Shrimp Asopao

November 12, 2012

Hello HungryFoodLovers! It is Lunes Latinos! Can you tell how excited I am? I am really, really excited because today I will share with you a recipe that is made to do just that, excite you and your taste buds.

This bright and tasty soup tastes and smells like the Caribbean. It’s an island in a bowl, a splash of ocean in your mouth, a spoonful of sunshine, and a well-deserved serving of tropical warmth for my soul. Ok, ok,  I’ll stop, enough of the cheesy metaphors. All I can say is that it’s just good, really good and you must try it at home. Think gumbo but easier or risotto but with a light broth that can be enjoyed in a much shorter time.

This is Asopao which is very popular in Puerto Rico, Venezuela and in my Dominican Republic where is mostly enjoyed on rainy days or to feed large groups. This is a one-pot, comfort food crowd-pleaser usually made with chicken, but a more festive version for special occasions is made with seafood. As my goal cooking it was to transport myself to a hammock under the coconut trees of the Dominican Republic, I decided to go with the seafood version. I have not found many variations of this dish across Latin America, but if you know of a similar dish with a different name please share it with us, we would love to know.

Shrimp Asopao / Asopao de Camarones

Rice and shrimp are the stars of the dish.

Due to the simplicity of the recipe there are no step by step pictures as all ingredients go in one pot and are cooked till the final result looks like this.


Shrimp Asopao – yields 8 bowls

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 cup clam juice
1/2 cup carrots, minced
1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
8 cups of water
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cups rice
1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon lime juice
1 pound shrimp, deveinedDirections
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add onions, garlic, peppers and cilantro until onions are translucent.
Add tomato paste and clam juice mixing well.
Add carrots and peas let cook for about 5 minutes so that all the flavors marry well before adding water.
Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil over medium high heat (keep the remaining water in another pot, bring to a boil and set aside over very low heat).
Add salt and rice to the main pot with veggies and stir.
Bring the heat down to medium and keep stirring.
Regularly add more water from the hot water pot to make sure the rice keeps cooking on the same amount of liquid and it does not evaporate out.
Keep cooking for about 15 minutes and check the texture of the rice. It should be soft all the way as you bite and should have doubled in size.
Once rice is cooked add lime juice and vinegar and stir.
Add shrimp and cook for another 5 minutes.

  • Do not cook this dish with much time in advance before serving as the longer the dish sits the more liquid the rice will absorb resulting in a more risotto style dish. This dish requires a proportion of at least 4:1 broth to rice in order to be an authentic Asopao.
  • Do not overcook the shrimp (longer than 5 minutes or until they become bright pink) as this will make them tough and chewy.
  • To add acidity to the dish Agrio which literally translates to sour (a Dominican spicy, vinegar based and with a touch of sour orange sauce) isadded to the dish at the end of the cooking process. If you do not have Agrio you can replace this effect with lime juice and vinegar like in this recipe.
  • This dish is a meal by itself but Dominican like to enjoy it with a side of avocados and fried plantains.

17 Responses to “Shrimp Asopao”

  • Live.Love.Laugh

    OMG! I cannot stop reading this blog. You keep me inspired and I want to cook something special for my loved ones everyday -despite my very, very busy schedule. I used to do it before, but my life has been getting very busy and I had stopped making delicious recipes. Now, I have added back the joy of cooking to my agenda and did not expected the happiness this would bring to me and my family…Thank you HungryFoodLove! On the other hand, I thought I did not like Asopao, but now, I think I was wrong hahaha =D . This colorful dish looks amazing and, as you mentioned, brings the warmth of our loved Dominican Republic. Can’t wait to try this!

  • Wow, this recipe looks really amazing! Yum!!! So comforting especially on a cold day like today in Chicago.

  • I did this one already! It was sooooo easy to do, did’nt spend too much time in the kitchen (i really appreciate that part), all of us (including my four year old daughter) ate two plates!! Sice i couldnt find platanos, we ate it with baguette bread it was sooo tasty! Thank you so much for helping me keep my dominican tradition being so far from home!

    • So Glad it worked out for you. This was my first time trying it and I was also surprised on how quick and easy the dish was done without compromising the flavors. It felt like I was back home, so I totally understand you. Come back for more and keep sharing our FB page so more people get to experience HFL. Gracias!!

  • Lorena

    I am making this one soon! Your blog is beautifully written and I love your spark. it is obvious that you put much love into everything you do. That’s what it’s all about. So glad we met on instagram! I feel like I know you. Un abrazo. Lorena

    • Lorena you are a sweetheart! Its weird but I fell the same way. I think what draw me more to your ig was your description: it’s all about love. Lets keep this joi de vivre and I am glad you visited the blog, come back often and pls help me spread the word

  • Lorena

    Will do! Girl, you deseve to write a cook book! I’ll buy it 😉 keep it up and keep inspiring us all! XO!

  • WOW! This looks absolutely amazing! I can’t tell you how much I wish I could reach through the screen and enjoy a bowl.

  • looks very pretty… even for me, who am a vegetarian. I have vegetarian shrimp in my freezer, so I might attempt a vegetarian version of this after all.

    A few questions – the rice… raw or it is cooked rice???
    What’s Agrio??? is this a brand of product??? because it is new to me…


  • Lola

    Thanks for the recipe! I have never done asopao before…I will try this recipe because it looks so easy to make :)

  • Rossy

    Amiga, luego te digo que tal manana cenamos con esta rica receta! gracias!

Trackbacks & Pings

  • Food blogs we love: Hungry Food Love says:

    […] as much or as little as they would like to their soups and stews. I mention the use of Agrio in the Asopao de Camarones (Shrimp Asopao) post as it is the perfect example of a dish where Agrio is added. The heat and kick added to Dominican […]

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