Karen’s Shrimp Ceviche from Ecuador

Ecuadorian shrimp ceviche

Submitted by Emilly Olivares

This shrimp ceviche is perfect for those hot summer days when our bellies crave something light and fresh. However, in the coastal region of Ecuador, where my wife Karen’s family lives, ceviche is enjoyed all year round and traditionally eaten on weekends for breakfast or brunch.

Although we now live just outside of Chicago, my wife Karen was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and raised in New York City by her Ecuadorian mother Magda and abuela Olga. Her fondest memory associated with this shrimp ceviche oe ceviche de camarón goes back to the late 90s/early 2000s when she would visit her familia in Guayaquil. On Sunday mornings, her cousin Michael would run out to la plaza where he’d buy fresh camarones and produce for mamá Olga. 

Soon after, grandma would busy herself in the kitchen preparing everyone’s ceviche favorito, while Karen and her familia gathered in the family room. They knew better than to enter grandma’s live cocina, so they sat around enjoying each other’s company as the delicious aromas teased their taste buds.

Karen is happy to share this special recipe for shrimp ceviche that she learned from her mamá, who learned it from her sister, who was taught by their mother!

Ecuador’s Regional Influences on Its Ceviche

This shrimp recipe reflects la gastronomía of one of Ecuador’s four main regions: La Costa in western Ecuador. (The other three are La Sierra, Galapagos and the Amazon.) La Costa is known for its bounty of fresh seafood from the Pacific. Mamá Olga adds hominy to her ceviche, in keeping with the traditions of La Sierra region, but Karen prefers this receta without the maíz, which she also learned from Mamá Olga.

This dish is probably different than other ceviches you’ve had because it starts with cooking a savory broth. The raw shrimp shells are simmered in water with garlic, a pinch of shrimp bouillon, sugar, ketchup and mustard. Karen’s mom explains that boiling the shells “mantiene el sabor del camarón,” helping the dish retain the freshness and flavor of the shrimp. The resulting broth’s combo of sweetness and acidity from the limes beautifully bathes the cooked shrimp and chopped veggies. 

This recipe is unique to Karen’s family and reflects her personal experience as a first generation Ecuadorian-American. It honors her abuela’s cooking and their family heritage. Karen and I hope you enjoy the process and outcome of this delicioso ceviche de camarón!

Ready to try Karen’s Shrimp Ceviche from Ecuador?

Karen’s Shrimp Ceviche from Ecuador

3 from 4 votes
Recipe by Karen’s family Cuisine: Ecuadorian
Servings

4 to 6

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 1 shrimp, raw and unpeeled

  • 1 1/2 1 1/2 limes

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 cilantro, chopped

  • 1 1/2 cup 1 1/2 green and red bell peppers, chopped

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 red onion, chopped

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 tomato, chopped

  • 3 cloves 3 garlic, minced or finely chopped

  • 1/4 cube 1/4 shrimp bouillon

  • 1 tsp 1 ketchup

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 mustard

  • 1 tsp 1 sugar

  • 1 1/2 cup 1 1/2 water

  • 1 Tbsp 1 olive oil

  • salt, to your taste

  • pepper, to your taste

Directions

  • Chop the bell peppers, red onion and tomato into small pieces.
  • Finely chop or mince garlic cloves and cilantro.
  • Clean, de-shell and devein shrimp. Important: Keep the shells and set them aside. Do not throw them out!
  • In a large bowl, mix the chopped bell peppers, tomato, red onion, 1/2 of the chopped cilantro, the juice of 1 ½ limes and olive oil. Set aside the bowl.
  • Place a large pot on low-medium heat. Add the shrimp shells, water, shrimp bouillon, garlic, ketchup, mustard, sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper (to taste). Let it simmer (be sure it does not boil) until it is aromatic and the garlic is cooked to softness—about 2- to 3 minutes.
  • Remove the shells from broth by straining the liquid. Discard the shells and keep the broth. There should be about 1 ¼ cup of broth remaining.
  • Return the broth to the pot, still on low-medium heat. Add the raw shrimp and stir until the shrimp is cooked.
  • Add the cooked shrimp to the bowl with veggies, along with about ¼ cup of the broth to the ceviche. Mix together. It’s ready!
  • Serve the shrimp ceviche with a side of white rice and a crispy side of chifles—plantain chips—or fried plantains. We hope you enjoy this Ecuadorian special dish.

Notes

  • Karen uses Knorr or Maggi shrimp bouillon. As she says, “use half of a half of a bouillon cube” for this shrimp ceviche recipe.
  • For the mustard, Karen uses yellow mustard.
Shrimp ceviche Ecuadorian
Mix the chopped bell peppers, tomato, red onion, cilantro, the juice of 1 ½ limes, and olive oil in a bowl.
Shrimp ceviche Ecuadorian
Here’s the secret to this recipe: Boil the peeled shells of the shrimp to make a rich, savory broth.
Shrimp ceviche Ecuadorian
Here’s another step that makes this ceviche so amazing: add about ¼ cup of the shrimp-shell broth to the ceviche.
Ecuadorian shrimp ceviche
It’s ready. Serve this ceviche de camarón with white rice and a crispy side of chifles—plantain chips. Que rico!
Shrimp ceviche Ecuadorian
Karen, left, and I met in the Marines. After a year of dating, she met my mother, asked for her blessing, and we were married! Almost six and a half years later, we’ve both completed and moved on from our military service and purchased our first home in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. We are full-time students, dog moms and foodies.
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  1. Hola, soy de Guayaquil. Has considerado poner el jugo de una naranja? Y hay un maíz que puedes tostar que llaman cancha. Cada quien pone en su plato lo que quiere. Y veo que no usas ají..
    Con todo, voy a probar el ceviche de tu abuela.