Although Mexico is famous worldwide for foods like quesadillas, tacos, and tostadas, soups are popular throughout the year. The most famous Mexican soups are made with seafood, including crabs and shrimps. One such famous Mexican stew is the Caldo de Camaron, a Mexican comfort and earthy shrimp stew.
You will find this stew in most coastal states, where fresh seafood is in plenty. This article talks about the origin and curiosities of Mexican Caldo de Camaron, different varieties, recipes, and the calories and nutritional value of this dish.
Mexican Caldo De Camaron (Origin and Curiosities)
Fresh shrimp and seafood are locally accessible throughout Mexico, and it is the main ingredient in most regional cuisines, including Caldo de Camaron. The recipe is specific to the ancient Nayarit state, where it originates from. The Nayarit state borders the Pacific Ocean, making it easy to access shrimps and other seafood.
The Nayarit natives would prepare Caldo de camaron as a spicy chili-based soup that contained shrimps. Although the stew has become common throughout Mexico, Caldo de Camarones was well-known in the pre-Colombian era when the indigenous would prepare Tlaxtihuilli. This was a complicated spicy shrimp soup that had a lot of hot chilies.
In the modern culinary industry, Mexicans use both ancient methods with modern ingredients to prepare a similar dish, Caldo de Camarones, which is common today. Chefs recommend that you garnish this stew with some lime juice and chopped avocado. If you wish to achieve an ancient feel of this stew, you should add more salsa to it until you reach your preferred spiciness and thick consistency.
Caldo Different Varieties
There are numerous Caldo varieties prepared in Mexico. Some of the most popular ones include:
Caldo Tlalpeño is a Mexican soup made with onions, chicken stock, garlic, shredded chicken, spicy chipotle, chickpeas, and vegetables, including green beans, carrots, and zucchini. The soup originated from Tlalpan, Mexico City, in the early 1900s. Traditionally, chefs serve the soup with limes, avocados, cheese, and onions to allow everyone a chance to decorate and season their soup according to taste and preference.
Caldo de Pollo
The traditional Mexican chicken soup is the Caldo de Pollo, with a twist. You use typical Mexican spices to prepare this soup, including cilantro and chili powder and other ingredients such as potatoes, chicken pieces, rice, and chopped vegetables.
Caldo de Pollo is believed to be an excellent hangover remedy, which people garnish with avocado wedges or guacamole. Some people prefer adding hot sauce or lemon juice to this soup, while others eat it with corn tortillas.
Caldo De Camaron Recipe
To prepare Caldo de Camaron, follow this simple recipe.
- 2 tbsp. Olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- ½ pound carrots cut into half-moons
- 5 peeled and smashed garlic cloves
- 3 seeded and stemmed pasilla chiles
- 1-pound raw medium peeled and deveined shrimp
- 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes (diced)
- 1-pound tilapia fillets
- 1-pound potatoes
- 3-quarts vegetable or seafood stock (or a mix)
- Black pepper (freshly ground)
- Sea salt
- 12-ounces salad shrimp
Caldo de Camaron tastes better with a Mexican-themed garnish. Here are some ingredients to prepare an irresistible garnish.
- Diced onion
- Cilantro (finely chopped)
- Lime wedges
- Jalapenos (thinly sliced)
- Diced avocado
- Roast your shrimp shells as opposed to what many people believe, most lobster and shrimp stews don’t get the flavor from the meat. Instead, they get the rich flavor from the crustacean shells. Roasting the crustacean shells gives your stew a rich flavor and color. Buy shrimps with their shells and roast them on your stovetop.
- To do so, put some water and olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot and throw in the shells. Let them roast over medium heat with the lid on. The toasty environment within the pot helps bring out all the flavor in the shrimp shells. To get out more flavor and moisture from the shells, add some coarse salt. After around 45 minutes, the process is done, and you should remove the pot from the fire and start cooking your stew.
- The best way to cook the shrimp the trick is not to overcook your shrimp soup. You need to extract as much flavor from the seafood shells as you can. Since you only put the shrimp in the stew around the last five minutes, you get the minimal flavor from them. However, the shells will compensate for the rich flavor needed to make this stew delicious.
