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Arroz con Camarones – South American Dish with an Asian Touch [with Recipe]

For centuries, rice has been a staple food of Latin Americans since its arrival on the continent. People in the continent have developed numerous recipes depending on culture and country. Whether eaten as a main or side dish, rice is a must-have in Latin kitchens. Arroz con Camarones is a popular dish all over South America, especially in Mexico and Peru. It is made up of rice that is cooked in a savory shrimp broth with peppers, shrimp, onions, and tomatoes. You can season the dish with garlic, cumin, achiote, and use finely chopped parsley for garnishing. Here is everything you need to know about Arroz con Camarones.



Arroz Dishes in South American Region

Since rice is a staple food in South America, there are numerous Arroz dishes prepared in the area. The most popular ones include:


Arroz Carreteiro

If you ever visit Brazil, you should try out Arroz Carreteiro from any restaurant. Arroz Carreteiro is also known as wagoner’s rice, which is a dish prepared with meat and rice. It originates from the southern part of Brazil. Originally it was cooked by gauchos, who were looking for a healthy and nutritious meal while traveling.

Back then, they made the dish with dried beef. However, today, you can prepare this dish with either leftover barbecues or dried beef. You can also use fresh meat. However, if you do so, ensure that your meat is completely cooked before using it in your recipe. Do this in a separate pot, in which you should fry it in oil with onions and bell peppers.

The great thing about this dish is that you end the cooking process by topping off your rice with eggs and fresh parsley for a combination of flavors that will explode your taste buds. If you love bold flavors, add some spiciness to your Arroz Carreterio by adding hot sauce, hot peppers, or cayenne pepper. You can also add your spices of choice for a personalized touch.



Arroz Chaufa

This is a popular rice dish in Peru, where it has a great Chinese cuisine influence as it was influenced by Chinese immigrants to Peru. Arroz Chaufa consists of fried rice, vegetables, meats, and fruits. To prepare the dish, people fry the rice with shredded chicken, garlic, salami, ginger, eggs, slivered almonds, soy sauce, chicken stock, pineapple juice, and pineapple chunks.

However, there are numerous variations of preparing Arroz Chaufa, including adding beef, fish, alligator meat, and jerky. Preparing Arroz Chaufa is fast as long as your vegetables and minces are diced and ready to go.

Most people prefer using chicken thighs as they are flavorful and make this dish taste amazing. However, if you only have chicken breasts, you can use those too. To save up on time, you can use prepackaged and predicted garlic, bell peppers, and onion.

To prepare the dish, you just need to mix these ingredients in a bowl and add cumin, sesame oil, soy sauce, ground ginger, and a pinch or two of sugar. If you prefer using fresh ginger, avoid adding it to your soy sauce mixture if you prefer to use fresh

Also, remember to use leftover cold rice as the hot one ends up getting gloopy and mushy. In case you don’t have any leftover rice, you can cook some and pour it out onto a baking sheet. Put the sheet in a freezer for around 20minutes for the rice to cool completely.


Arroz con Huevo

Arroz con Huevo is a lazy lunch popular across South consists of rice that is topped with a fried egg. In the past, this simple dish was referred to as Comida de Pobre (poor people’s food). However, the dish is enjoyed by everyone regardless of their social-economic classes today.

There are many variations of this dish. In the Caribbean, they prepare it with plantains as the accompaniments, while in Spain, it is paired with a savory sofrito. To make this humble meal even tastier, you can top it with freshly chopped parsley and some grated cheese for that authentic taste and look. Also, consider serving it with avocado slices and tomato onion curtido salsa.




Arroz con Camarones Mexicano

Arroz con Camarones Mexicano is a fiesta bowl that combines rice with seafood, specifically shrimp. What sets it apart is the combination of Mexican flavors used in this dish. Also, it includes black beans and vegetables, and garnished with jalapeno, avocado, lime wedges, and a lot of cilantro, making it an authentic Mexican dish. It is the perfect one-pot healthy flavorful dish for any time of the day.

