- 1 pound tomatillos*, husked rinsed
- 1/2 fresh habanero chile*
- 4 dashes Maggi Seasosoning
Puree whole oomatillos in processor. Strain through sieve set over bowl, pressing firmly on solids to yield 1 cup juice. Discard solids. Mix salt and sugar into juice. Mix in garlic and chile; let stand 1 minute. Discard garlic and chile. DO AHEAD Tomatillo mixture can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
Stir tequila and Maggi Seasoning into tomatillo mixture. Fill 4 tall narrow glasses with ice. Pour mixture over. Garnish each with cilantro and radish.
*Available at some supermarkets and at Latin markets.
Chicharron En Salsa Verde (pork crackling with green sauce)
Chicharron en salsa verde is a delicious hearty dish made in no time and with simple ingredients. A truly Mexican comfort food to be enjoyed with warm tortillas, a side of refried beans and café de olla. Yum!
The sauce is the star if this dish and you can totally control the spiciness on it by adding less or more (or even none!) chili peppers.
Aguachile verde is a traditional Mexican seafood dish. It is made with shrimp that are marinated (cooked) in chili peppers, lime juice, salt, cilantro, and mixed with slices of cucumber and onion. The origin of aguachile lies in the state of Sinaloa, on the western coast of Mexico.
It was originally made with boiled water and small round pepper called chiltepines, which grow wild in the region. This preparation explains the name “aguachile” which translates as “pepper water”.
Aguachile is often thought of as Mexican ceviche. The major differences between traditional aguachile and ceviche is the marination time, the spiciness and the amount of liquid. Aguachiles tend to have more juice than other ceviches.
With ceviche, the seafood marinates in lime juice for at least 15-20 minutes, resulting in opaque flesh. Traditionally, aguachiles are tossed in the lime and pretty much served right away – more of a sashimi presentation.
That said, you can adjust the amount of time the seafood sits in the acid to your own tastes. I prefer firmer shrimp, so I typically marinate until the shrimp no longer has a grey color and instead is pink/orange with opaque white flesh.
Aguachile is usually much spicier than ceviche. We use jalapeños in both the verde sauce and as garnish – you can also use serrano chiles as well. The flavors of the two peppers are very similar, it’s only the spiciness that’s different. Serrano peppers are 3-4 times hotter than jalapeños.
Our preparation is for aguachile verde, the “green” version, made with green chiles such as serranos or jalapeños. There are other variations of aguachile, as well. Aguachile rojo is a red version made with chile de arbol and worcestershire sauce, and occasionally clamato. Aguachile negro is “black” preparation which uses soy sauce and chipotles in adobo sauce.
Finally, our aguachile verde can be switched up by using different seafood. Cubed tuna, salmon, or a white fish such as halibut, red snapper, or cod make an excellent fish version. Scallops and octopus, sliced thin like sashimi, are great options as well.
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A moment about fresh seafood. Like all ceviches or sashimi, you want to use the freshest seafood possible for this dish. Even though the marination “cooks” the fish through a chemical process, you won’t get the best results with frozen seafood.
- 1 medium-size fresh young coconut (about 2 1 /4 pounds), or 1/4 cup fresh or frozen coconut meat and 1 cup coconut water
- 1 small red onion
- 2 medium Persian cucumbers
- 1 cup roughly chopped fresh tomatillos
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 medium fresh serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon dried chiltepín chile, crumbled dried chile de árbol, or chopped fresh Thai chile
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 pound diver scallops (about 5 scallops), sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
- 1/2 pound peeled raw medium shrimp, cooked, deveined, and halved lengthwise
- Finger limes or lime wedges, for garnish
- Tortilla chips or tostadas, for serving
Using a cleaver, carefully remove pointed end of coconut. Drain coconut, reserving 1 cup coconut water set aside. Carefully break or cut coconut into large pieces. Using your hand or a spoon, separate coconut flesh from shell discard shell. Cut flesh into 1 1/2- by 1/8-inch strips to equal about 1/4 cup set aside. Reserve remaining coconut flesh for another use.
Roughly chop onion to equal 1 tablespoon. Thinly slice remaining onion to equal 1/2 cup set aside. Reserve any remaining onion for another use. Thinly slice 1 cucumber crosswise to equal about 1/4 cup set aside. Roughly chop remaining cucumber and second cucumber.
Combine chopped cucumber, chopped onion, reserved 1 cup coconut water, tomatillos, lime juice, cilantro, chopped serrano, chiltepín chile, and salt in a blender. Process until smooth, about 20 seconds. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl discard solids.
