Salt & Wind Travel

{Aguachile Verde} Sinaloa-Style Chile Lime Marinated Shrimp Recipe

{Aguachile Verde} Sinaloa-Style Chile Lime Marinated Shrimp Recipe

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That trip to Tijuana was phenomenal — I stuffed myself with street food from morning until night.

The group who headed to Baja California was a motley food crew with a food journalist, a few artisans, and a chef who served me my first aguachile. So, stopping and trying every aguachile we encountered was only fitting.

On our second day, we started out at the Mariscos El Paisa street stand to get a taste of Sinaloa aguachile, a style of aguachile Verde. Now, I’m not the master coctelero that these guys were, so by now means, is this their exact recipe.

But, I recreated my favorite parts of the dish to make this {Aguachile Verde} Sinaloa Style Chile Lime Marinated Shrimp recipe, and, suffice it to say, it’s going to edge out ceviche for this summer’s go-to party snack. 

Mexican Seafood Street Food

Though tacos are top of mind when you think of archetypal Mexican street food, you’ll find tons of seafood dishes served by street vendors while traveling near the coast.

And sooner or later, you’ll come across aguachile. Not only is this raw seafood dish uber-popular because it’s tasty, but also it’s said to be a go-to for many a Sinaloan cuando está crudo or when they have a hangover. The more time we spend in Mexico, the earlier we find ourselves ordering aguachile though we have yet to test its validity as a hangover cure!

What Is Aguachile?

At first glance, aguachile (pronounced “ah-gwah-chee-lay”) looks like ceviche, but there are a few key differences. Before we get into those, let’s talk about its origin. 

Aguachile is a raw marinated seafood dish that is said to originate in the western Mexican state of Sinaloa. Best known for the beach town, Mazatlán, Sinaloa has a unique position that means its coastline crosses from the Sea of Cortez into the Pacific Ocean. And that means that seafood is a major player in classic Sinaloa foods. 

There is a long-standing friendly food rivalry between Sinaloa and the neighboring state of Nayarit as to who has better seafood dishes. Both regions have seriously delicious classic recipes, but aguachile is among the most popular of the local recipes.

How To Make Aguachile

If you look up the definition of aguachile, you’ll often see it called a ceviche, which I get because, like most ceviches, it’s raw seafood that gets tossed with citrus juice. But, while most ceviche recipes let the seafood sit in the citrus so that it “cooks,” aguachile is served as soon as it’s assembled.

As the name suggests, aguachile (translating to “chili water”) is supposed to be spicy. Traditionally, this is made with teeny but very spicy chiltepin peppers, but they can be hard to find. 

FAQs About Aguachile

What Is The Difference Between Ceviche And Aguachile?

As we said above, the difference between the two dishes is mostly in the preparation and “cooking” time. While ceviche marinates for anywhere from a half hour to multiple hours, aguachile is tossed in the fiery chili water and served immediately. 

Is It Safe To Eat Raw Shrimp In Aguachile?

So long as the shrimp or seafood used is super fresh and from a reliable source and the cook preparing the dish follows proper HAACP standards, then, yes, it is safe to eat. The exception is for anyone with a compromised immune system, children, and older people, who are most susceptible to foodborne illnesses. We have never had an issue eating aguachile, but don’t eat it if you are in doubt. 

How Are You Supposed To Eat Aguachile?

Mexican aguachile is served on a plate with tostadas or tortilla chips on the side, and you either dip the chips into the aguachile or pile it on the tostadas and eat i. Many people also add their favorite hot sauce — for seafood, we opt for Huichol or Valentina. Unlike a seafood tostada or ceviche that you might find stateside, aguachile doesn’t have mayo or any other creamy sauces. 

Okay, now it’s time to stock up on these Mexican pantry ingredients, then try your hand at baking this, and then share your creation with us by tagging @saltandwind and #swsociety on social

Aguachile Verde
{Aguachile Verde} Sinaloa-Style Chile Lime Marinated Shrimp Recipe

{Aguachile Verde} Sinaloa-Style Chile Lime Marinated Shrimp Recipe

On my last trip to Tijuana I stopped and tried every aguachile I came across and I recreated my favorite parts of the ones tried to make this {Aguachile Verde} Sinaloa-Style Chile Lime Marinated Shrimp recipe.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 158 kcal


  • 1 pound uncooked, unpeeled shrimp (about 20)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 (3-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon canola, grapeseed, or coconut oil
  • 1 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves and stems
  • 2 serrano chiles ends trimmed and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 red onion trimmed and sliced paper thin
  • 2 Japanese cucumbers trimmed and sliced paper thin
  • 1 medium firm-ripe avocado pitted and thinly sliced


  • Prepare The Shrimp: Use a sharp paring knife to split the peeled shrimp half lengthwise and discard any veins. Transfer to a plate, sprinkle all over with salt, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours.
  • Bake The Tostadas: Meanwhile, heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Brush both sides of tortillas with 1 tablespoon of the oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden and crisp, about 5 to 8 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.
  • Make The Aguachile: Meanwhile, combine chilies, lime juice, water, and cilantro with a pinch of salt in a blender and blend until thoroughly blended. Toss shrimp with chili-lime marinade and onion and return to refrigerator another 2 hours. Mix in cucumber, season once more with salt and pepper.
    Serve right away with tostadas and avocado.



Serving: 1servingCalories: 158kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 12gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 823mgPotassium: 460mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 386IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 70mgIron: 1mg
Keyword easy shrimp appetizer, mexican street food
Tried this recipe?Mention @saltandwind or tag #swsociety!

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