Arroz con camarones or shrimp rice is a classic Ecuadorian and Latin American dish from the coastal areas. It consists of rice cooked in a shrimp broth and mixed with shrimp, sautéed onions, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, cumin, achiote, and parsley.
Ecuadorians, and probably most Latin Americans, love arroz or rice, we can’t live without it and eat rice almost every day, therefore we have a plethora of rice based dishes, anything you can think of and there is a rice based dish for it, especially if it concerns any type of seafood.
The shrimp are marinated with salt, garlic and pepper and then cooked with the shells on in order to preserve the greatest amount of flavor, this is one of those bits of cooking wisdom that is passed on from generation to generation: always boil/cook shrimp with the shells on. The rice is then cooked in the broth or water in which the shrimp were cooked, and then mixed with a refrito or sofrito made from the onions, pepper, garlic, tomatoes, parsley, achiote, cumin and white wine.
I served the shrimp rice with avocado slices, tomato and onion curtido, lime slices and aji or hot sauce, it can also be served with fried ripe or green plantains.
Arroz con camarones or Shrimp rice
- 2 lbs raw shrimp shells on, deveined
- 2 tsp cumin
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tbs oil sunflower, avocado, etc
- 2 cups uncooked rice
- 3 tbs butter
- 1 red onion diced
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 2 tomatoes peeled and seeded, diced
- 3 tbs parsley finely chopped, plus more to garnish
- 1 tsp ground achiote or annatto
- ½ cup of white wine
- Salt and pepper
- Marinate the shrimp with salt, pepper, 1 tsp of cumin, and the crushed garlic.
- Bring water to boil in a large pot, add the shrimp and boil for about 2 minutes.
- Remove the shrimp from the water and reserve 2 ½ cups of the water they cooked in to prepare the rice.
- Remove the shells and tails from the shrimp; leave the tails on a few of the shrimp that will be used as a garnish. Chop about half of the shrimp in half and leave the other half whole.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan or pot, add the minced garlic, cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
- Add the rice to the garlic and oil, mix well until the rice is coated with oil.
- Add the 2 ½ cups of water that was used to boil the shrimp. Bring to boil and reduce heat to low.
- In the meantime, melt the butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan; add the onions, peppers, tomatoes, parsley, ground achiote, salt, pepper, and remaining 1 tsp of cumin. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the white wine to the vegetable mix and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, until the onions and peppers are tender.
- Mix in the sautéed vegetables and chopped shrimp with the rice, which should still be cooking, and cook on low heat until the rice is tender.
- Add the remaining shrimp during the last minutes and mix well.
- Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley and garnish with shrimp with tails on.