Stir together scallops, shrimp, and tomatillo mixture in a medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature until scallops are mostly opaque, about 10 minutes. Divide seafood mixture evenly among serving bowls (about 2/3 cup per bowl). Season with salt to taste. Top each serving evenly with reserved coconut slices, onion slices, and cucumber slices. Garnish with finger lime pulp or lime wedges, and serve with chips or tostadas.
70 Regional Mexican Foods to Make at Home
While tacos and enchiladas are staples in Mexican restaurants, you see the richness of Mexican cuisine when you explore the country's different states—where the salsas have deep, rich flavor, and the tortillas are oh-so-fresh. In this collection, check out recipes ranging from tried-and-true classics to spicy specialties.
How to Make Aguachile: The Chili-Spiked Mexican Ceviche
What is aguachile? Before I answer that, we need some music. Open Hector Lavoe's salsa classic Aguanile in another tab, and put it on repeat while you read this.
Why? Because first, it's a great song, and second, "aguanile" rhymes with "aguachile." My hope is that, if you're anything like me, you will forever have this song play in your head whenever you think of aguachile, with the word "aguachile" in place of the original one.
So now that we have a soundtrack, let's get back to aguachile. I was in Mexico a couple weeks ago, mostly in Mexico City with one day in Puebla and a few days in Tulum for a wedding, and among the many great things I ate there were two strikingly different versions of aguachile, a type of Mexican ceviche.
The first was at chef Enrique Olvera's great restaurant Pujol, and it is by far the most unorthodox version one is likely to see. It's also very pretty.
Pujol's "aguachile"*, part of a series of street-food-inspired snacks on the tasting menu, was made with two perfectly circular rounds of avocado sandwiching a lime-spiked chia-seed filling. The toppings included sal de gusano (worm salt), chili, herbs, and flowers a blue corn tostada was layered in there as well.
*When a dish diverges so far from the original that even people familiar with the classic version likely wouldn't immediately recognize them as related, I feel the need to put quotation marks around the name.
Next, I had an octopus aguachile at a pretty fantastic seafood restaurant called Contramar.
This one had cooked octopus, a lime-and-chile dressing, cucumber, onions, and minced herbs.
I really enjoyed both versions, but given the differences between the two, I was left wondering what exactly aguachile is, and also what makes it different from other ceviches. Thankfully, I'm a compulsive cookbook-buyer when I travel, and I managed to pick up the Larousse guide to Mexican Cooking while there.
According to Larousse, aguachile is a type of Mexican ceviche that hails from Sinaloa. The most classic version is made with fresh raw shrimp, cucumber, red onion, lime juice, and chilies (typically serranos or jalapeños) that have been pulverized with some water—hence the name. It's usually served with avocado and tostadas, and is a popular snack with beer and tequila.
One of the most interesting things about aguachile is that, unlike most ceviches, which are marinated for about 15 to 30 minutes for optimal curing time (something Kenji has written about before), aguachile is meant to be served immediately upon tossing the shrimp with the lime, which means it's just about sashimi-raw when you eat it.
Of course what this means is that it's imperative that you buy sushi-grade fish when preparing aguachile (frankly, that goes for all ceviches, but it's even more true here). In the case of shrimp, Larousse insists on finding ones that have never been frozen, a requirement that eliminates most of the shrimp sold at the fish market.
I wanted to create a recipe that was as traditional as possible, since it's not the most well-known of ceviche types, but then I also wanted to create a couple variations that stick to the same water-chile base while otherwise using different seafood and flavorings. For those who can't find raw shrimp that are good enough to serve this way, feel free to try one of the variations below. Frankly, this is all pretty interchangeable: There's no reason you couldn't do raw fish, like the arctic char below, with the shrimp marinade, or serve scallops with the habanero-marinade I made for the arctic char.
Take a look below to get familiar with aguachile in its simplest form as well as the spruced-up versions, then knock yourself out with whatever combinations of fish or shellfish (or even chia seeds!) that you'd like.
The Classic Shrimp Aguachile
Once I had the Larousse definition of an aguachile in-hand, it was pretty easy to come up with my own version of the basic recipe. The main thing here are the shrimp: Make sure to tell your trusted fishmonger that you want fresh, never frozen, shrimp, and that you will be eating them raw. If the fishmonger hesitates, move along. In many cases these shrimp will be head-on, which is a bonus since the heads are wonderful too.
