Growing up in San Diego allowed me to spend a lot of time exploring Baja, Mexico with my family and friends. There is one place in particular, in the deep south, where we spent most of our family vacations and holidays: a small fishing village called San Juanico, also known to Americans as Scorpion Bay. Think dirt roads, cactus, no electricity, remote beaches, disconnecting, oh—and endless, perfect waves.
Since a young age, I was obsessed with food and the traditions that came with it. Tamales on Christmas, birria for birthdays, and pozole for the holidays. I was the first person to help in the kitchen, and always wanted to learn from the abuelas. However, there is one tradition that I will carry on forever. No matter where I am, just thinking about it makes my mouth water, and gives me a feeling of pure relaxation... Aguachile. Aguachile means “chile water” in Spanish. It is Mexico’s ceviche-cousin, but different because the shrimp (or scallops) are lightly marinated in a puree of lime juice, garlic, chilis, and salt, then topped with thinly sliced onions, and cucumber for a perfectly balanced crunch.
I will never forget that memorable, hot, summer day when I first tasted aquachile on the beach with a local family. Everyone sitting around as they topped their chips with the aguachile, and a dash of hot sauce. I was hooked. I begged them to teach me, and they laughed saying “es muy facil (easy)!” The next day, I went over to learn how to make it at my neighbor’s house, and have never looked back. As a nutritionist, I tend to put my healthy twist on all my recipes but never sacrificing flavor. Aquachile will always remind me of the perfect summertime beach day in San Juanico.
Shrimp Aguachile with Cucumber
(from my upcoming Keto Mexican Cookbook)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time 1 hour
- 1 pound fresh sustainably-caught shrimp or scallops
- 1 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 large cucumber with skin on, sliced into thin rounds
- 2-3 fresh serrano chiles, seeds and stems removed
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons reposado tequila (optional)
- ½ red onion, sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons chia gel or 1 teaspoon moringa powder (add them in the part of marinade)
- Pat dry the scallops and slice into thin rounds, about 3 slices per scallop.
- Place lime juice, garlic, half the cucumber, serranos and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Strain and return the strained marinade to the blender along with the oil.
- Blend until smooth.
- Toss the scallops with the cilantro and cover with the chile-lime sauce.
- Add tequila if using and stir in the sliced onion and remaining cucumber.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.
- Serve with Siete Foods Chips lime chips.