Aguachile is one of those hidden gems of Latin America not so popular ceviche like dish, that it’s so easy to make yet so delicious, if you like ceviche you must try Aguachile.
I discover this recipe researching about successful chefs in Latin America when I stumble upon Gabriela Camara and watch her mini-documentary “A tale of two kitchens” an inspiring look into the traditional coastal cuisine of Mexico and how this amazing humble chef showcased those traditions in her two restaurants.
All her dishes looked amazing and let me embark on trying some of her recipes. However, there were two that catch my attention, and those were Aguachile and Tuna Tostadas, which I will post in the future as is as delicious as this one.
The simplicity of this recipe makes you think is it is even worthy of having a whole post entry however I believe it does as it looks so beautiful and enticing, simple yet elegant and flavour wise out of this world.
What is Aguachile
Aguachile is a raw seafood dish traditionally made with prawns and slightly seared with an acidic solution (like ceviche) made of chiles, lime juice, coriander, and salt, commonly served with crunchy vegetables like cucumber and red onion. That’s all you need to know Aguachile is like ceviche but better.
Tips to make Aguachile
- Make sure the prawns are fresh, avoid frozen ones, clean them properly before you make your Aguachile, as the prawns go mainly whole, try to buy a species that is not super big like banana prawns or some small tiger prawns are fine.
- Limes must be juicy otherwise you won’t have enough juice to dress your prawns.
- Not all Mexican chiles can be found here in Australia but if you can buy good quality ones, for this recipe we are going to use Serrano Chilies which are the green small elongated chilies, you can easily find them in Coles or Woolworths.
- In addition to Serrano chili, you can use Chili Piquin or chili flakes as a garnish to add some colour to the dish.
- Balance is key in this dish, so go heavy on the salt and lime as Aguachile relies on these two ingredients to make the produce pop with flavour.
- Aguachile should be eaten on the day, even a few hours will change the flavour and texture of the dish so make sure you prepare it just within the hour that is going to be served.
- You can enjoy this as an entree as is or dice the prawns and top some tostadas or corn chips (totopos) with it for a quick meal.
- I researched a lot of recipes and many just make the lime dressing, Gabriela Camara suggests adding prawn stock to the dressing for added prawn flavour, but I reckon this is a whole additional step that in my opinion does not make much of a difference, as I’ve tried with and without the stock. In case you want to use the stock you can make the stock using the prawn shells and heads some vegetables like onion, celery, garlic and a bay leaf in water, simmer in a pan and let cool down, strain and add to your dressing.
Aguachile (Mexican Prawn Ceviche) with Passion FruitCourse: EntreeCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Easy
Creamy and hearty mushroom risotto that will have you coming for seconds.
500 g Medium to small sized fresh prawns (deshelled and cleaned, deveined).
1 c of lime juice (Juice of 8 limes)
1 1/2 tsp of salt (adjust to taste)
bunch of parsley washed
bunch of coriander washed
2 serrano chilies (adjust to taste if you like it less spicy)
1/4 c Prawn stock (optional) or water
1/2 tsp of salt
2 extra limes
1 medium red onion
1 large cucumber finely slice in discs
fine sea salt
2 Tbsp of olive oil
Chili flakes or fresh chili of your liking
1 passion fruit (optional)
- Butterfly the prawns through the middle by passing a knife from the back of the prawn to almost the other side leaving the 2 sides connected by a fine tissue.
- Place in prawns in a shallow dish and sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt, cover with lime juice and set aside in the fridge for 5 min to allow for the lime to start curing the prawns.
- Make a quick pickle with the onion and the extra limes, cut the onion in fine julienne, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of salt and cover with enough lime juice and let them sit. They will turn brightly red and the liquid with have a slightly pink colour.
- In a blender add the herbs (parsley and coriander), the prawn stock (if you opt to leave it out, add 1/4 c of water instead), 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 serrano chili deseeded, the remaining lime juice, the juice where the prawns had been curing in and blend until everything is incorporated, taste and add more lime juice or salt to adjust the acidity. Strain the liquid.
- In a shallow plate add some of the liquid and arrange the prawns open side down to allow for them to absorb the aguachile, spoon some liquid over the prawn and arrange some pickles, cucumber, chili slices or flakes, coriander leaves, over the prawns, season lightly with sea salt, I added some passion fruit for an added tropical touch.
- With a syringe or a bottle place some dots of olive oil around to make it look beautiful.
- Serve and eat guachile straight away.
- Can be served with tostadas or totopos.