile Verde Recipe – A Traditional Mexican Raw Shrimp Salad
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 small red onion, peeled and sliced
- Sea salt flakes, to taste
- Freshly squeezed black pepper, to taste
- 2 serrano chilies, deseeded and chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, washed and picked
- 1 large cucumber, sliced and halved
- Olive oil
- 1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
Clean your shrimp
- If you haven't bought pre-cleaned shrimp, make sure to do so before assembling your Aguachile Verde.
- To start, wash the shrimp under cold running water.
- Then, cut a slit along the back of the shrimp (on the top shell from head to tail).
- Carefully pull out the vein and discard it completely.
- Then, peel the shell and head off the rest of the shrimp.
- Rinse the cleaned shrimp meat again and leave it in cold icy water until you are ready to use it.
Prepare the red onion pickle
- Once the shrimp has been prepared, you can prepare the other ingredients too.
- Combine the lime juice with a pinch of salt and the red onion slices. Give the ingredients a good stir. Cover the bowl and rest it inside the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
- Once the onions have pickled, strain the liquid out. Place the strained lime liquid in a blender. Then place the pickled onions back in the fridge to remain cold.
Make the seasoning liquid
- Add some salt and pepper to the lime liquid in the blender. Add the serrano chilies, garlic, freshly picked cilantro leaves, a tablespoon of red pickled onions, and 3 tablespoons of cucumber slices.
- Blend these ingredients together very well until you have a uniform, lump-free liquid.
Assemble your Aguachile Verde
- Drain the shrimp from the cold water and pat them dry. Add them into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the pickled red onions and seasoning liquid to the shrimp. Add the remaining fresh cucumber slices.
- Toss the ingredients together very well to make sure all the flavors are evenly distributed.
- Season the fresh shrimp salad with sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper.
- Serve it immediately with some fresh avocado slices and additional fresh cilantro leaves.