Shrimp cocktail with no ketchup? Why? It’s delicious and from scratch, that’s why! I love a good food challenge! On any given day, I stock my pantry and refrigerator with all of these ingredients. Here we go!
What, No Ketchup?
Not all Mexican shrimp cocktail recipes are prepared with ketchup. In the popular coastal areas of Mexico the cocktail is slightly different. It’s still a tomato base, but made from scratch in large batches. The quicker version would be to use Clamato made especially for shrimp cocktail and add spice to it. It’s much more satisfying, for me, to prepare it from scratch. The flavors are so fresh and delicious!
What Else Can I Use The Sauce For?
Besides being tasty in this Mexican shrimp cocktail recipe, there’s more! It’s super delicious for Mexican bloody Mary’s, Micheladas and seafood soups too! I am going to forced to develop new recipes for each of those using this tomato base. I can’t wait!
Go All Out. Or Keep It Simple!
Adding diced tomatoes and cucumbers is the way I like to enjoy this recipe. You could keep it very simple with finely diced onion and cilantro. If I am going to go through all the trouble of preparing that sauce, I am going to go all out and make it special!
Use What You Have!
I don’t always have green onions on hand, but I did on this day and I am happy I added them. If you have the stalks of celery with the leaves, use those. So much more flavor in those leaves. Opt for peppercorns over already ground black pepper. Big difference! Sorry the photo is a little dark.
I have always had a thing for developing salsas and sauces. It’s my favorite thing to do!
Why, oh why shrimp with the heads on??
Lol! Flavor, flavor and more flavor!! I have to admit, that it’s not my favorite job having to clean and peel those shrimp after they are chilled. It is a bit tedious, but doable. It’s just one of those things a cook has to do. I still remember the first time I had to cook beef tongue and tripe on my own. Yikes! Doesn’t bother me one bit now.
Why Remove the Seeds?
The seeds and pulp contain a lot of water. You don’t want to water down that beautiful spicy tomato sauce after all that work!
That Sauce! Oh My!!!
As I state in the recipe below, I divided the tomato base in half. I poured half in the molcajete after grinding the chiles with the garlic and mixing in the lime juice. Sooo tasty!
Spicy Mexican Shrimp Cocktail(With No Ketchup)
- large glasses
- For Tomato Base
- 4 large roma tomatoes sliced in half
- 1/2 white onion
- 3 cloves of garlic. peeled
- 2 serrano peppers stems removed
- 2 green onions roughly chopped
- 1 large carrot roughly chopped
- 1 large stalk of celery roughly chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tsps whole peppercorns
- 2 tsps dried chile piquin or 3 chile de arbol
- 7-8 cups of water
- You Will Also Need
- 1 1/2 pounds shrimp with shells and heads on, if possible
- 2 more cloves of garlic peeled
- 1 more tbsp dried chile piquin or 6 chile de arbol
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 limes
- 2 more large roma tomatoes seeded and diced fine
- 1 large cucumber washed, partially peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 more serrano pepper minced
- 1 small red onion diced fine
- Cilantro to taste
- 1 large avocado. sliced or cubed
- For tomato base, add all of the ingredients listed into a large pot. Cover with 7-8 cups of water and heat to medium. Once it comes up to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 10 minutes.
- Remove the tomatoes, onion and garlic and reserve. To that same pot with remaining vegetables, add the shrimp. Cook just until shrimp turns pink, 3-4 minutes.
- Quickly remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl with ice water. Or run under very cold water using a colander. Reserve all of the broth remaining in pot after straining all the solids out.
- To the blender, add the tomatoes, onion ,garlic and 5 cups of reserved broth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Blend on high until smooth. Transfer to bowl and skim the foam off of the top. Cover and chill for a few hours. The longer it sits, the more flavor it will have.
- While the tomato base chills, prep the shrimp and vegetables. Peel the shrimp, leaving a few with the tails on to garnish the glasses. Combine all the finely diced vegetables with cilantro. Cover and keep chilled.
- If you would like to make your shrimp cocktail more spicy, you will need the extra dried chile piquin or arbol listed above. On a preheated griddle or skillet, add the 1 tablespoon(or 6 chile de arbol) of dried chile piquin and 2 cloves of garlic. Drizzle a tiny bit of oil onto ingredients. Toast and fry, stirring often, so they don’t burn. As soon as they become aromatic and slightly blackened in some spots, remove them from the heat.
- I used my molcajete to grind the chiles and garlic down to a paste, then added some lime juice and half of the tomato base. I seasoned with salt and pepper, to taste. You can also add them to a blender with some of the reserved chilled tomato base and blend until smooth. I decided to divide the tomato base into two equal parts. I mixed half with the spicy dried chiles and left the other half mild. Or, you can mix it all together.
- If you are dividing it, make sure you squeeze in fresh lime juice, to taste along with salt and pepper to the mild also. Stir well to combine. Begin by alternately layering your large glasses with shrimp and finely diced vegetable mix until you get to the top. Pour in your seasoned tomato base. Add hot sauce, avocado and garnish rim with some shrimp. Serve with saltines or corn tostadas.