This Shrimp, Coconut and Plantain Soup is a great way to start any meal. It is sweet, creamy and rich, with a hint of spice from the habanero. I just love the wonderful combination of seafood and coconut, which is popular with Colombian seafood dishes.
Sopa de Camarones, Coco y Plátano is originally from Tumaco, a port city located in the Nariño department on the Pacific Coast of Colombia. Tumaco is the second largest city on the Pacific Ocean of Colombia. There you’ll find hot tropical weather, beautiful beaches and a delicious diversity of fresh seafood including lobsters, shrimp, squid, crabs and many other types of fresh fish. The food from this part of the country is hearty and unpretentious. Common local foods include plantains, cassava, avocado, and dishes made with coconut, like Arroz con Coco (Coconut Rice) and this Shrimp, Coconut and Plantain Soup. Fried and spicy foods are also popular in Tumaco. Some other amazing dishes native to this region include Crema de Agucate(Avocado Cream Soup), Aborrajados de Pescado (Battered Fried Fish), Ensalada de Calamar (Squid Salad) and Empanadas de Camarones (Shrimp Empanadas).
If you’re looking for a flavorful soup to warm-up on a cold day, a bowl of creamy Shrimp, Coconut and Plantain Soup may be just what you need. This traditional Colombian dish is very simple and easy to prepare and has a wonderful combination of flavors. You can use fresh coconut to make the coconut milk, but if you don’t have time like me, you can use canned coconut milk for convenience. I like to serve the soup with avocado and tomato salad, lime wedges, white rice and aji or hot sauce on the side.
(About 4 to 6 servings)
- 2 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 scallions finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/4 habanero chili, seeded and finely chopped or to your taste
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes,
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 green plantains, peeled and diced
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 3 cups of water
- 1 pound of large shrimp, shell on
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 cans (14 oz) of coconut milk or more if necessary
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
- Make the refrito: In a medium pot over medium-high heat, warm the oil. When it is hot, add the onion, scallions and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and bell pepper, and then add the chili, tomatoes, carrots, plantain and ground cumin. Cook for about 8 minutes more or until the vegetables are soft.
- Meanwhile, clean and de-vein the shrimp and place the shells in a small pot with the water.
- Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered, about 15 minutes. Strain the liquid and discard the shells.
- Add the shrimp liquid to the vegetables, stir well and cook for 12 minutes more.
- 5 Add the coconut milk and cook for about 10 minutes more. Add the shrimp and cook just until the shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle fresh cilantro and ladle the soup into bowls. Serve immediately.