Mexican Prawn Cocktail with Tomato, Avocado and Chipotle

Rick Stein's recipe for a Mexican-inspired version of a prawn cocktail, made using avocado and chipotle, makes for a great starter to a special meal.

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It would be hard to wean any British person off prawn cocktail made with Marie Rose sauce (mayonnaise and tomato ketchup), but this is pretty special. Naturally it’s quite spicy and smoky from the chipotle chilli but, as is so often the case in Mexico, the creamy element that I crave is supplied by ripe avocados. This dish comes from a rugged seafood restaurant called El Camello in the town of Tulum.

Serves 4


375g medium prawns, cooked, peeled and deveined
2 avocados, stoned, peeled and diced, then tossed in lime juice to prevent browning
2 tomatoes, chopped
small handful of coriander, chopped
1 little gem lettuce, shredded
lime wedges and tortilla chips, to serve
For the sauce:
275ml tomato juice
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 large lime
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
½ red onion, roughly chopped
2 tsp chilli sauce (Cholula, Tabasco or Huichol)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 heaped tsp chipotles en adobo
¼ tsp salt
8 turns of black peppermill


To make the sauce, put the tomato juice, oil, lime juice, garlic, onion, chilli sauce, Worcestershire sauce and chipotles en adobo in a blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper, then blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the dish.

When you’re ready to eat, mix the prawns with the sauce, diced avocado, tomatoes and three-quarters of the chopped coriander. Divide the shredded lettuce between 4 chilled cocktail or sundae glasses. Top with the prawn mixture, then sprinkle with the remaining coriander. Serve with lime wedges and the totopos on the side.

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