Spicy Guatemalan Shrimp

Spicy Guatemalan Shrimp Recipe

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Vickie Parks


In Guatemala, this dish is called Pepián Rojo con Camarones. It's a spicy stew-like main dish featuring fresh shrimp that's simmered in a tomato-based broth with vegetables and chile peppers for extra flavor and heat.


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20 Min
30 Min
Stove Top


  • 1 medium
    onion, quartered
  • 3 clove
    garlic, minced
  • 2
    dried pasilla chiles
  • 1
    dried ancho chile pepper (or 1 diced poblano pepper)
  • 1/2 cup
    sesame seeds
  • 4 medium
    tomatoes, quartered
  • 1
    jalapeno pepper, seeded
  • 5 sprig(s)
    fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp
    sea salt
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp
  • 2 large
    carrots, diced
  • 1 large
    zucchini, diced
  • 1 large
    chayote, diced
  • 1 cup
  • 4 cups
    low-sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 1 lb
    medium-size shrimp or prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp
    salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup
    fresh cilantro, chopped

  • 3 cups
    cooked rice, for serving
  • 6
    warmed tortillas, for serving (optional)
  • 1 large
    lime, sliced into 6 wedges (for garnish)

How to Make Spicy Guatemalan Shrimp


  1. In a medium skillet, sauté the onions, garlic, pasilla and ancho chiles about 2 to 3 minutes per side or starting to brown and the onion is lightly charred. Remove; set aside.
  2. Add sesame seeds to the skillet, cover skillet, and toast about 2 minutes or just starting to brown lightly.
  3. Place browned chile mixture, toasted sesame seeds, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, whole cilantro sprigs, and sea salt in a blender, and puree with just enough water to produce a smooth, thick paste. Set the paste aside.
  4. To a stockpot or Dutch oven, add the carrots, zucchini, chayote, corn and enough broth to just cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, stir in the blended chile paste, and let simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  5. Add shrimp, cilantro and salt, and stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes more. Shrimp should be pink and vegetables should be tender but still have a slight crunch to them.
  6. Serve immediately with rice. And, if desired, add a warmed tortilla to each each serving (most families would use corn tortillas but flour tortillas can be used instead). Garnish servings with a lime wedge and chopped cilantro sprinkled on top, and serve immediately.

Printable Recipe Card

About Spicy Guatemalan Shrimp

Course/Dish: Seafood
Main Ingredient: Seafood
Regional Style: Latin American

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