- Seasoning you can never go wrong with Mexican seasoning when making Caldo de Camaron. Proper seasoning gives your stew a significant savory component to make it stand out.
- Put a big Dutch Oven on fire over medium heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Add garlic and onion and saute until the edges are caramelized, which should take at least seven minutes. Add the chiles and cook for a minute while stirring to avoid burning. Remove from fire.
- Remove the garlic, onions, and chiles mixture and put in a blender; avoid scooping the oil. Add the tomatoes to the blender with their juices and blend the mixture to make a smooth puree.
- Put the pot back on fire under medium heat and add some olive oil to the one still in the pot. Put a strainer over the pot and pour your puree through it into the oil. Cook the puree while stirring it frequently until it thickens to have the same consistency as tomato paste. The process should take up to 10 minutes.
- Add your stock to the pot and let it boil before reducing the heat to let it simmer for around 15 minutes. As your broth is simmering, chop the potatoes lengthwise into quarters and then into quarter-inch slices. Cut the carrots into ¼ cubes too.
- After 15 minutes, add the vegetables and carrots to the pot and increase the heat to let the soup bubble. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for up to 10 minutes.
- Add the shrimp, tilapia fillets, and the salad shrimp to the pot. After a few minutes, the pot will start to bubble again. By this time, your fillet and shrimp are cooked through. Run a spoon through the broth to check whether it is cooked. Stirring the soup will have your tilapia breaking into good-sized chunks. Taste the stew to determine whether it needs more seasoning and add it at this point.
- Serve your stew in big bowls and garnish with diced avocado, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges.
This Caldo de Camaron is not spicy as the dried chiles are not hot. However, they add an incredible flavor depth to your broth. If you prefer your stew spicier, consider adding more chiles to your recipe. Alternatively, you can serve with hot sauce for your guests to add to their bowls.
What to Serve with Caldo de Camaron
You can serve Caldo de Camaron with most Mexican snacks, including tacos and enchiladas. Also, remember to pour some chilled margaritas as they go well with this spicy dish.
Caldo De Camaron Calories and Nutrition
Caldo de Camaron is not just a simple Mexican stew as it comes full of nutrition. It has 205 calories in one serving. Shrimp, one of its ingredients is low in calories and high in nutrients. It only provides 84 calories in a 3-ounce serving with no carbohydrates.
The same shrimp serving has 20 different minerals and vitamins, including 50% of a human’s daily needs for selenium, a mineral that reduces inflammation and enhances cardiac health.
Shrimp is also high in iodine, a vital mineral that many people have a deficiency of. Iodine helps with brain health and thyroid function. You will also get omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants from shrimp, which makes Caldo de Camaron highly nutritious.
However, shrimp is believed to be high in cholesterol, with a 3-ounce piece having 166 mg of cholesterol. For anyone trying to avoid dietary cholesterol, you should keep this in mind.
You will get enough carbohydrates from the potatoes and vitamins from the vegetables. All these make Caldo de Camaron a balanced diet low in calories and high in protein and fat. Also, remember that shrimp is among the top eight food allergies and anyone allergic to shellfish should avoid Caldo Camaron.
From the nutrition facts, it is easy to see why Caldo de Camaron is a must-have stew either at home or whenever you visit a Mexican restaurant. It comes full of health benefits, even for those trying to watch their weight. Whether you are on a low-carbohydrate diet or not, you can indulge in Caldo de Camaron without feeling guilty.
It is full of good vitamins that help you keep the cold and flu viruses at bay while enjoying a delicious meal. Caldo de Camaron is enjoyed on both cold and hot days, especially when you make it spicier. Some people believe that taking spicy food on a warm day can help your body cool, ideal in such weather. Also, the hotness of a spicy Caldo de Camaron stew will leave your tummy feeling warm and packed on a cold winter day. Treat your Mexican visitors to a delicious stew that they can resonate with for a homey feeling.
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