Recipe: Aguachiles (Shrimp in a green lemon chili marinade)

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I love seafood. In fact, I am not the only one, my parents are seafood lovers, so, my dad requested to have this for Father’s Day and for his birthday celebration (6/27/15). So, we had three different types of seafood options. My recipe is for only one, Aguachiles, which is a chili-lemon marinade that cooks the shrimp with the acidity of the lemon. You do not pre-cook the shrimp, the lemon does the work for you. It is ceviche, but with chili.


Main Dish:

4 pounds of Shrimp (I bought 4 pounds of Large shrimp that were already devained, I peeled them and it served 10 people, 6 kids and 4 adults.)

2 Serrano Chili’s

20 Medium Sized Limes

6 Yellow Lemons

2 teaspoons of salt

3 teaspoons of pepper

1/2 of an onion (purple onion is the best), or whatever you have, cut into rings and let it marinade with the shrimp.

Optional: 1/2 of an avocado and blend it with the Serrano chili’s, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Extra Spicy-Muy Caliente- Sauce:

8-10 Chili Serrano’s

1 Cup of lemon Juice

1/3 cup of cilantro

1 clove of garlic

1/2 of an avocado

1/3 cup of onion

For Decor:

1 Cucumber cut into rounds

1-2 avocados cut into slices

Step 1: Peel, devaine and wash shrimp.

Peel and wash shrimp

Peel and wash shrimp

Peel the shrimp, including the tail, devaine the back of the shrimp by cutting the spine of the shrimp and removing the black string. This would be the time to either butterfly the shrimp or simply cut into the spine a bit when deviating it that way it is easier to cook with the lemon marinade. Once that is done, wash the shrimp and make sure to squeeze out the excess water by applying pressure onto the shrimp and allowing the water to escape either with a colander or in a bowl and tipping it over.

Step 2: Squeeze lemon or lime or both

I used 4 pounds of large shrimp and used purchased about 20 medium sized limes and about 6 yellow lemons. I squeezed these lemons with a lemon squeezer and squeezed enough to cover the bowl of shrimp. Doing so rendered about 3 cups of juice. I submerged the shrimp in this juice and added 2 teaspoons of salt and 3 teaspoons of pepper.

Step 3: Cut onion and mix this in with the shrimp marinadePhoto on 6-20-15 at 10.00 PM

You can cut rings or in small pieces. We prefer rings as the kids are not keen on onion, except for the oldest and only when it is submerged in lemon, therefore we make it big so the little ones can remove it. You mix it in to the marinade and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator. Cover your container with the shrimp marinade and cover it.

NOTE: Make sure to move the shrimp around a couple of times, if possible, during the marinading process to make sure that everything is cooking throughly.

Step 4: Blend your Aguachiles (Chili-lemon marinade)!Photo on 6-20-15 at 9.54 PM

Okay, so this part can go two ways. For Father’s Day, I marinaded my shrimp overnight with the chili marinade, but for my dad’s birthday party, yesterday, I marinaded them on Friday night with just the lemon juice and I blended the chilies Saturday morning and let it sit until they arrived, 5 hours later.

To create your sauce depends on how spicy you like things. When I make it for just my husband, I blend 6-7 Serrano chilies with the lemon, but for my whole family I only blend 2 with the lemon.

Now for the good part:

Blend 2 Serrano chiles and pour as much lemon juice marinade from your shrimp bowl, that you had marinading overnight. You can add salt, but if you already like the taste of your marinade, you don’t have to. Mix everything together and keep it refrigerated until ready to serve.


I add half of an avocado to this chili sauce and blend it all together. This is not traditional in the recipe, but I like the whipped feel it gives the marinade.

Step 5: Decorate

This is, of course, optional, but it looks nice and tastes great! You can top it off with cucumber and avocado slices on top of the aguachiles (shrimp marinade).

Step 6: Extra Spicy Chili Sauce

Since there are both kids and adults with different chili tolerance levels I like to always make a separate chili sauce. My husband loves this and others can decide to add a little or a lot to their shrimp and the other seafood options we have.

To make: Again, this all depends on your chili tolerance.

8-10 Serrano Chili’s (remove tails)

1 cup of lemon juice

1 garlic clove

1/3 cup of cilantro

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 of an avocado

1/3 cup of onion

Then, blend away and serve on a separate dish so others can have access to either try it or not. Make sure to label this because this will be spicy.

Interestingly, we have 5 parties in two months as Mother’s Day in May, my husband’s birthday in May, my mom’s birthday in June Father’s Day is in June then my Dad’s birthday is in June. So, we often celebrate with seafood.

Let me know what you think. . .don't be shy.

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