Asopao de Camarones Recipe - Puerto Rican Shrimp Stew

Asopao de Camarones

Asopao de Camarones Recipe - Puerto Rican Shrimp Stew
Region / culture: Puerto Rico | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4


Asopao de Camarones
Asopao de Camarones

Asopao de Camarones is a hearty, comforting shrimp and rice soup that hails from the Caribbean. This dish is a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine, known for its rich flavors and satisfying texture. It combines fresh shrimp with aromatic vegetables, rice, and a blend of spices, creating a delicious meal that's perfect for any occasion. Whether you're looking for a cozy dinner on a rainy day or a flavorful dish to impress guests, Asopao de Camarones is sure to delight.


The origins of Asopao de Camarones can be traced back to the culinary traditions of Spain and West Africa, which were brought to the Caribbean by colonizers and slaves. Over time, these influences merged with the indigenous Taíno cooking methods, giving birth to what we now recognize as Puerto Rican cuisine. Asopao, in particular, is a testament to this cultural fusion, combining elements of Spanish paella, African stews, and Taíno techniques. The addition of shrimp celebrates the island's abundant seafood, making Asopao de Camarones a beloved dish in Puerto Rican households.


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How to prepare

  1. Rinse the shrimp.
  2. Baste the shrimp with lemon extract.
  3. Let the shrimp stand.
  4. In a deep saucepan, add the salt, cloves, and ginger to three cups of water.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  6. Sieve the mixture through a colander to remove the remnants of the spices.
  7. In a deep cooking dish, place two tablespoonfuls of olive oil and heat for about one minute.
  8. Saute the onion, pepper, and diced cilantro for less than a minute.
  9. Add the garlic, tomato, and bay leaf, and saute for another minute.
  10. Add the water and bring it to a boil.
  11. Add the rice and reduce the heat to medium.
  12. Cook the rice over medium heat, covered, for approximately twenty minutes.
  13. If the pot is not deep enough, it is likely to boil over, so uncover it often, stir, and let some steam out to prevent it.
  14. Add the shrimp, diced potatoes, and red peppers.
  15. Cook for another ten minutes.
  16. Serve hot, preferably with tostones de plátano.


  • 1. Chicken Asopao: Substitute shrimp with chicken for a different protein option.
  • 2. Vegetarian Asopao: Omit the shrimp and add more vegetables, such as carrots and peas, for a vegetarian version.
  • 3. Spicy Asopao: Add a diced jalapeño or a teaspoon of hot sauce for a spicy kick.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

1. Use fresh shrimp for the best flavor and texture. If using frozen shrimp, ensure they are thoroughly thawed before cooking.

2. Basting the shrimp with lemon extract adds a bright, citrusy note that enhances the overall flavor of the dish.

3. Sauteing the vegetables until just softened helps to build a flavorful base without overcooking them.

4. Adding the rice to the sauteed vegetables and spices allows it to absorb all the flavors before it cooks, resulting in a more flavorful dish.

5. Be sure to stir the pot occasionally while the rice is cooking to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.

Serving Suggestions

Asopao de Camarones is traditionally served hot, often accompanied by tostones de plátano (fried plantains) for a delightful contrast of flavors and textures. A side salad or slices of avocado can also complement the dish, adding freshness and richness.

Cooking Techniques

The key cooking techniques for Asopao de Camarones include sauteing, boiling, and simmering. Sauteing the vegetables and spices helps to release their flavors, while boiling and simmering the rice and shrimp ensures they are cooked through and tender.

Ingredient Substitutions

1. Brown rice instead of white rice for a whole grain option.

2. Chicken broth instead of water for added flavor.

3. Bell peppers of any color can be used in place of green or red peppers.

Make Ahead Tips

Asopao de Camarones can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat on the stove over medium heat, adding a little water or broth if the soup has thickened too much.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Asopao de Camarones in a deep bowl, garnished with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro and a wedge of lime on the side. A colorful side dish, such as a tomato and avocado salad, can enhance the visual appeal and add to the dining experience.