The shrimp I got were gorgeous things, plump and pink even when raw.
I split them in half lengthwise and removed any veins inside.
I also followed the advice of a couple recipes I had seen online, and sprinkled the shrimp with salt, then let them stand in the refrigerator for an hour or so while I prepared everything else. I took this step with the seafood on all the recipes here: I figured it might help, given the minimal curing time with lime juice, to let the salt cure the seafood lightly.
The Larousse definition of aguachile also mentioned using a mortar and pestle to pulverize the chili, so for this version I tried that out.
It was easy to do, though I found that a light tapping motion (as opposed to a grinding motion) was the most efficient way to initially break down the pieces of serrano chile I used. Then I added a bit of water and kept working it into a chili-green fluid. Aguachile!
Then I stirred in lime juice, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and tossed it with the shrimp, cucumbers, and red onion. Listo.
And just for fun, I got a little pot of oil going and deep-fried the heads for a crispy snack.
Scallop Aguachile With Cilantro and Jalapeños
Next up, I made an aguachile with scallops. This one is still pretty close to the classic, with lime, jalapeño, cucumber, and red onion. But here I added cilantro to the marinade, since herbs seem to be a frequent addition to the basic recipe. We often find that a mortar and pestle is the best tool for extracting flavors out of moist aromatics, but in this case I tried it out with an immersion blender and was pleasantly surprised to find that it work pretty well (and is a lot less effort).
Make sure, if you get scallops, to buy dry-packed ones that have not been soaked in a brine or preservative solution. They'll cost more, but at least you're not paying for the excess water weight, and the flavor is incomparable. These scallops are often labeled "dry scallops." If the scallops you're looking at are sitting in a pool of milky liquid, that's a good sign that they've been chemically treated and you should pass them up.
This time I built the agauchile as individual servings on top of tostadas, but you can just as easily serve the whole thing on a plate with the tostadas on the side.
Arctic Char Aguachile With Habanero and Jicama
This variation is the farthest from the traditional one, with ultra-hot habanero chilies, jicama in place of cucumber, and some coriander seed and mint for extra flavor. You could just as easily use salmon or another fish, depending on what's available near you.
To prepare the fish fillet, I started by cutting off the skin, which you can ask the fishmonger to do if you don't feel comfortable doing it.
Then I cut the fillet in half lengthwise, just a hair off center from the fillet's natural division.
Then I cut on the other side of that natural division to remove any sinews, bones, or dark, oily meat that runs along it. I also cut away any other dark flesh on the fillet, which is mostly found on the skin side.
I cut each fillet-half crosswise into thin slices. Once you do this, it's ready to toss with the other ingredients and serve.
Be careful when working with habaneros: if you have rubber gloves (I didn't) I'd recommend wearing them when handling the peppers. My hands burned for a couple hours after cooking this.
Also be careful of splashing habanero juice when you blend it. I sure wouldn't want that stuff landing in my eyes.
Which was the best of the three? It's a tough call, because the office gobbled them all up pretty eagerly, but I think the favorite was probably the classic one with shrimp. If you've never tried it before and can find the shrimp, I'd say make that one first since it'll establish an aguachile baseline for you. After that, go wild.
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups dried hibiscus petals
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 pinch ground allspice
- ½ cup chopped piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar cones)
- 1 ½ cups white sugar
Place 6 cups of water in a large saucepan bring to a boil. Stir in the hibiscus petals, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. Reduce heat to medium-low, and gently simmer until the water has turned a deep red, 30 to 45 minutes.
Stir the chopped piloncillo into the hibiscus water until dissolved, then set aside to cool 15 minutes. After cooling, strain the warm liquid into a 1 gallon pitcher through a wire mesh strainer. Squeeze as much liquid from the petals as you can, then discard the petals. Stir in the white sugar until dissolved, then pour in enough cold water to fill the pitcher. Serve immediately or let stand overnight for best taste.
For Tomatillo Sauce: Roast, peel, and seed poblano chiles tear into large strips.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook just until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatillos, poblanos, jalapeno, cilantro, epazote leaves, oregano and chicken stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat. Cool it slightly, then puree it in a blender.
For Pork And Nopales: Trim pork shoulder and cut meat into 1-inch cubes. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the pork and sear until lightly browned. Add 2 cups water and the salt and simmer until the pork is tender, about 30 minutes. The liquid will reduce to a few tablespoons. Remove from heat and set aside.
