Peruvian Shrimp Chowder, or Chupe de Camarones, is a seafood soup that is perfect for a cold and rainy winter day in San Francisco. This is one of the first dishes that my mom taught me to cook — perhaps to show me that basic cooking skills and the right ingredients can result in a hearty and nourishing meal.
It has been too long since I’ve prepared this soup, but I was very happy for the opportunity to recreate this family recipe. While cooking, I tasted it often and adjusted the seasoning until I found the flavor, color, and consistency I was looking for. It should have a hint of spiciness and a rich seafood taste without being too heavy or creamy from the eggs and milk.
The spiciness of course comes from the ajis — aji amarillo and aji panca in this case. I used frozen pink shrimp from the Florida Keys and for simplicity I also used frozen peas and corn. For added seafood flavor, I like to use Better than Bouillon Fish Base. For me, however, the key is the sofrito, or saute of garlic, onion, and tomato that is in many ways the soul of Latin American food.
While this dish is definitely more complex than the sauces, appetizers, or desserts I’ve posted over the past couple of months, it is very much worth the effort and it serves as a nice bridge to the many dishes that await us — get ready, the adventure is just beginning!
- 24 medium size shrimp
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 red onion
- 2 tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon aji amarillo
- 1/2 teaspoon aji panca
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
- 6 cups water
- 2 teaspoons fish base paste
- 1 Yukon Gold potato
- 1/2 cup long grain white rice
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 1/4 cup 1% milk
- 2 eggs
- Peel and devein shrimp. Mince garlic and parsley. Dice the onion and tomato. Peel and cut the potato into small cubes. In a separate bowl, lightly beat 2 eggs and set aside.
- Make the sofrito by sauteing the garlic, onion and tomato in a pot with the canola oil over medium heat. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, aji amarillo, and aji panca. Cook until onions are translucent or about 10 minutes.
- Add 6 cups of water to the pot with the sofrito and stir in the fish base paste. Add the potato cubes and rice. Boil for about 20 minutes or until potato is cooked and rice has expanded.
- Reduce to a simmer and add the shrimp, peas, and corn. Turn off heat after 5 minutes or when the shrimp is cooked.
- Add milk and eggs and stir until egg threads form evenly.
- Serve immediately.
This dish can be served as a main course in 4 large bowls or as an appetizer in 8 smaller bowls.
If you can’t find aji panca, try substituting the same amount of ancho chili powder.