Fernando Diez
Written by Fernando Diez Marketing Director at Quasar Expeditions

Updated: May 01, 2024
Published: July 04, 2013

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Achiote ingredient

Summer is officially here! Get those barbecues out and put on an apron, because its time for some “Pinchos de Camaron”.

These tasty grilled shrimp skewers or “pinchos de camaron” as we know them in Ecuador, are made with shrimp, marinated in a spicy passion fruit achiote sauce. If you are a fan of “maracuyas” or passion fruits – and you like shrimp, then this is your recipe! If you don’t have achiote in your kitchen, or don’t know what “achiote” is, don’t worry. This ingredient is used to give the shrimp a beautiful color more than anything else.

Achiote, also known as “annatto”, is a red seed, which can either be ground to powder or used to infuse oil and butter for cooking. It has a very rich red color and a very subtle earthy flavor. Achiote is used in many Ecuadorian dishes, and in Spanish we also refer to it as “color”, because it adds color to the food.

These shrimp skewers are best served as appetizers with various dipping sauces. Spicy avocado or spicy cilantro salsas work the best.

Angel Choez


Makes: 15-20 skewers with 4-5 shrimp each

Trick: If using wood skewers, soak them in water for about an hour before putting them on the grill - this prevents them from burning on the grill.

Shrimp/Camarones on the Grill


  • 2 lbs or 1 kg of raw shrimp, deveined. Shells can be kept on or taken off, depending on your preference.
  • 15-20 skewers.
  • Passion fruit marinade:

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of ground cumin.
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder.
  • 1 tablespoon ground achiote or annatto powder.
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • ½ cup pure passion fruit juice or concentrate, unsweetened.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Achiote butter for basting:

  • 2 tbs of melted butter.
  • ½ tbs ground achiote.
  • Dipping sauces and sides:

  • Spicy cilantro salsa.
  • Spicy avocado salsa.
  • Lime slices.


  1. In a large bowl, cover the shrimp with the passion fruit marinade ingredients and let it sit for at least 2 hours in the fridge.
  2. Pre-heat the grill.
  3. Put the shrimp on the skewers. If the skewers are a main meal put 5-6 shrimp on each skewer and for an appetizer put only 3-4 shrimp.
  4. Brush the shrimp with the melted butter achiote right before placing on the grill.
  5. Grill for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until the shrimp are fully cooked and they have turned completely pink. Baste with the achiote butter as needed.
  6. Serve with dipping sauces and lime slices or on top of your favorite salad.

Let us know what you think about the tasty dish once you've tried it either on your own or on your Galapagos Cruise with Quasar!

Fernando Diez
By Fernando Diez
Marketing Director at Quasar Expeditions

Hi, I am Fernando and travel is my passion. This passion began with my first trip to the Galapagos Islands in 1986 and later became my work when I started working at Quasar Expeditions. Now the Marketing Director for Quasar and responsible for the creation of the Patagonia Project in Chile, my passion for travel continues to grow to new and exciting destinations in South America.