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Doña Iris's shrimp sauce (Salsa de camarón)

This dish is the Mexican version of the shrimp cocktail. You always see it as a starter in most Mexican restaurants and taquerias where guests enjoy it as an appetizer with a beer or a michelada after a long day.

The dish is a super simple dish with three ingredients to make and is a beautiful balance of flavours. The tender shrimp are just poached and still soft, please do not overcook them to rubber, and infused with the chilli and tomato flavours. Light and with a kick, this is the perfect bite with a cold beer. Traditionally, the shrimp are minced and added to the salsa for a topping sauce. However, I like to serve this dish more as a Mexican appetizer with whole shrimp.

Diana Kennedy is the queen of Mexican cuisine. She has received both Mexico’s Order of the Aztec Eagle and membership in the Order of the British Empire for her contribution to Mexican cuisine and her work in the region. I have quite a few of her books, they are amazing and a must for anyone who wants to deep dive into Mexican cuisine. This book encompasses all the regions in Mexico and is filled with exciting recipes just like this one.

For more recipes from this cookbook click here.


12 large shrimp

1 cup water

Salt, to taste

3 tomatoes

2-3 jalapeño chillies or serrano chillies

Salt, to taste

Broil the tomatoes and chillies in an oven on a lined baking dish. The chillies will be charred in about 3-4 minutes and the tomatoes about 18-20 minutes. Cool and purée till smooth with salt. taste for spice and salt.

While the vegetables are broiling, poach the shrimp in water with a pinch of salt. The shrimp will cook for about 2-3 minutes, they will turn light pink and start curling. Do not overcook the shrimp, they will turn tough. Drain and set aside.

Immerse the shrimp in the salsa and store it in the fridge for at least 3 hours, The flavours from the salsa will penetrate the shrimp.

To serve, add the shrimp to a small soup spoon, I usually use a Chinese soup spoon. Top with some salsa. Serve chilled.

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