Arroz marinero or seafood rice

I like to call this dish the South American cousin of Spanish seafood paella. When you look at this arroz marinero or seafood rice, it’s likely that the first thing you thought was, oh it’s a paella. Well, it’s very similar and has the same main ingredients: rice and seafood. However, there are differences in the type of rice, the herbs and the spices that make it a different dish. Paella is made with short grain rice, while arroz marinero uses a long grain rice. Paella uses saffron to give the rice that reddish orange color, while arroz marinero uses achiote or annatto to also give a slightly reddish color, saffron has more distinct taste that it gives paella, while achiote is more subtle and earthy. Paella uses a small amount of garlic and parsley, while the base flavors of arroz marinero require a lot of garlic and cilantro. Traditional paella is also likely to include chicken thighs and Spanish chorizo, while arroz marinero is strictly seafood. I don’t use peas in this seafood rice recipe; however it is common to find them in both this dish as well as Spanish paella. I also posted a quinoa version of seafood rice a while ago, if you’re looking for a healthier alternative or a new way to try quinoa, you can try that recipe.
I used about 4lbs of assorted seafood – shrimp, calamari, bay scallops, mussels, and clams – for this recipe, which will serve 8-10 people; you choose the type of seafood and quantities of each according to your preference. I also used 2 types of shrimp, small peeled ones and larger ones with the shells on – these give the rice additional flavor and also have a add a nice visual appeal to the dish. Arroz marinero or seafood rice is typically served with fried plantains, either ripe sweet ones or green savory ones called patacones or tostones, avocados slices, lime slices, cebollas curtidas or red pickled onions, and of course, a good aji or hot sauce.

Recipe: Seafood rice

Summary: South American dish similar to Spanish paella, that is made with rice cooked in seafood broth and sautéed with shrimp, clams, squid, bay scallops, onions, garlic, bell pepper, cilantro and spices.

Ingredients

Rice

  • 2 tbs oil
  • 2 tbs finely chopped white onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups uncooked long grain rice
  • 2 ¼ cups seafood stock or seafood broth

Seafood rice

  • 3 tbs oil – sunflower, peanut or light olive oil are good options
  • 1 ½ cup finely chopped white onion
  • 2 garlic heads, peeled and crushed
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • ½ tbs cumin
  • 1 tsp achiote powder
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
  • ~4 lbs assorted seafood: shrimp, calamari, scallops, mussels, clams
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Suggested side dishes – Patacones or thick green plantain chips, onion curtido, avocado slices, lime slices and aji criollo.

Instructions

  1. To prepare the rice heat 2 tbs of oil over medium heat in a saucepan, add 2 tbs of onion and garlic, and cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the rice, stir until well coated with the oil. Add the seafood broth, bring to a boil over high until the broth is gone, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender but firm, save for later.
  3. Heat the remaining 3 tbs of oil on medium heat in a large sauté pan, add the chopped onions and crushed garlic, stir frequently and cook until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the cumin, achiote powder, salt, pepper, ½ of the chopped cilantro, and diced bell pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the raw seafood, start by adding the seafood that needs more time to cook first (large shrimp, clams, mussels), followed by the ones that require less cooking time (smaller shrimp, calamari, scallops), stir and cook for about 3 minutes.
  6. Stir in the cooked rice, mix well and cook until the seafood is done, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the remaining ½ of the chopped cilantro, and additional salt or pepper if needed.
  8. Serve with patacones or thick green plantain chips, onion curtido or salad, avocado, lime slices, and aji criollo or hot sauce.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   

Comments

  1. Breaking away from the traditional holiday meal, this was perfect! OMG, simply delicious!

  2. A huge fan! says:

    OMG I just cooked this tonight and it turned to to be the BEST dinner of the century!!! Keep up the good work!!

  3. Natalia says:

    I would like to thank you for this amazing collection of recipes. I am from Eastern Europe and was introduced to Latin American Food by my Salvadorean husband. Since then I have learned to cook many dishes and am always looking for more recipes. We cannot travel to Latin America more than once a year, so I research and learn from what I find on the Internet.
    Thanks to this site I made fabulous seafood rice, onion curtido that my husband loves, ceviche that got a lot of praise from my latino friends, and so much more!
    Thank you!))

  4. This is so great. I love your site. I’m going to try this with Black Rice (forbidden rice).
    I will see how it comes out

  5. Hi there! thanks for the recipe, I had some company over last night and this dish was a total hit!! as well as the arugula, mango salad..5*****

  6. Just cooked it as the recipe says, looking good

  7. Love the step-by-step photos. The rice looks just outstanding. Wish I could eat it right off the screen.

  8. Hello Layla! Everything here looks so yummy! Been to your site a while ago and saved it for future reference but got buried somewhere. Was again looking at photos of exotic fruits, when again, tempted to check a yummy-looking food, so here I am again! Your site is really enjoyable, interesting, inspiring. Your adding some background childhood experience, like the cold thing as you were holding on to a branch of a mandarin tree, added more excitement. It’s like a total new taste and experience reading your recipes. I’m having my a very, very basic dinner right now but feasting at your recipe photos.

    I wish there’s an Ecuadorian restaurant nearby, I’d love to try the foods. Once I researched and drove to south Seattle and did not find the restaurant. Was probably an old internet site I saw and have not researched again. I live in Lynnwood, which is in north Seattle (staying safe at home while the snow hopefully is melting ’till it’s safe enough to drive to work). Thanks for helping my cold, dark day with your inspiring recipes, photos and experiences.

    Wishing you and your wonderful family a happier, healthier New Year!

  9. This looks delicious! I cannot wait to make it for my husband. He loves arroz marinero! Gracias!

  10. Laylita!! Me mataste! Acabo de regresar de vacaciones de Guayaquil visitando a mi familia y mi plato preferido como siempre es el Arroz Marinero. De hecho, comi tanto arroz marinero que tengo que bajar diez libras (literalmente) pero bueno , me matan tus fotos, se ve delicioso y lo voy a intentar. Pero no hoy, hace mucho frio, hoy tratare tu sopa de quinoa con queso. Muchas gracias por todas esas recetas exquisitas. Soy tu fan numero uno (aunque soy de Gquil) no tuve que cocinar hasta ahora. Sigue poniendo mas recetas. Thank you.

  11. This is something I’d definitely love to try to make!

  12. Looks absolutely beautifully the way you presented it on the plate.

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