This asopao de camarones recipe is inspired by my cousin’s traditional and incredibly delicious asopao recipe. She’s Puerto Rican and makes the best arroz con gandules, pasteles, pernil, and all types of delicious dishes, from savory to sweet. I have the most beautiful memories of my weekends with her, experiencing all these incredible flavors and meticulously watching her make her sofrito – it was all like second nature to her, and no measuring spoon was required.
This asopao de camarones is slightly different. It’s a small batch, enough for two people, and instead of a starchier consistency, it’s made with jasmine long-grain rice, giving this Puerto Rican shrimp stew a lighter and soupier texture.
Table of Contents
What is Asopao?
Asopao derives from the word asopado, which means stew, not pure liquid like a soup. It’s cooked gently and slowly to capture the core flavors. Asopao is also a family of stews, like asopao, made with chicken, beef, and fish.
Ingredients and Variations
- Water – purified water.
- Bonito flakes (dried shaved skipjack tuna), shrimp tails, or fish bones for an easy and delicious stock.
- 1lb Wild raw Argentinian shrimp.
- Whole Onion – finely dice the onions. Use either sweet or red onions.
- Red or Orange Pepper – wash and rinse, cut in half, save one half, and wrap and save in the fridge.
- Vine Ripened Tomato – preferably organic vine tomatoes, clean and rinse in a vinegar and baking soda solution.
- Avocado Oil – or olive oil, however, avocado oil is preferred when cooking because of its capacity to remain stable in high heat.
- Sofrito – this sofrito recipe is made with culantro (similar to cilantro, but it’s a long leaf with serrated
- Garlic cloves – minced or grated for a smoother consistency.
- Sazon – I love Loisa’s sazon because they use incredible ingredients, both organic and clean.
- Fresh Bay Leaves – or dried if it’s easier to find in your local supermarket.
- Rice – I used jasmine rice for a less starchy shrimp stew. You can swap the jasmine rice for short-grain rice.
- Cilantro – garnish, and add to the shrimp stew once it’s plated.
Tips For The Best Shrimp Stock
- Bonito Flakes and shrimp shells will give the broth an incredible depth of flavor. If you are having difficulty finding either ingredient, that’s ok. Increase the quantity of the one you could find in your local supermarket in the recipe.
- Extract as much flavor as possible – simmer the broth on low heat to extract flavor from the shells and bonito.
- Wild Shrimp vs. Farm Raised – wild shrimp has incredible flavor compared to farm-raised. I love Trader Joe’s wild Argentinean shrimp. It’s clean and great quality shrimp, and also affordable.
Easy Instructions For The Best Asopao De Camarones
The shrimp stock is the most important foundation and building block for a delicious shrimp and rice stew. First, fill a small saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Add the bonito flakes or shrimp tails and allow it to simmer.
Dice the tomato, Onion, and pepper. Grate or finely dice the garlic and set aside. Set the pot to low heat, then add the diced tomatoes, onions, and pepper to the pan and sauté on low heat with avocado oil. Slowly caramelize the onions, tomatoes, and peppers.
Slowly and carefully cook on low heat and caramelize until the onions are slightly translucent and the diced tomato and pepper are tender.
While the onion mix is sauteeing, take a moment to clean the shrimp, rinse, and allow it to drain well. Once the Onion is caramelized, add the shrimp to the pan for a minute on each side, remove it to prevent overcooking, and set aside.
Then increase the stovetop to low-medium heat, gently stir with a silicone spatula and add the grated or minced garlic, sofrito, sazon, bay leaves, and salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the rice, and mix well until the rice is well coated in the sofrito and sazon mix.
Then strain the shrimp stock or bonito flake stock, add the liquid to the pot, and continue to cook until the rice is al dente.
Once the rice is cooked, add the shrimp to the stew, and finish cooking for another two minutes.
Wash and dry the cilantro, chop, and set aside. Serve the asopao de camarones with tostones, a sliver of Mexican avocado, a pinch of salt, lime juice, and cilantro.
What To Serve With Asopao de Camarones
Or serve the asopao as a side rather than the entree. In that case, you can have the tostones with grilled fish and vegetables with a side of the asopao. If you’re not a rice fan, you can exclude the rice from the recipe to make a delicious shrimp soup rather than a stew. Add vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower instead.
What Is Sofrito?
Sofrito is the foundation of so many incredible dishes. Onion, garlic, culantro (cilantro’s cousin), sweet peppers (ajicitos), and green bell pepper are pureed in the food processor in large batches. The caramelization of the onions, culantro, and peppers creates a strong flavor profile used as a base in many Puerto Rican dishes. Follow this Sofrito recipe.
What’s the best way to store shrimp stew?
Generally, seafood can be stored safely in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. In this recipe, the most delicate recipe is the shrimp. Therefore, the easiest way to store the asopao is in a glass container, preferably one that can be sealed. Store it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
How can I reheat the asopao de camarones?
Reheat it by transferring the desired portion to a pot and setting it to low-medium heat. Once it starts to boil, remove it from the pan and serve with a fresh slice of avocado and a pinch of lime juice, and enjoy!
Puerto Rican Shrimp Stew
- 1 Dutch Oven
- 1 Tongs
- 1 Cutting Board
- 1 Chef Knife
- 8 cups Purified Water
- 1 Cup Bonito Flakes
- 1/4 Cup Shrimp Shells
- 1 Large Sweet Onion
- 1 Large Vine Ripened Tomato
- 1/2 Pepper red, orange or green.
- 3 tbsp Avocado Oil
- 4 Cloves Garlic
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1/4 cup Sofrito
- 1/2 tbsp Sazon
- 1/2 cup Jasmine Rice
- .5 tsp Salt
- 1 wedge Lime
- 1 tsp Diced Cilantro
- Step OneThe shrimp stock is the most critical foundation and building block for a delicious shrimp and rice stew. First, fill a small saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Next, allow the bonito flakes or shrimp tails to simmer. For extra flavor, roast the shrimp shells in the pan slightly before adding the water to extract the flavor.
- Step TwoDice the (1) tomato, (1) Onion, and (1/2) pepper. Grate or finely dice the garlic and set aside. Set the pot to low heat, then add the diced tomatoes, onions, and pepper to the pan and sauté on low heat with (3 tbsp) avocado oil. Slowly caramelize the onions, tomatoes, and peppers.Slowly and carefully cook on low heat and caramelize until the onions are slightly translucent and the diced tomato and pepper are tender.
- Step ThreeWhile the onion mix is sauteeing, take a moment to clean the shrimp, rinse, and allow it to drain well. Once the Onion is caramelized, add the shrimp to the pan for a minute on each side, remove it to prevent overcooking, and set aside.
- Step FourThen increase the stovetop to low-medium heat, gently stir with a silicone spatula and add (4) cloves of grated or minced garlic, (1/4 cup) sofrito, (1/2 tbsp) sazon, (2) bay leaves, and (1 tsp) salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the (1/2 cup) rice, and mix well until the rice is well coated in the sofrito and sazon mix.
- Step FiveThen strain the shrimp stock or bonito flake stock, add the liquid to the pot, and continue to cook until the rice is al dente.
- Step SixOnce the rice is cooked, add the shrimp to the stew, and finish cooking for another two minutes.
- Wash and dry the cilantro, chop, and set aside. Slice a lime or lemon and set aside.
- Final StepServe the asopao de camarones or shrimp stew in a bowl, garnish with cilantro, lime wedge (Optional), and fresh avocado. Enjoy!