Pairing Recommendations

A light, crisp white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio, pairs beautifully with Asopao de Camarones. The acidity of the wine complements the richness of the dish and balances the flavors.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. To reheat, transfer to a pot and warm over medium heat, adding a little water or broth to adjust the consistency if necessary.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Asopao de Camarones contains approximately 350 calories, making it a moderately energy-dense meal that can fit into a balanced diet.


A serving of Asopao de Camarones contains approximately 45 grams of carbohydrates. The primary source of carbohydrates in this dish is the medium rice, which provides energy and helps to make the soup satisfying and filling.


This dish contains about 10 grams of fat per serving, most of which comes from the olive oil used for sauteing the vegetables. Olive oil is a healthy source of monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial for heart health.


Asopao de Camarones is an excellent source of protein, providing about 25 grams per serving. The shrimp not only adds a delicious flavor but also contributes high-quality protein, which is essential for muscle repair and growth.

Vitamins and minerals

This dish is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C from the tomatoes and lemon extract, vitamin A from the red peppers, and iron from the shrimp. These nutrients support immune function, vision health, and red blood cell production.


The primary allergen in this dish is shellfish (shrimp). Individuals with a shellfish allergy should avoid this recipe or substitute the shrimp with a non-allergenic protein source.


Asopao de Camarones is a nutritious dish that provides a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It's a flavorful way to enjoy a variety of health benefits while indulging in the rich culinary heritage of Puerto Rico.


Asopao de Camarones is a flavorful, nutritious dish that embodies the rich culinary heritage of Puerto Rico. With its combination of fresh shrimp, aromatic vegetables, and spices, it offers a comforting meal that's perfect for any occasion. By following the tips and variations provided, you can enjoy this traditional dish in a way that suits your taste and dietary needs.

How did I get this recipe?

I can still remember the exact moment I discovered this recipe for Asopao de Camarones. It was a hot summer day and I was visiting my dear friend Maria in Puerto Rico. Maria was an incredible cook and always had the most delicious dishes ready for us to enjoy.

That day, she invited me into her kitchen to watch her make Asopao de Camarones, a traditional Puerto Rican shrimp and rice stew that she had learned from her own grandmother. As I watched her expertly chop onions, garlic, and bell peppers, I was mesmerized by the smells that filled the air.

Maria explained each step of the recipe to me, from sautéing the vegetables to adding the broth and rice. She told me that the key to a good Asopao de Camarones was to let the flavors meld together slowly, allowing the shrimp to soak up all the delicious broth.

As we sat down to enjoy the finished dish, I took my first bite and was instantly transported to a tropical paradise. The flavors of the shrimp, rice, and vegetables combined perfectly, creating a comforting and flavorful meal that I knew I had to learn how to make myself.

After my visit with Maria, I returned home and immediately set out to recreate her recipe for Asopao de Camarones. I gathered all the ingredients and carefully followed each step, remembering Maria's guidance and expertise in the kitchen.

As the stew simmered on the stove, I could already smell the familiar aromas that had captivated me in Maria's kitchen. When it was finally ready, I ladled myself a bowl and took a tentative bite, hoping that I had captured the essence of Maria's incredible dish.

To my delight, the flavors were just as delicious as I remembered. The shrimp was tender, the rice perfectly cooked, and the broth rich and flavorful. I couldn't believe that I had successfully recreated Maria's recipe in my own kitchen.

From that moment on, Asopao de Camarones became a staple in my cooking repertoire. I would make it for family gatherings, dinner parties, and even just for myself on a quiet evening at home. Each time I cooked the dish, I would think back to that hot summer day in Puerto Rico and the magical moment when Maria had shared her recipe with me.

Over the years, I have added my own twist to the recipe, incorporating different spices and ingredients to make it my own. But no matter how many variations I try, I always come back to Maria's original recipe, with its simple yet perfect combination of flavors.

As I grow older, I realize the importance of passing down these cherished recipes to the next generation. I have taught my children and grandchildren how to make Asopao de Camarones, sharing with them the story of how I learned the recipe from Maria and the memories that it brings back.

I am grateful for the time I spent with Maria in her kitchen, watching her cook and learning from her expertise. Her Asopao de Camarones will always hold a special place in my heart, reminding me of the power of food to connect us to our past and create lasting memories with the ones we love.


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