Trim and peel nopales cut into 1- by 1/2-inch pieces. In a separate saucepan, bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Add the nopales and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the nopales from the heat, drain and rinse with cold water.
Roast poblano chiles peel, seed, and cut in 1- by 1/2-inch pieces. Combine the nopales and the poblano pieces and set aside.
Add the tomatillo sauce and the nopales mixture to the pan with the seared pork. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Member Ratings For This Recipe
This recipe is a keeper. I baked the tomatillos until splitting. I also added freshly grated garlic into the food processor. - 2/11/10
I use a recipe very similar except I use the green tomatos from the end of the season and add 2 cloves of garlic per jar. Roast the tomatoes, onions, garlic and peppers under the broiler for about 5 minutes untili blackened. It really adds a different flavor - 12/17/12RUTHXG
I just made this & LOVE it! The cilantro & lime juice add so much. I included just a smidge of garlic too. I'm off to a meeting & am going to get some tortilla chips on the way so I can share it! - 10/24/10
Very Good Salsa! I increased the jalapenos, added 2T fresh oregano and some garlic. To save time, I put the tomatillos, onion, garlic, cilantro, and oregano in the food processor before cooking. I then transferred it to a pan, added the remaining ingrediants. Simmered for 20 min. after boil. - 1/11/09HEIDIJUNEBUG
This is good! I added avocado to take away some heat and add creamy goodness. - 12/11/12
Leave a Review
I was so excited to try this recipe because it checks all the boxes for flavor and simplicity. While I love the Chili-lime sauce I ran into some issues with the shrimp. The cooking took more like 45 minutes and the tails (covered with shell) were still gray which was off-putting for me. I think I will try it again, but very briefly blanch the shrimp first, using the sauce for flavor more than for cooking. I also added a handful of cilantro to the blender as other's suggested.
The shrimp in aguachile never has the tails on, nor uses olive oil. This recipe doesn't include cilantro, so throw a bunch in the blender too. Also don't let the shrimp overcook in the lime juice, it's supposed to be eaten semi-raw and on top of tostadas. and don't forget to slice some red onions to go along with the cucumber.
Delicious. Some of the diners were leery of eating "raw" shrimp (I know), so I blanched the shrimp first. I dropped them into boiling water for about 15-20 seconds, then directly into ice water. This has become a regular on our party menu, to the delight of guests.
Seriously, you ask for people to buy head on shrimp and then instruct them to throw the heads away.. Head on shrimp are only fresh close to shore or if they are farm raised. Over 90% of all commercial shipping operations remove the head and freeze the shrimp at optimal freshness. To send people out for head on shrimp is a good idea if they live near a shrimp port, otherwise you will be subject to cheap farm raised shrimp or a specialty product that is 2X as expensive as it's head off sisters. Throw them out..
As written, this recipe calls for barely cooked shrimp -- not cooked shrimp, like what you would get with ceviche. It is the lime juice, not the salt, that cooks the shrimp, but this process takes at least 15-20 minutes to cook the raw shrimp (or fish). Pouring the lime/chile marinade over the shrimp and serving it immediately does not give the ingredients sufficient time to "cook." Indeed, the shrimp will remain opaque in color until the cooking process has finished. Then, and only then, will the shrimp turn to the pink/white color that you associate with cooked shrimp. All that aside, this is a good recipe, but give it time before serving. Use ONLY really fresh shrimp, or you will be disappointed with the results.
This was outstanding. Please ignore the Cook from Oregon's comments regarding the serving of this shrimp as "raw". It is, as the two other reviewers since have said, indeed "cooked" by the salt and cucumbers. Ceviche is a good example of this as well. Research before commenting and even more so, TRY the dishes first! This was loved by my family. Will make again!
To the Cook from Oregon: When a fish - or in this case, shrimp - is marinated in salt and/or acid and served raw, the process is called ɼooking'. I think this is a very tasty recipe for aguachile and makes a nice summer appetizer.
As funny as it sound it is the real aguachile, its like ceviche, its "cooked" in lime juice. think of it like sushi, the fish is raw. It is a crowd pleaser in Mexico if you make it right. Ive had it and never gotten sick. This is an appetizer.
Are you kidding? RAW shrimp? The name of the recipe is Shrimp COOKED in Lime and Chile. How sloppy and unprofessional can you get?
What the what? Chilled raw shrimp drizzled with lime juice, chiles, olive oil, and water? A sure-fire crowd pleaser!