Guatemalan Shrimp Ceviche de Cameron Recipe

Do you worry about getting sick from eating shrimp ceviche?  Then worry no more, because in Guatemala, authentic ceviche Guatemalteco or  Guatemalan ceviche de cameron is often made with shrimp that’s been pre-cooked with heat, a process that destroys potential harmful bacteria.

While purists might argue that shrimp ceviche is, by definition  shrimp “cooked” in lime juice, there are many reasons why people choose to eat shrimp that’s been cooked with heat prior to being combined with the lime juice. Many restaurant menus caution against eating raw fish of any kind, especially  for people with depressed immune systems, pregnant women, children and the elderly.

The reason for this is that while raw shrimp appears to be “cooked”  when it changes colour after being marinated in lime juice, some types of harmful bacteria are only destroyed by high temperatures. The solution to making seafood safe for consumption is to precook the shrimp. Here’s an authentic  ceviche Guatemala recipe to try: 

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Raw Shrimp Ceviche vs Cooked Shrimp Ceviche de Cameron 

Ceviche Mixto made with raw seafood

Ceviche Mixto is a ceviche created with a mix of raw seafood

If you’ve ever gone through a bout of food poisoning from contaminated ceviche de cameron or other street food, you don’t want to take any chances on getting it again. A study by the University of Guadalajara indicated that up to 18.3% of samples of fresh fish collected from seafood distribution centers and up to 14.3% of samples of ceviche collected from street vendors and small restaurants in Guadalajara, Mexico, tested positive for Vibrio cholera,  a seafood-borne pathogen that causes a gastrointestinal illness that can be fatal.

While Vibrio cholera cannot exist in an environment that has a pH of less than 4.5, marinating shrimp or seafood in lime juice (which has a pH of between 2 and 2.5) should take care of it. However, the operative word is “should”.

Shrimp definitely looks cooks after it marinates in lime juice doesn’t it?  But appearances can be deceiving. Denaturation is the name of the chemical process that happens when a protein is altered through heat or acidity.  With seafood ceviche, acidic lime juice rearranges the chains of amino acids in the same way an oven or cooktop pan does, yet those changes are only structural. Although the seafood protein structure has been altered,  it hasn’t been “cooked” in a way that destroys harmful bacteria.

And Vibrio cholera isn’t the only potential risk. Many government agencies report seafood samples contaminated with salmonella, E. coli and listeria. In Asia, the government of Hong Kong   now recommends patrons check whether premises have a FEHD licence before eating sashimi.

How to Avoid Bacteria in Raw Shrimp and Seafood

As with virtually every type of food,  it’s important to handle shrimp and other seafood safely in order to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.  The FDA has prepared a Guide to Fresh and Frozen Seafood that offers several helpful tips about storing, preparing and serving fresh shrimp and seafood.

 

fresh shrimp in the market should be translucent and shiny with no odor.

When shopping in the markets of Mexico or Guatemala, look for fresh shrimp that’e translucent and shiny with no odor

They note some species can contain parasites and that freezing will kill any parasites that may be present. So, frozen shrimp can be a great option for making Guatemalan ceviche. But note that freezing doesn’t kill all harmful microorganisms. That’s why the safest route is to cook your seafood.

Guatemalan Ceviche or Ceviche de Camaron Guatemalteco

While it’s worth noting the above precautions, I’ve personally eaten shrimp and fish ceviche everywhere along the coast of Mexico while working on Lonely Planet’s Mexico: From the Source cookbook and never once got sick. I also ate raw fish in  Poisson Cru in French Polynesia  without any problems. Ceviche is one of my absolute favourite dishes to eat during a beach vacation or prepare at home.

But many people don’t want to take any chances on getting ill and this is  where Ceviche Guatemalteco or Guatemalan ceviche can be the perfect solution.

Ceviche Mixto Guatemalteco

Ceviche Guatemalteco – note the extra lime juice to be added at the table

How to Make Guatemalan Ceviche Step by Step

Begin by peeling and deveining the shrimp ( fresh or frozen) and cooking it in the microwave for 3-5 minutes (depending on the size of the shrimp) in small batches until it is pink in colour. Save the liquid to use in the tomato mixture you’ll add later. Allow it to cool.

Cooked shrimp for ceviche

Cooked shrimp for ceviche

While cooking the shrimp, dice fresh tomatoes, red or mild white onions and celery into small pieces. This needs to be done by hand as a food processor makes the tomatoes too mushy. I can usually count on my Brain Multiquick MQ777 hand blender to chop most vegetables to perfection even it doesn’t deliver the results you need for Guatemalan ceviche.

