Asopao de Camarones… A tasty, flavor bomb of Shrimp and Rice Soup. Soup that is thick and hearty, almost like a stew.
This one is jam packed with all the Latin flavors of adobo, sofrito and sazon, the trinity of typical Puerto Rican cuisine.
Yes, once again I’m presenting my version of Asopao de Camarones, Puerto Rican style. Try it and you will come back to this shrimp and rice soup again and again.
By now, you certainly know that I am a little biased towards Puerto Rican food, out of the Caribbean. I simply can’t resist the amazing flavors the food develops when mixing their famous sofrito into the pot, along with other Puerto Rican staples.
Now, I had my eye on this Puerto Rican Shrimp and Rice since our visit to Puerto Rico, earlier this year.
This was one of our favorite seafood delicacies out of the island. Asopao de camarones (shrimp gumbo) is a thick Puerto Rican shrimp stew with rice. This travel photo was inspiring me for a long time to make this pot in our kitchen.
This soup has all of the flavors you’ve come to love from the Puerto Rican cuisine. It reminds me of shrimp gumbo, but with Puerto Rican flavors.
What is Asopao?
Is it Soup? Stew? Or Gumbo? Asopao probably is somewhere among all three. This is something every Puerto Rican prides for their own recipe. Something you will find in every restaurant menu, or on the table with all the family on some special day.
It’s one of those heartwarming foods like any other stew in the world, which comforts you on some rainy, chilly day. Asopao is Puerto Rico’s national soup or stew, and one of the most popular gastronomic recipes on the island.
Asopao, simply means “soupy.” Therefore, it’s best eaten with a spoon rather than a fork. Most of the times it always has rice with different proteins like chicken, pork, beef, seafood, vegetables, or any combination with these, like a gumbo.
Different versions of Asopao can be found all over the Caribbean, the most popular being in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Chicken or seafood broth will typically make the base for the dish. The Puerto Rican version will have a heavy dose of sofrito, along with green olives, bell peppers and sometimes a good chorizo.
Asopao de marisco (seafood stew) is second in popularity after asopao de pollo (chicken stew) . It includes clams, shrimp, squid, octopus, fish, lobster, crab, scallops, and mussels.
Today we are making Asopao de Camarones, meaning Soup with Shrimp!
Tips and Tricks for Delicious Asopao De Camarones:
1. For a tasty shrimp Asopao, the most important thing is a soup base that is created by shrimp broth. You can make a very tasty and easy shrimp broth yourself by simply using the shrimp tails and offcuts, and even the heads if you are using head on shrimp. It would take a little extra time to make shrimp broth from scratch, but its so worth when you take that first sip. And it’s the most authentic and traditional way to make this soup. Saying this, you can simply use some shrimp bouillon or shrimp or seafood broth as a base if making this soup on some lazy days.
2. Always use fresh, jumbo sized, wild shrimp for the ultimate shrimp soup.
3. Let it simmer for longer to get those flavors to develop.
4. Add in plenty of their famous seasonings like sofrito, sazon and adobo. Don’t skimp on these flavor bombs.
5. Use home made Sofrito. Homemade sofrito is so much better than store bought, and so important for great Puerto Rican dishes. We have a whole post how to make your own sofrito. Simply click here. For a quick sofrito, blend 1 green bell pepper, 1 cubanelle pepper (optional), 1 small onion, 5-6 garlic cloves, 1 cup of cilantro, 4-5 leaves of culantro (optional) in a blender.
Asopao de Camarones Ingredients
- For Shrimp Broth – Olive oil, onion, bell pepper (any color, we used yellow), garlic, shrimp tails and offcuts, sofrito, cilantro, salt, water.
- Veggies – Onion, red bell pepper.
- Flavor Boosters – Sofrito, adobo, Goya Sazon Culantro y Achiote, garlic, cilantro, salt
- Herbs and Spices – Oregano, cumin, chili flakes.
- Tomato Paste and Tomato sauce
- Olives and Capers
- Uncooked rice – Using long grain is common, though some recipes have short grain rice too.
