This is a dish for serious seafood lovers, chilli and lime hard core fans only. It will literally make your lips puckered and sets your tongue on fire. Aguachile is made of raw shrimps cooked in lime, drenched in fiery green salsa made of ground Serrano chillies, cucumber, cilantro and more lime. This traditional dish is originated from Mazatlan, the state of Sinaloa (Northeast Mexico). In a way, it is similar to Ceviche (see my previous post), as it also involves cooking the seafood in the acidity of the lime. I guess it is the addition of the Serrano chillies that makes it unmistakably Mexican! Aguachile could also be made with baby octopus or other fine-textured seafood.
Aguachile is normally served in the coastal area. Prepared and “Cooked” a la minute by the fisherman boys who go along the shore selling fresh seafood from the boat. It takes around 10 minutes to marinate the shrimp to perfect “doneness”; exactly the time you have to gulp down your first glass of cold beer. Then you could have your aguachile with your fresh second glass of beer that is cold enough to wash down the fire in your mouth! What a perfect scenario for spending time at the beach in summer time. Though normally prepared as main meal, served with tostadas or crackers, however it also goes well as a light and refreshing starter.
M introduced this dish to us few nights ago. A fan of lime and chilli, this dish is one of his all time favourite. The taste really hit the spot of the Asian palate. We love it instantly. The spiciness of the Serrano chillies and the tartness of the lime stimulate your palate intensively and increase your appetite instantly.
This dish is very simple to make, but you have to take care that you have the freshest shrimp you could find. Clean them well and “butterfly” them, to ensure they are “cooked” in the middle part.
If you could not find Serrano chilli, substitute it with spicy green chilli.
Here is the recipe according to M (Gracias!)
Ingredients (serves 4 person as main course and 6 persons as starters )
1 kg shrimp, cleaned, peeled, deveined, butterflied and dried with kitchen towel
2 peeled small cucumber, sliced one thinly, and roughly chopped the other
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 table spoons chopped cilantro leaves
6 chile Serrano, sliced
2 cups lime juice (reserve 2 table spoon for the salsa)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Crackers to serve
Dried chilli Arbol to serve (optional)
Put the prepared shrimps in a bowl and cover with the lime juice. Make sure that the lime juice covers the shrimps completely. If not turn the shrimps around every other minute.
Let it rest for ten minutes until it turns opaque.
For the salsa:
Pulse the chopped cucumber, Serrano chillies, cilantro and reserved lemon juice, for few seconds until smooth.
Check the seasoning and add salt to taste.
Arrange the sliced cucumber on an individual plate/bowl, arrange the shrimps on the cucumber.
Spoon over the salsa, garnish with chopped cilantro, sliced red onions and a pinch of dried chilli Arbol if you wish.
Served with some crackers, tostadas or toasted crispy corn tortillas.