Making healthy Arroz con Camarones

This Colombian dish is rooted in the deep Latino tradition of serving rice with nearly every meal.…

Making healthy Arroz con Camarones
Foto: Flickr

This Colombian dish is rooted in the deep Latino tradition of serving rice with nearly every meal. Most of the time when you order this dish in the US, you will find that it is far too full of salt and butter to be considered remotely healthy. Most ethnic dishes are good for you when prepared in the traditional manner, it is only the American trend of adding a lot of fat or sodium, that renders them so bad for the body.

The secret to the deep, rich flavor of this healthy arroz con camarones (shrimp with rice) cooked in the Colombian method, is that the rice is cooked in the stock saved from the shrimp. A little fish bouillon brings the flavor out even more. The following recipe will make four servings of healthy arroz con camarones. It is easily doubled or tripled, to cater for the appetites of your family and friends!

Ingredients for healthy Arroz con Camarones:

1 pound fresh shrimp, unpeeled.

4 cups of water

1 cup rice

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 tablespoon butter

1 garlic clove, chopped fine

1/4 small onion, diced fine

1 fish bouillon cube

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 chopped tomato

1 small bag frozen peas and carrots

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon parsley

Cook the unpeeled shrimp in the water until they turn pink. This takes only 3 to5 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the water once they have cooked through and peel them. Place the shrimp shells back into the pan with the water to make a stock. Set stock aside until you are ready to blend the healthy arroz con camarones.

Melt the butter in another pan along with the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, peppers, and the chopped tomato. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

Pour the stock and the shrimp peels into a blender. Run on high (liquify) for about 2 minutes. Strain and remove all bits of shell. Save this stock to cook the rice in, this is what gives this dish a rich flavor throughout.

Add the cup of rice into the pot with the other ingredients, then pour in the strained stock. Add the tomato paste. Stir well, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, then pour in the vegetables and shrimp. Cook for five more minutes, then serve hot. This can be a good meal if you are watching your calories, but, this can vary depending on the ingredients you pick for this dish of healthy arroz con camarones.