- Shrimp – Large, wild caught shrimp are ideal.
- Olive oil
How to Make Puerto Rican Shrimp and Rice Soup
1. Make a Shrimp Broth: Heat oil in a large pot and sauté onion, bell peppers and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add in sofrito, shrimp tails, salt and cilantro, and sauté for another 3-4 minutes.
Add in water and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool. Drain the broth through a sieve or colander and reserve the clear shrimp broth.
2. Create a soup base with sofrito: Heat olive oil over medium high heat and sauté onion and bell pepper for 4-5 minutes. Add in garlic along with sofrito and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
Add in tomato paste, olives and capers, along with sazon and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes.
Add in tomato sauce, oregano, cumin, adobo, chili flakes and cilantro. Mix well.
3. Simmer the soup: Add prepared shrimp broth and increase the heat. Bring the broth mixture to a boil. Add in rice. Lower the heat to medium to bring the broth to a simmer. Allow the rice to cook, stirring occasionally.
4. Add shrimp: Once the rice is almost cooked, add in shrimp and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding adobo, if needed. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately with fresh lime.
What to serve Asopao De Camarones with
1. It’s a complete one pot meal in itself with hearty rice, protein and veggies. Simply serve with a dash of lime and garnish with cilantro.
2. A side of perfectly fried tostones is most common. We love our simple Tostones recipe on GypsyPlate.
3. Fresh sliced avocado or some crusty bread, like our No Knead Bread, can go great with this shrimp and rice stew.
Use the same recipe, but change the protein. Try adding chicken, pork or beef to the soup pot instead of shrimp (note that the cooking time will be longer). You can replace the shrimp broth with chicken or beef broth.
You can go all out by making it seafood stew by adding calamari, fish, mussels, or any other seafood of your choice.
Leftovers and Storing
Like any other stew or soup, Asopao de Camarones is great as a leftover. Store leftovers in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
This shrimp stew also freezes very well. Store in an air tight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
You can reheat it in the microwave or on the stove top until heated through. You may wish to add a dash of water to the stew when reheating, as it will have thickened up quite a bit.
All in all, we were extremely happy with our own version of this Asopao de Camarones. The very moment we tried this shrimp soup in Puerto Rico, we wanted to re-create it for GyspyPlate.
It’s great to see when they finally appear here for the whole world to see and cook in their very own kitchen. Let us know if you make this amazing soup and how it turns up.
We love bringing these Latin flavors to your kitchen. Follow GypsyPlate, share GypsyPlate and keep on coming back to GypsyPlate…
Asopao de Camrones, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 bell pepper (any color, we used yellow), diced
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- Tails and shells from 1.5lbs shrimp
- 1 Tbsp sofrito
- handful cilantro
- 1.5 tsp salt, or to taste
- 10 cups water
- 1.5 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 5 Tbsp sofrito
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 10 green olives
- 2 Tbsp capers
- 2 packets Goya Sazon Culantro y Achiote
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- 2 to 2.5 tsp adobo
- 1/2 cup uncooked rice
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1.5 lbs shrimp
- For Shrimp Broth: Heat oil in a large pot and sauté onion, bell peppers, garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add in sofrito, shrimp tails, salt, cilantro and sauté for another 3-4 minutes. Add in water and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool. Drain the broth through a sieve or colander and reserve the clear shrimp broth.
- In the same pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat and sauté onion, bell pepper for 4-5 minutes. Add in garlic along with sofrito and sauté for 3-4 minutes..
- Add in tomato paste, olives and capers, along with sazon, and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes.
- Add in tomato sauce, oregano, cumin, adobo, chili flakes, cilantro and mix well.
- Add prepared shrimp broth and increase the heat. Bring the broth mixture to a boil. Add in rice. Lower the heat to medium to bring the broth to simmer. Allow the rice to cook, stirring occasionally.
- Once the rice is almost cooked, add in shrimp and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding adobo, if desired.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve it with avocado and/or tostones.
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