Camarones salteados (sautéed shrimp) with saffron-infused quinoa and salsa criolla

This Peruvian-inspired dish has the Latin flavors that I love with a hint of Asian influence. I serve it with Quinoa to add nutritional value (protein, iron, amino acids, and more) and a traditional ‘salsa criolla’: Peru’s version of salsa. This dish is tasty and has a little kick!



  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ lbs uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Salsa Criolla

  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • Salted water (4 cups of water + 2 tablespoons salt)
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced seeded red jalapeño pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock*
  • ½ teaspoon saffron strands
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • * You may substitute chicken stock with shrimp stock, vegetable stock, or salted water.


  • 1 large white onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • 2 medium yukon gold potatoes, cut in thin wedges
  • 2 roma tomatoes, peeled and cut in wedges
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 4 lime wedges


Salsa Criolla (Make ahead)

Soak sliced onions in salted water for 20 minutes. Drain completely and place in a small bowl; add lime juice, jalapeño pepper, and cilantro; toss to coat. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour or refrigerate overnight.

Marinade  (Make ahead)

Whisk first 5 ingredients in small bowl to blend; gradually whisk in ¼ cup olive oil. Season marinade to taste with salt and pepper. Place uncooked shrimp in large re-sealable plastic bag and pour marinade into it. Seal bag; turn to coat and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.


Using a fine mesh strainer, rinse quinoa well, drain, and set aside. In a medium sauce pan, combine chicken stock and saffron strands and let stand for 20 minutes. Add quinoa to pan, set on stove at medium-high heat, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it rest with the lid on. Fluff quinoa into a medium bowl, add cilantro and tarragon (and a splash of olive oil, optional), toss to mix.  


In a medium saucepan, boil water, add salt and blanch potatoes for 4-5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with cold/iced water and let stand for 2-3 minutes. Drain and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp; sauté until shrimp are almost opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to bowl. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to skillet; sauté onions for 3 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Add potatoes and tomatoes to skillet and cook until golden brown. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste and fresh lime juice. Return shrimp to skillet, toss to combine all ingredients. Serve immediately. 

Serve shrimp sauté on each plate with quinoa and salsa criolla. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve with lime wedges.



Prepare your own shrimp stock. Buy fresh, shell-on shrimp. It’s cheaper! Peel and devein shrimp for the recipe and save shells to make shrimp stock at home. You can use it, instead of chicken stock, to make the quinoa later!

Brine your shrimp for better results. It will help infuse your shrimp with a ‘sea-like’ flavor and give you a great texture! Brine shrimp for 30 to 60 minutes in the refrigerator before marinading.


6 thoughts on “Camarones salteados (sautéed shrimp) with saffron-infused quinoa and salsa criolla

  1. Pingback: Going back to South America: Finding myself in 2011 « Cook Global. Eat at Home!

  2. Pingback: Regresando a Suramérica: Mi autodescubrimiento en el 2011 « Cook Global. Eat at Home!

  3. Could I put Seafood mix instead of shrimps? That what I have in my refregirator right now. Do I have to cook Seafood mix more time than shrimps? The suggestion would be very appreciated.

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