Caldo de Langostinos (Mexican Squat Lobster Soup)

A few weeks back I did a guest recipe for Nom Nom Paleo, and I thought I’d share it here on my site for posterity’s sake.

Langostinos (Pleuroncodes Monodon, also called “squat lobsters”) are small, lobster-like crustaceans most often fished off the coast of Chile. They are found in abundance worldwide, but sadly, they are rarely caught for human consumption; instead, they’re used as feed in fisheries, mostly because they carry a certain pigment that helps color farm-raised salmon and trout. They have a sweet, shrimpy tasty to them and can be found for relatively cheap – so if you can get your hands on them, definitely give them a try.

This recipe in particular is modeled after a traditional Mexican soup, Caldo de Camarón, which is typically used with shrimp. If you don’t have any langostinos on hand, shrimp can be used with this recipe.

serves four

2 large, mild, dried chiles (Anaheim, Guajillo)
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 (14.5 oz) can whole, puréed, crushed, or diced tomatoes
1 tsp olive oil
2 (6.5oz) cans chopped clams
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 lbs shelled langostinos or shrimp (raw or pre-cooked okay)
2 carrots, peeled and diced
½ tsp each salt and pepper (plus more to taste at the end)
red chili flakes or hot sauce, to taste (optional)
chopped cilantro and lime wedges (to serve with)

To start, soak your chiles in water for 30 minutes, then cut off the stems and remove the seeds. In a food processor, blend the chiles, onion, garlic, oregano, and canned tomatoes.

In a pot, warm 1 tsp olive oil on med/low heat for a minute or two, then add the puree. Simmer for six minutes, until aromatic, stirring constantly so that it doesn’t splatter everywhere.

Add the juice from the canned clams, 1 cup chicken broth, 2 cups water, and a bay leaf. Simmer for five minutes, allowing the flavors to marry.

In the meantime, get your langostinos ready and dice up the carrots.

Add the carrots and continue to simmer for five more minutes. Next, add the langostinos and clams, allow it to return to a simmer, then turn off the heat, cover, and let it sit for 10 minutes. This will allow the flavor to penetrate the seafood without overcooking it.

Prior to serving, add salt and pepper to taste. If you want to make it a little spicier, add red chili flakes or some hot sauce. Serve with chopped cilantro and lime wedges.

11 thoughts on “Caldo de Langostinos (Mexican Squat Lobster Soup)

  1. All your recipes look absolutely delicious. Too bad I don’t like to cook. I meant to ask you a while back when you did the lambs feet, where did you get the feet from?


  2. Looks fabulous! I’m trying to think of a Mexican menu to inspire and delight a British audience in the next couple of weeks. They have no idea what real Mexican food is like, it’s pretty much limited to fajita imitations and gloopy nachos on this side of the pond, but as a proud Californian I’m trying to broaden their horizons. Will definitely consider this one!


  3. This was so, so very good, so healthy, and so easy! I used just one pound of shrimp, added a few scoops of cooked white rice in the end, and garnished with avocado, stretching it into more like 8 meals. I also used chayote and yellow squash in place of carrots because I forgot to bring my list to the grocery store – and they were great! This is one for the week-night, healthy, easy meal books. Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s