For today’s recipe, I will be making the authentic and most flavorful Mexican appetizer 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. This fresh spicy dish 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 giving it light and bold flavors.
This easy recipe 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.
Why I Love This Mexican Recipe
1. Fresh and Refreshing: Aguachile Verde is an incredibly refreshing Mexican food, combining shrimp with a spicy green chile sauce that gives it an uplifting flavor.
2. Versatile Base Flavor: The core ingredients of Aguachile Verde makes the perfect base for many variations, making this recipe extremely versatile for different variations to suit individual tastes and preferences.
3. Perfect Accompaniment: This Mexican raw shrimp salad pairs perfectly with some tequila (or tequila-based cocktails) and cold beers, as well as avocado slices, tostadas, or tortilla chips!
4. Quick & Easy Preparation: Unlike other recipes requiring lengthy cooking times, this dish takes only 35 minutes to make! With minimal effort you can have delicious results in no time at all – what’s not to love?
5. Taste Of Mexico: What better way to experience the culture of Mexico than through its food? With the flavors of lime, cilantro, and chili combined in one unique traditional Mexican dish – you won’t be disappointed!
How To Choose The Freshest Shrimp
Fresh shrimp should be intact. They should still have their shells, legs, and heads on. For this authentic aguachile recipe, 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 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 delicious appetizer should be served cold or fresh.
- If you don’t like the shrimp, you can omit them from the recipe. You can also add some smoked fish, such as mackerel or salmon for a smoky flavor and a bit of protein.
- You could also make this recipe with canned tuna instead of shrimp if you prefer.
- You can also reduce or increase the amount of spices in the recipe to your own taste.
- You can also add some extra veggies, such as carrots, bell peppers, and mushrooms.
- If you like a bit of heat in your food, you can add some more serrano chiles or jalapeños to the marinade for a spicy kick.
- Add some soy sauce or hot sauce to the marinade for a more savory flavor.
- Use excess lime juice and the remaining onion to make extra aguachile-style sauce for a second dish.
- For extra flavor, you can sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds or chicharron (fried pork rinds) on top of the salad before serving.
How to Store
Storing this Mexican food properly is essential to keeping it as fresh and flavorful as possible. The best way to store it is in an airtight container or wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and placed in the refrigerator. This will prevent moisture loss and keep the flavors intact.
For short-term storage, this can be kept in the fridge for up to a day. If you plan on storing it overnight, make sure to seal it tightly with plastic wrap or an airtight container.
For longer storage, this dish can be frozen if necessary. To freeze this dish, simply place it in an airtight container or bag and store it in the freezer. Make sure to label the container with the date so you know when to use it.
When ready to eat, thaw it out in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours before serving. The flavor of frozen chili water may not be as fresh as freshly-made, but this method is still better than it going bad.
Finally, if you have leftovers that you don’t plan on eating right away, it is best to separate the shrimp and vegetables from the spicy green sauce. This will help keep them from getting soggy when in storage.
Place the shrimp and vegetables together in a sealed bag or container with some of the marinade and store them in the fridge. As for the liquid, you can pour it into a separate container and store it in the refrigerator.
This is a fresh shrimp salad. The raw seafood 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.
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.
This is a surprisingly healthy seafood 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 fresh lime juice
- 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- Sea salt flakes, to taste
- Freshly squeezed black pepper, to taste
- 2 serrano peppers, deseeded and chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, washed and picked
- 1 large cucumber, sliced into half moon shapes
- 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.
- Thinly slice the red onion and add lime juice with a pinch of salt. 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 remaining lime juice in the blender. Add the serrano peppers, garlic, freshly picked cilantro leaves, a tablespoon of red pickled onions, and 3 tablespoons of chopped cucumber.
- Using a food processor, 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, remaining cucumbers, and seasoning liquid to the shrimp.
- Toss the ingredients together very well to make sure all of them are evenly coated.
- Season the fresh shrimp salad with sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper.
- Eat Aguachile immediately with some fresh avocado slices, tortilla chips, and additional fresh cilantro leaves.