All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Caldo de camarones / Mexican shrimp soup

A shrimp soup I enjoyed repeatedly whenever available during a road trip in Mexico years ago. Soupy but very aromatic and satisfying, thanks to the rich broth and numerous dried chili peppers that go into it.

1/2 of recipe:
257 calories; 23.8 g protein; 1.8 g fat; 30.8 g carbohydrate; 23.8 g net carbs; 552 mg sodium; 141 mg cholesterol; 7.0 g fiber


For shrimp stock
(Yields 800-1,000 cc stock)

100g shrimp shells, heads (or crab shells)
1 tsp olive oil (not in photo)
50 cc white wine
1,200 cc water
4-5 cm celery (20 g in photo)
1/2 medium onion (38 g in photo)
1/2 carrot (20 g in photo)
1 bay leaf

For caldo de camarones

(Serves 2 as a main meal or 4 small side soups)

1,000 cc shrimp stock (from above, not in photo)
10 shrimp (278 g in shell in photo)
1 hayatouri chayote (282 g in photo)
2 medium carrots (174 g in photo)
6 guajillo chili peppers (43 g in photo)
1 morita chili pepper (2 g in photo)
2 camaron seco dried shrimp (6 g in photo)
1-2 cloves garlic
1 large or 2 small tomatoes (108 g in photo)
1 tbsp epazote (dried)
2-2 & 1/2 tsp shiokoji salted rice malt
1/2 tsp olive oil (not in photo)

For garnish
1/2 medium onion (100 g in photo)
Handful cilantro
1-2 lime


Prepare shrimp stock.
In a pot, heat olive oil, and saute shrimp shells and heads (and crab shells) until toasty. If shrimp heads are included, crush them with a spatula.


Put white wine, and reduce.


Put water, and bring to boil.


Cut carrot, onion and celery into smaller pieces as necessary, and add them to pot.  

Add bay leaf, and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Strain stock.
If less than 1,000 cc, add water to obtain 1,000 cc.
Set aside.


Meanwhile, get ready for main cooking.
Remove eyes from camaron seco.

Wipe dried chili peppers with a hard-wrung cloth. Heat a medium pot, and put tomatoes, garlic, guajillo and morita peppers, and camaron seco, and toast on medium low heat.
When dried chili peppers become a bit puffy, remove before they burn. 
Remove tops and seeds of chili peppers, and put peppers back in pot (optional). 


Pour shrimp stock, bring to boil, add epazote, place a drop cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

(After 20 minutes)


Put solids and some liquid in food processor, and puree.
(Keep the remaining liquid/broth for later.)


In the meantime, shell and clean shrimp with potato starch, rinse, and drain well.
Dice carrot and chayote. 


In another pot, heat olive oil, and saute carrot.

When carrot is coated with oil, add chayote, and continue cooking. 


Strain pureed chili mixture, and pour remaining broth through strainer to get most of mixture.

Cover, and simmer until carrot and chayote reach desirable softness.


Meanwhile, chop onion and cilantro (for garnish), and cook tortillas.


Put shrimp, and cook for a few minutes.
Add shiokoji.


Serve in individual bowls, put lots of chopped onion and cilantro, squeeze lime, and enjoy with tortillas.

  • The sodium content of the shrimp stock above is 0.1% per 800 cc (315 mg).
  • If shiokoji is not available, use a tiny amount of salt.
  • If you are watching your sodium intake, do not add salt to tortillas even if the masa package says to -- as far as I can tell, salt in tortilla dough does not make much difference in taste.  
  • Guajillo chili peppers are very mild, but the small guy, morita, can be quite spicy as well as smoky. If unsure, try without morita or substitute chipotle peppers (smoky but not very spicy) and see how you like the taste.
  • The above recipe is a bit too European for me -- perhaps because of white wine or bay leaf, or not enough Mexican herbs...? More trials to follow.

(Last updated: March 6, 2015)


Cassandra Kj said...

Hi there! First of all thank you for posting this recipe! My husband was beyond thrilled with it when I made it for him.

Next, I wish to reply to your Note that the recipe is too European... yes, it is. Perhaps I can help you adjust the recipe. :) I'm 1/2 Mexican and my Mom is 100% Mexican.

When Grandma (Mom's Mexican mother who lived in Pen~itas MX,) made this soup, she did the following things differently:

1. In the shrimp stock you used 1200 cc water. Grandma used 600cc water, and 600cc cheap Mexican yellow beer such as Corona.

2. In the shrimp stock you used celery. Grandma used either green onions, or cabbage, in this spot. Try changing it up. See, celery doesn't grow well in the majority of Mexican ecosystems. They have some celery farms in the mountainous areas and a few greenhouses growing celery, but the majority of the country's inhabitants can't grow celery in their home area.

3. 1 TBSP is a lot of epazote. I recommend 1/2 TBSP epazote and 1/2 TBSP Mexican oregano. Also, the bay leaf you used is OK, but typically it is the wealthy Mexicans and the resorts and fine hotels who use that... the middle and lower classes use dried rosemary instead. You might try using a bit of rosemary in place of the bay leaf, and see what you think :)

4. I suggest using safflower oil or corn oil instead of olive oil. Safflower oil is mainly produced in Mexico. Corn oil is a popular and cheap cooking oil in most of Mexico. Olive oil would give the soup a European flavor.

5. You can omit the wine, because this recipe is supposed to have Mexican beer in it, making wine unnecessary. Also, wine makes it taste more European than Mexican.

7. Being in Mexico, Grandma would of course not use shiokoji. What she used for this purpose was either a tsp or 2 of cajeta (a dried, caramelized, milk confection) or if her guests could not handle milk products, she would use 1 tsp shaved piloncillo (a Mexican unrefined brown sugar), or if her guests could not handle both sugar and milk, she used fermented homemade red pepper paste. Nowadays Gochujang (the Korean equivalent fermented pepper paste) is available in most Asian markets. I keep it on hand for whenever I am making a Mexican recipe that might need fermented pepper paste. Gochujang is what I used in place of shiokoji, when I made this soup. The result was amazing!

Please remember none of this is meant as criticism. Your recipe is already GREAT as it is! These are only meant as suggestions on how to make the caldo flavors more Mexican and less European.

Good luck to you :)

neco said...

Hi Cassandra,
Thank you so much for the amazing tips! I cannot wait to try all of your suggestions. I can already see how much improvement your tips would make. Truly appreciated.