At the 2nd floor restaurant in the Hotel Basico in Playa del Carmen, called Marisqueria, which is basically a mock food cart serving up Mexican street foods with a contemporary touch alongside tequila cocktails overlooking a much less authentic Quinta Avenida, I first came across the aguachile. The aquachile (agua=water, chile=chile pepper) is, for the most part, a type of spicy cebiche using either shrimp or scallops. Best served cold or room temperature, the dish pairs sliced green Serrano chilies and limejuice, and, much like a ceviche, the shrimp or scallops are soaked in the mixture. The traditional dish originated in Mazatlan, the state of Sinaloa (Northeast Mexico). In much of Mexico a simplified version pairs the shrimp and Serranos with just slices of avocado to temper the heat. Marisqueria adds cucumbers, red onions, and radishes, as well as packets of saltines, which is closer to the original recipe an is noted throughout Mexico is noted as Aguachile estilo Sinaloa.
RECIPE: Camarones en Aguachile
- 1 ¼ cups fresh lime juice
1 to 2 fresh Serrano chiles, stemmed and sliced
- 1 pound large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ½ small red onion, finely sliced
- ½ cucumber halved and finely sliced
4 radishes radish, finely sliced
- In a blender, combine the limejuice, half of the Serrano chiles and a half teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth.
- Cut each shrimp in half lengthwise and place in serving dishes with the cucumbers, red onions, and radishes.
- Add approximately three tablespoons of the chile infused lime juice and let marinate for five minutes or so.
- Serve with packets of saltines.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.