Strawberry Aguachile

A friend of mine who follows my blog was commenting a while back that she was becoming more adventurous with spices, and was about to make an aguachile. I got excited because I didn’t know what that was! And of course I had to find out.

Aguachile, in literal translation, is ‘chile water.’ The dish originally comes from the Sonoran Sierras in Mexico, where ranching was the local trade, and was made with machaca (dried beef floss) that was rehydrated in water that got its kick from tiny, round, potent wild Chiltepin chiles.

According to chef Claudette Zepeda, “Anything can be an aguachile if you take creative freedom with it.” I found her recipe for this aguachile on the Food and Wine website.

Claudette Zepeda is an award-winning Mexican-American chef born and raised in Tijuana, known for her bold culinary style. She was the executive chef and creative force behind the critically acclaimed regional Mexican restaurant, El Jardin.

This is indeed a vibrant, unique dish. If you google aguachile, you’ll see primarily bowls of green, some with shrimp or fish. It was truly an innovative jump for Ms. Zepeda to invent an aguachile with strawberries, but it works!

Strawberry Aguachile
Printable recipe below

2 1/2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered lengthwise (about 7 1/2 cups), divided
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
1 small (5-ounce) red bell pepper
3 medium scallions (about 2 ounces), trimmed
1 small (1 1/4-ounce) bunch fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped peeled Persian cucumber (from 1 small [2-ounce] cucumber)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 medium limes)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 medium lemon)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh hoja santa (from 1 leaf) (optional)
5 dried chiltepin or pequin chiles (unseeded), crushed
1 bunch radishes (such as French breakfast or purple), thinly sliced lengthwise
Radish microgreens, for garnish
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Stir together 6 cups strawberries, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Cover and cook, undisturbed, until berries release their juices, about 1 hour.

Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large bowl; let drain, stirring occasionally but not pressing down on berries, until no more liquid drips, about 30 minutes. Discard solids. (You should have 1 1/2 cups strawberry juice.)

While strawberries cook, preheat oven to broil with rack 6 inches from heat. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; place bell pepper on prepared baking sheet. Broil in preheated oven, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven; transfer bell pepper to a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand 10 minutes. Uncover and place bell pepper on a clean cutting board. Peel off charred skin, and remove and discard stem and seeds. Roughly chop bell pepper. Set aside 1/3 cup chopped bell pepper; reserve remaining bell pepper for another use. (I roasted the red bell pepper on my stove.)

Using a knife, separate white and light green parts of scallion from dark green parts. Thinly slice dark green parts on a sharp diagonal, and set aside. Separate cilantro leaves from stems; reserve 4 or 5 stems (1/8 ounce), and discard remaining stems. Set cilantro leaves aside.

Combine cucumber, lime juice, lemon juice, hoja santa (if using), chiltepin chiles, strawberry juice, chopped bell pepper, white and light green scallion parts, and reserved cilantro stems in a blender; process until smooth, about 1 minute.

Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large bowl or a liquid measuring cup; discard solids. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.

Fill a bowl with ice water. Add dark green scallion parts, and let stand 30 seconds. Remove from water; drain and pat dry.

Divide strawberry broth evenly among 4 bowls. Arrange remaining 1 1/2 cups strawberries over broth. Arrange dark green scallion parts, radishes, and cilantro leaves or radish microgreens, as desired, around strawberries.

Top evenly with flaky sea salt; serve immediately.

All I can say is “WOW! This aguachile is amazing! Fruity, layered, spicy, and addictive. Don’t add any more chile peppers just because they’re so tiny!

I grew hoja santa just for this recipe! Can’t wait to use more of it.

This aguachile would be perfect as a first course, or perhaps as part of a lunch served with lobster quesadillas.

 

 

By Published On: July 5th, 202434 Comments on Strawberry Aguachile

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

34 Comments

  1. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen July 5, 2024 at 7:29 AM - Reply

    What a lovely bouquet of flavors! Everything about this sounds great (except the cilantro, I’m one of those!), and the color immediately catches the eye.

    • Chef Mimi July 5, 2024 at 7:55 AM - Reply

      Oh! The color and flavors are spectacular. I’ve never had anything quite like it!

  2. beth July 5, 2024 at 7:56 AM - Reply

    yummm

    • Chef Mimi July 5, 2024 at 8:35 AM - Reply

      Yep!

  3. CarolCooks2 July 5, 2024 at 9:09 AM - Reply

    An eye catching dish and what a awesome mix of flavour profiles when strawberries are back in season I will definitely have to try this :) Have booked marked the recipe…

    • Chef Mimi July 5, 2024 at 9:15 AM - Reply

      I couldn’t stop eating it! Really wonderful flavors.

