Coctel de Camarones, or Mexican Shrimp Cocktail, is an easy recipe that is low in calories and incredibly yummy. It’s a seafood heaven in every bite!
The Hubs and I took an impromptu, last minute trip to Ensenada and the Valle de Guadalupe.
Baja California has the best seafood!
If you ever visit, you must check out the Mercado Negro, or fish market area, of Ensenada.
My favorite thing to eat whenever I’m there: Coctel de Camarones, or Mexican Shrimp Cocktail.
Different Names for Coctel de Camarones:
You might hear the names: Coctel de Camaron or Cocktail de Camarones.
Most people will use the name Coctel de Camarones, and that is what I call it.
All of these names are correct.
There are many cruise ships that come into the Ensenada port.
It drives a lot of tourism into the area. Or, as in our case, there are quite a few tourists from San Diego or LA who drive south to enjoy the beautiful, rustic scenery of Baja California.
I often imagine that this is what the California Coast looked like hundreds of years before fast food joints dotted the landscape.
The roads in Mexico are not like the roads in the US. You will find a lot of potholes.
Normally, the “cuotas” or tollroads are maintained by the government. You’ll encounter few potholes on those roads.
To try to entice the American tourists, you will hear a lot of English, menus in English, even road signs in English.
The Mercado Negro is truly fascinating.
It’s only a few steps away from the marina area where fishermen go out daily and return with the “catch of the day.”
You find fish of all kinds – marlin, red snapper, angel fish, and so much more.
Some of these fish were just wiggling. And, crazy as it may sound, one was blinking at me. No joke!
From Tijuana to Ensenada, it is 80 km, or 49 miles.
If you are going by car, you will pass two toll roads. You can pay in American dollars. Usually just a few dollars.
Sometimes, you will find that they do not charge because of a strike.
When you encounter this, they will ask you for a donation.
You can give them whatever you like or nothing at all. I will usually give them a $10 pesos coin. Nothing more.
On your way back to the US, there might be a military stop.
Don’t be alarmed. Answer their questions. If they ask you get out, watch them. I’ve never experienced this first hand, but I have heard of them planting stuff in the car.
For my fellow Spanish speakers, I have found that if you talk to them. Ask them how their day is going. Simple chit chat will go a long ways.
These prices are in pesos and not dollars.
NOTE: Haggle the price.
Even if they say $5, ask for $3. Then settle on $4.
They fully expect you to negotiate. And they’re probably even a little disappointed if you don’t.
It is true. Everything is cheaper in Mexico. That’s because we are paying with US American dollars.
Right now, for every $1 US dollar, you can get $18 pesos. That will take you far.
For example, these jumbo shrimp $230 pesos for 1 kilo.
Let’s do some quick math. Shall we?
That’s roughly $12.77 in US American dollars for almost 2 1/2 pounds of jumbo-sized shrimp.
I came back to the US. At my local grocery store, they charge $15 for 1 pound of jumbo sized shrimp.
Talk about a bargain!
I would make Cocktail de Camarones every single day. lol.
The most amazing part to me is that literally across the way of the Mercado Negro are several restaurants.
Those fish could swim across the street into the kitchen if they could.
It doesn’t get any fresher than this!
No need to exchange dollars for pesos. You can pay in dollars. The city of Ensenada is used to the American tourists.
After a bite, walk around. There are plenty of little stands for you to buy Mexican souvenirs. Or walk along the marina and listen to musicians.
We live close to the US/ Mexico border. I can get to Tijuana in about 20 minutes.
Every 6 weeks or so, we go down to Ensenada and the Mercado Negro just to pick up fresh seafood. There’s free 2-hour parking (not on the main street) but to the side by the road that goes back to Tijuana.
We ask the fish monger for ice for our cooler and take our fishies and shrimp home.
Then, we freeze everything as soon as we get home.
When we’re making say Ceviche de Camaron, we take out our shrimp and defrost.
Cheap, fresh, and not farm raised. Love it!
Fresh ingredients is what makes this Coctel de Camaron. I can’t stress that enough. Of course, you can use frozen shrimp.
I’ve started to freeze all my seafood even if I’m going to make it in a couple of days.
How to thaw shrimp:
Place shrimp in a large container of water. Let sit for 20 minutes, or until completely thawed.
Make this dish for a party. You can even make this Coctel de Camarones recipe ahead of time and serve it as an appetizer.
Be careful. You don’t want to get anyone sick. Place the Coctel de Camaron on ice or serve it right away.
Your Coctel de Camarones will last 3-4 days in the fridge before it goes bad.
I don’t recommend freezing it. In fact, I’ve never heard of anyone freezing it. Maybe because it has never lasted more than a day. lol.
Also, be sure to serve with hot sauce. What type? Well, I’m a fan of Cholula and Valentina. Some people like Tapatio.
My advice is to serve the Coctel de Camaron with several hot sauce bottles and a few packages of saltine crackers. Yum!
- 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
- Juice of 3 limes (about ¼ cup)
- 1 lb cooked medium-sized shrimp - peeled, deveined, and tails removed
- 2 roma tomatoes, finely diced
- 1 cucumber, finely diced
- 1-2 jalapeños pepper, seeded and finely diced
- Salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 cups tomato juice (such as Clamato)
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 teaspoons Hot pepper sauce
- 1 bunch cilantro - (discard stems and leaves chopped)
- 2 avocados - peeled, pitted, and diced
In a small bowl, mix the onion with the lime juice.
Let stand for 10 minutes.
In a separate and much larger bowl, add the shrimp, tomatoes, cucumber, jalapeños, salt and pepper. Mix to combine and set aside.
You can add more jalapeños, if you like it spicier.
To the onions, add the tomato juice, ketchup, and hot pepper sauce.
With a fork, whisk to combine.
Then add the tomato-onion mixture to the shrimp bowl.
Stir to combine.
Add the cilantro and avocados.
Gently mix everything.
Note: You can also top off the serving with the avocado instead of adding it to the mixture.
Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.
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