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Caldo de camarón by Sofia Craxton

Serves

6–8

Cooks In

less than 60 minutes

Difficulty

A little effort

This delicious, warming soup is spicy and extremely moreish, a bit similar to a Tom Yum soup. It is served at many cantinas in Mexico for free, either as a welcoming gesture for choosing to visit a particular establishment or just to whet your appetite. This soup is fantastic on a cold day and like with any hot and spicy soup, it is quite comforting for those who also happen to have a hangover! My late father was a real foodie and he loved this soup, so much so that he became such good friends with the chefs at his favourite cantina and they gave him the recipe. He used to make it on cold days, so to me, it's reminiscent of winter and I dedicate this recipe to his memory.

Method

  1. Make the fish stock first: put the water, herbs, celery, carrot, garlic and three quarters of the onion into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiling, add the fish head and bones. Reduce heat so liquid is barely simmering and cook for 15 minutes. Strain the stock and leave to one side.
  2. Put the dried prawns in a pan with enough water to cover them and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat so the liquid is barely simmering and leave for 5 minutes. Drain the prawns, reserving their cooking liquid. Peel the prawns and keep some whole, chop the rest and leave to one side with the cooking liquid.
  3. Put the stock in a saucepan and add the chopped and whole dried prawns with their cooking liquid, diced carrots and potatoes. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked (around. 10 minutes).
  4. Prepare the chilli sauce for the broth: De-stem and deseed the dried chillies and cut into large pieces. Soak them in 250ml of hot water, then blend with the remaining quarter of onion and pass through sieve.
  5. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the chilli sauce mixture and the fresh king prawns. Simmer for 10 minutes and season to taste. Serve hot in individual bowls with lime wedges.

* For a sustainable alternative to the dried shrimp and king prawns, use organically farmed prawns (available from Sainsbury’s) and North Atlantic prawns: peel the prawns and use the heads and shells to make a lovely, light, sweet, prawny broth. Always check which fish is sustainable by going online to the Good Fish Guide where you can also download an app for your phone.