September 30, 2020

Dominican Shrimp & Rice Stew

Recipe: Diala Canelo

Try this Dominican Shrimp & Rice Stew recipe from Diala Canelo’s debut cookbook, Diala’s Kitchen.

If there’s a meal that reminds me of growing up in Dominican Republic, asopao de camarones is it. This flavorful shrimp and rice stew is without a doubt one of my favorite dishes from my beloved birth country. Similar to a shrimp risotto, but soupier in texture, it is usually made on a rainy day, as the temperature drops a few degrees. What makes this dish my favorite? Besides the fact that it reminds me of home, it’s pure comfort for the soul. This garlicky tomato-based rice dish can be made with chicken as well, but it is the shrimp and a bit of salt cod that give it such a characteristic flavor. Cilantro is essential to this recipe, but if you’re unable to stand any, parsley works as well. In true Dominican fashion, make sure you serve it with an ice-cold beer and fried plantains on the side.


  • 1⁄3 pound (170 g) boneless salt cod
  • 4 cups (1 L) water
  • 8 Roma tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 whole cloves garlic + 4 thinly sliced cloves garlic, divided
  • 4 tbsp (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp (7 mL) + 1 tbsp (15 mL) sea salt, divided
  • 1 large Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 green onions (white and light green parts only), chopped
  • 1 tbsp + 1⁄2 tsp (17 mL) tomato paste
  • 1 1⁄2 cups (375 mL) tightly packed chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided
  • 8 cups (2 L) vegetable stock
  • 1 1⁄2 pounds (675 g) large shrimp, peeled and deveined (shells reserved)
  • 1 1⁄4 cups (300 mL) rice (I use jasmine)
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) freshly cracked pepper
  • Hot sauce
  • 2 avocados, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced


Yield: Serves 8

Plan Ahead: Soak the salt cod overnight to ensure it’s not overly salty.

  1. In a large bowl, cover the salt cod with the water. Cover and let sit overnight in the fridge. The next morning, discard the water. Add fresh water and cover. Let sit in the fridge for 1 hour. Remove from the fridge, discard the water again. Add fresh water, cover and let sit in the fridge for another hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place the tomatoes and the 2 whole garlic cloves on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the olive oil and sprinkle with 1⁄2 teaspoon (2 mL) of the salt. Roast for 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are slightly browned. Set aside.
  4. In a large pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil with 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of the salt over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and Spanish onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the green onions and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup (250 mL) of the cilantro. Transfer the onion mixture to the tomato mixture and set aside.
  6. In the same pot (no need to wipe clean), combine the vegetable stock, remaining 1 tablespoon (15 mL) salt and the reserved shrimp shells. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the shrimp shells.
  7. Drain the salt cod and break into large pieces.
  8. In a high-speed blender, combine the salt cod, tomato and onion mixture, and half of the shrimp stock. Blend on high speed until smooth.
  9. Pour the blended mixture into the remaining shrimp stock and bring to a slow boil. Stir in the rice. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
  10. Add the shrimp, the remaining 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) cilantro and pepper. Stir for a few seconds. Cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes.
  11. Serve in bowls and enjoy hot with a few dashes of hot sauce. Garnish with avocado slices on top.

Excerpted from Diala’s Kitchen by Diala Canelo. Copyright © 2020 by Diala Canelo. Published by Penguin an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.