      • CarolCooks2 July 5, 2024 at 8:28 PM

        Just looking at the vibrancy of the colours makes you want to eat it :)

      • Chef Mimi July 6, 2024 at 7:39 AM

        I know! It’s so darn pretty!

  4. Tandy I Lavender and Lime July 5, 2024 at 9:09 AM - Reply

    The colour is amazing. First time I’ve heard of aguachile as well

    • Chef Mimi July 5, 2024 at 9:16 AM - Reply

      There’s always so much to learn when it comes to food!

  5. Anonymous July 5, 2024 at 9:38 AM - Reply

    What an interesting recipe! I had never heard of aquachile either but it certainly sounds like it has great possibilities for many dishes. Thanks for sharing! Barb

    • Chef Mimi July 5, 2024 at 3:18 PM - Reply

      Of course! I was so happy to have discovered it, even though not really on my own!!! However I discover new dishes…..

  6. David Scott Allen July 5, 2024 at 2:30 PM - Reply

    I love this, Mimi — and it’s perfect for our region. We have a huge chiltepin plant outside our front door growing in the middle of a bougainvillea (about 8 feet tall!) — seeded there thanks to a bird! The ones we have planted never made it. The Sonoran region has some really fabulous “cocktails” like this — can’t wait to make and serve this to friends.

    • Chef Mimi July 5, 2024 at 3:19 PM - Reply

      Oh wow! Lucky you! I’d never used chiltepin before, but wow! It has a punch!!!

  7. terrie gura July 5, 2024 at 3:22 PM - Reply

    I’m pretty sure I can taste this just from your description and the ingredients list. And those colors!!! They are so vibrant that I can’t tell where the dish ends and that pretty tablecloth begins! 🤩

    • Chef Mimi July 5, 2024 at 4:49 PM - Reply

      Ha! Thanks, Terrie! It was so good!

  8. sherry July 6, 2024 at 3:28 AM - Reply

    wow how vibrant and flavourful does this sound! Fab idea to add strawberries.

    • Chef Mimi July 6, 2024 at 7:40 AM - Reply

      Now I need to make a more traditional aguachile!

  9. Charlie DeSando July 6, 2024 at 7:49 AM - Reply

    Very nicely done. Looks great

    • Chef Mimi July 6, 2024 at 2:50 PM - Reply

      Thank you Charlie!

  10. BERNADETTE July 7, 2024 at 5:54 AM - Reply

    Mimi, you make the lunch and I will bring the wine. How about a nice crisp Sancere?

    • Chef Mimi July 7, 2024 at 8:23 AM - Reply

      I love Sancere!

  11. Ann Coleman July 7, 2024 at 2:03 PM - Reply

    I didn’t know what it was either, but anything made with strawberries is worth a try. And I do love the color combination too!

    • Chef Mimi July 7, 2024 at 5:29 PM - Reply

      I’m so glad I tried it!

      • Healthy World Cuisine July 8, 2024 at 10:10 AM

        Thank you for introducing us to something new. I can imagine the flavours are amazing. Just like Taijin is delicious on fruit so is chili ! Yum

      • Chef Mimi July 8, 2024 at 3:00 PM

        Yes! It’s a wonderful, deeply flavored dish. Sweet, spicy, and all of it in one little bowl.

  12. Ronit Penso Tasty Eats July 7, 2024 at 5:02 PM - Reply

    This dish, and hoja santa , are new to me, and very exciting! Wonderful mix of flavors, and the color is stunning. :)

    • Chef Mimi July 7, 2024 at 5:30 PM - Reply

      The strawberry color is almost neon red!

  13. angiesrecipes July 9, 2024 at 8:28 AM - Reply

    What a creative and beautiful recipe! Definitely something I must try too, Mimi.

    • Chef Mimi July 10, 2024 at 9:16 AM - Reply

      It was so so good!

    • Ben | Havocinthekitchen July 15, 2024 at 5:43 PM - Reply

      I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Aguachile, but I love strawberry and other fruit salsa, so I bet this is right up my alley, too!

      • Chef Mimi July 15, 2024 at 9:11 PM

        I don’t know how anyone could not love this sweet and spicy combination of fabulous ingredients! I’m so glad I made it!

  14. David @ Spicedblog July 10, 2024 at 5:26 AM - Reply

    What a wonderful recipe! I’ve never come across strawberry aguachile before, but the flavor profile makes perfect sense. Strawberries pair so well with spicy foods. I must try this!

    • Chef Mimi July 10, 2024 at 9:16 AM - Reply

      I think you’ll love it!

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