Thursday 27 October 2011

Xinxim Recipe Las Iguanas Style - Gluten Free Of Course!

Delicious Xinxim
What is Xinxim? (pronounced Shin Shim) If I hadn't been to Las Iguanas I would be wondering that too. This is how they describe it:
It's a traditional Brazilian dish of chicken and crayfish in a peanut and lime creamy sauce.
This is how I would describe it:
Blooming tasty! But it isn't something you would want every day. It's a dish that when I get a craving for, I have to have it!
I don't use crayfish in my Xinxim recipe but as far as I'm concerned, I've nailed the taste pretty darn close to the Las Iguanas one. It looks pretty much the same too. This is a really rich dish that you'll either love or hate, but you'll probably make that choice as soon as you see the ingredients list.

Xinxim Ingredients:

Juice of 3 Limes
1 Tablespoon Shrimp Paste
2 Tablespoons Smooth Peanut Butter
200ml Coconut Milk
1 Knorr Fish Stock Cube (or any other gluten free brand)
50ml Boiling Water
1 Medium Onion
25g Butter
1 Garlic Clove
1 Tablespoon Unrefined Palm Oil (not the most environmentally friendly ingredient I know, but it gives Xinxim its colour)

Those ingredients make up enough Xinxim sauce for 2-4 people. Here's how ridiculously easy it is to make...

  • Chop the onion finely or use a whizzy wizz chopper thing like I do
  • Crush the garlic or add it to the chopper
  • Make a fish stock with the cube and water
  • Juice the limes (don't use the bottle stuff, yuck!)
  • Heat a wok on high and melt the palm oil
  • Add the butter 
  • Add the onions and garlic and fry until soft
  • Add the shrimp paste and peanut butter
  • Stir into the wok to make a paste
  • Add the lime juice, fish stock and stir
  • Lower the heat to medium to low
  • Pour in the coconut milk and stir until the colour of the sauce is even
  • Simmer gently for a couple of minutes
You're done! A fantastic sauce all in one pot, made in about 12-15 minutes. You can keep it on the hob on low for as long as you need to, just stir from time to time.

As far as I can tell from having eaten the Las Iguanas version a number of times, the crayfish are used for flavour, not texture, there's no crayfish meat in the sauce. My version may lack a tiny bit of sweetness from the crayfish, but I honestly can't taste it.

At home I would serve this with poached chicken breast, boiled rice and green beans (pretty much the same as the gluten free version at Las Iguanas). You'll notice the lack of green beans in the photo, just didn't fancy them on this occasion but they do make the dish look prettier when used.

Tangy, rich and a bit nutty, that's Xinxim. When I first attempted to recreate this dish there was a bit of a (literal) stink about the shrimp paste from my OH. Ok, so it does pong a bit. Just a warning!

Printable Version


  1. Also wondering if fish sauce will do a decent job of replacing shrimp paste since I already have it. I'll report back if I try it :)

  2. I find that fish sauce is much saltier without the depth of flavour that shrimp paste gives, so if you do use it add it gradually.

    Personally I think that increasing the fish stock might be a better idea to replace the shrimp paste altogether. It's a much more well rounded flavour than fish sauce.

    Hope that helps :)


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