In Guatemala, ceviche is often made by two or more people, so the chopping process goes quickly. Once the shrimp has been cooked and cooled to room temperature, chop it into smaller pieces. The pieces should be larger than the tomatoes and other vegetables. Combine the shrimp with the V-8 juice, Worcestershire sauce (known as salsa inglesa in Guatemala), jalapeno pepper, cilantro and fresh squeezed lime juice. Add sea salt to taste.

Ingredients for shrimp ceviche

Ingredients for shrimp ceviche

Chill the shrimp ceviche de cameron in the refrigerator for a few hours and then serve with saltines, a hot sauce  such as Picamas Hot Sauce from Guatemala and avocado. That’s it! It will stay fresh in the refrigerator for another full day. Be sure to store it in a glass not metal bowl.

Guatemalan ceviche recipe for fresh shrimp cocktail - ceviche Guatemala recipe

Easy to make for a light and fresh appetizer!

Variations: Guatemalan Mixed Seafood Ceviche / Ceviche Mixto Guatemalteco

There are many other variations of Guatemalan ceviche including ceviche mixto (featuring fish, octopus or pulpo and shrimp) as well as a ceviche de concha negra ( a unique ceviche featuring black clams). You can try a variety of these ceviches at Cevicheria Marea Roja, a sprawling roadside restaurant off the highway in El Rancho Progreso that makes a good lunch spot if you’re headed to Livingston, Coban, Tikal or Esquipulas by car.

 

Archeological ruins of Tikal Guatemala

Archeological ruins of Tikal Guatemala

Marea Roja is meticulously clean, reasonably priced, fast and the menu is expansive offering a range of regional seafood dishes such as  tapado, the Garifuna coconut and seafood soup popular on Guatemala’s Caribbean coast. I don’t recommend eating ceviche offered by street vendors in Guatemala City.

To make a ceviche mixto just substitute your choice of fish or seafood and follow the directions in the recipe below. 

Guatemalan Ceviche de Camaron - Shrimp Ceviche
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

An easy recipe for authentic Guatemalan ceviche featuring cooked shrimp, the best method for avoiding potential seafood borne illness.

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Guatemalan
Keyword: ceviche de camaron, ceviche Guatemalteco, Guatemalan appetizers, Guatemalan food recipes, shrimp cocktail, street food
Servings: 6
Calories: 400 kcal
Author: Michele Peterson
Ingredients
  • 10 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen shrimp
  • 3 stalks fresh celery
  • 1 white or red onion
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup V-8 Juice 5 oz can
  • 3 fresh limes to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro to taste
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (seeded) optional
Instructions
  1. Peel, devein and cook shrimp in batches on medium-high in the microwave for 3-5 minutes until pink 

  2. Dice tomatoes, celery, onions and jalapeno pepper ( if using) into small pieces by hand

  3. Allow shrimp to cool to room temperature and then combine with chopped vegetables 

  4. Add V-8 juice, Worcestershire sauce, fresh-squeezed lime juice and chopped cilantro. Mix lightly 

  5. Add sea salt to taste 

  6. Chill and serve with saltines and hot sauce 

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Pulique: A Ceremonial Chicken from A Mayan Cooking Class in Guatemala

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Tortitas de Berro or Watercress Omelettes 

 Keshi Yena from Aruba 

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An easy recipe for authentic Guatemalan mixed seafood ceviche or ceviche mixto #recipe #Guatemala

An easy, authentic recipe for shrimp Guatemalan ceviche or ceviche Guatemalteco. If you're concerned about potential raw seafood-borne food illnesses you'll want to try this recipe as it uses cooked shrimp #recipe #Guatemala

 

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Michele Peterson
Michele Peterson
Dividing her time between Toronto, Mexico and Guatemala (or the nearest tropical beach), Michele Peterson is an award-winning writer, blogger, editor and publisher who specializes in travel, cuisine and luxury lifestyles.
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Showing 3 comments
  • The Girl Next Door
    Reply

    I love this detailed post of yours! I’m sure it will be of great help to several foodies who want to try shrimp ceviche, but are too afraid to do so. 🙂

  • Marie Gizelle
    Reply

    Ahhh…just looking at the photos, I would know it’s yummy! I love shrimp and avocados, this would be on my next “to try” list. Thanks for sharing…

  • Kavita Favelle
    Reply

    This is a great way of having ceviche for anyone who can’t take the risk of uncooked shrimp but I confess, for me I prefer it “cooked” only by the acidity of the dressing, so it’s closer to its raw texture. I love the flavours in your recipe though and I know I’d enjoy it this way too.

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