To give this dish an authentic feel, you need to first marinate the shrimp with garlic, salt, and pepper before cooking it with shells to preserve its flavor. This is a cooking trick passed on from one generation to the other: boiling the shrimp with the shells on to retain the flavor. You then use that broth to cook the rice and mix it with sofrito or refrito made from pepper, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and white wine.

To make the dish complete, serve it with avocado slices, lime wedges, hot sauce, and a Mexican onion and tomato salsa.




Arroz con Camarones Colombiano

Colombians adore rice, and you can hardly see any of their meal without a hint of some type of rice dish in it. Their way of preparing Arroz con Camarones is different in various ways. Firstly, to make their dish more flavorful, they blend the shrimp shells into the stock and later use the stock to prepare the rice. To do so, you boil the shrimps in their shells and once you remove the seafood, you put the shells in a blender, blend them and sieve to get a thick broth. Boiling the rice in this thick flavorful broth allows the rice to absorb the taste of the shrimps making it extremely delicious.

Also, they have another way of making this dish special, which involves adding green beans, butter, and green peas to it. They use paprika to add some nice color to the food. To make the dish more nutritious, Colombians add chicken broth, which is healthy, full of vitamins, and low in calories. The dish is fresh, simple, and great for any time of the day.




Arroz con Camarones Recipe (Mexican Version)

If you want to surprise your family or visitors with a delicious Latin American dish, consider preparing them Arroz con Camarones Mexicano. Here is a simple recipe that you can follow to have everyone singing your praises all year long.



  • 2lbs raw deveined shrimps with shells on
  • 4 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2tsp. cumin
  • 2 cups of uncooked rice
  • 2cloves of minced garlic
  • 2tbsp. sunflower or avocado oil
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 diced bell pepper
  • 1 diced red onion
  • 2 peeled, diced, and seeded tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. ground annatto or achiote
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped parsley and more for garnishing
  • Pepper and salt
  • ½ cup of white wine


Cooking Instructions

  1. Start by marinating the shrimp using the crushed garlic, pepper, salt, and one teaspoon of cumin. Put the shrimp in the refrigerator for at least an hour to marinate well before cooking.
  2. Boil water in a big pot and add the deveined shrimps. Let them boil for around two minutes.
  3. Once the shrimp is cooked, remove it from the water and put 21/2 cups of the water you cooked in to boil your rice.
  4. Remove the shells from your shrimps and leave some tails on some of the shrimp to use as garnish. Take half of the shrimp and chop them in halves and leave the other half whole.
  5. In a big pot or saucepan, heat oil and add the minced garlic. Cook it for around three minutes on medium heat.
  6. Add the rice to the oil and garlic and mix well until the rice is well coated with oil.
  7. Add the water you used to boil your shrimps to the rice and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low.
  8. As your rice continues to boil, melt the butter in a big saute pan over medium heat. Add the peppers, onions, parsley, tomatoes, ground achiote, salt, and the rest of the cumin. Cook these ingredients for around ten minutes while stirring them frequently.
  9. To your vegetable mix, add the white wine and continue cooking for five more minutes or until the peppers and onions turn tender.
  10. Mix in your chopped shrimp and sautéed vegetables with the rice, which should still be cooking. Continue to cook on low heat until the rice gets tender and well-cooked.
  11. During the last few minutes, add in the rest of the shrimps and mix everything well.
  12. Taste and add pepper and salt to taste as desired.



On the side, you can serve your Arroz con Camarones with:

  • Aji criollo hot sauce
  • Onion and tomato curtido salsa
  • Fried ripe plantains


For Garnishing

To garnish your Arroz con Camarones dish:

  • Serve with lime wedges and avocado slices
  • Sprinkle some finely chopped parsley and the shrimp with their tails on

After serving this delicious Arroz con Camarones, disfrute de su comida!


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