Shrimp in Poblano Cream Sauce (Culichi Salsa)

Shrimp in Poblano Cream Sauce or “Camarones en Salsa Culichi” is definitely one of the most flavorful recipes we make. It is not only low carb, but it is also a dish where leaving any on your plate is impossible. It is also very versatile. We use it over chicken and pork dishes, as a topping for shredded chicken tacos, and even as a base for a delicious Poblano Soup. Purists will also use it as a topping for enchiladas. A more traditional use for this delicious “Culichi” would be as a topping for shrimp and fish. In addition to shrimp the “Culichi” provides a wonderful flavor when combined with seared scallops.

Most often you will find this recipe baked in a bowl with a layer of melted cheese on top. Most chefs use mozzarella for the topping, but we like the flavor of Manchego with the salsa. Instead of baking, we use the sauce as a drizzle over our pan fried shrimp with a side bowl of the delightful creamy green sauce for dipping. There are also many recipes featuring low-carb tortilla chips and a batch of those for dipping would be wonderful. Chicharrones dipped in “Culichi” are a delicious snack.

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Poblano peppers are the key ingredient in this recipe. We use three large ones that have been roasted. Whatever method you choose for roasting the poblanos is fine. Joanie likes to roast them in the oven on a baking pan. She rubs them generously with extra virgin olive oil and bakes them for 24 minutes at 425 degrees, turning once. She then places the roasted peppers in a zip-lock bag. After sealing they should rest in the bag for 15 minutes. The skin will appear shriveled and will slide off easily. Once the skin is removed, she will slice off the stem of the pepper and scoop out and discard the seeds.

For more heat, we use 1 Serrano pepper. We also remove the seeds and the stem for this recipe. You can leave the seeds in for more heat. Depending upon your heat tolerance, you can also use 2 Serrano peppers.

We use six large cloves of garlic for our “Culichi” – you cannot have enough garlic! We also use chopped green onions for the sauce. Some recipes call for using part of a yellow onion, but we find that gives too much onion flavor to the finished sauce. Stick with something milder. You could substitute  half of a white onion, if it is handy.

The Shrimp in Poblano Cream Sauce is all about creaminess. For this we use a blend of “Cotija” cheese and Mexican cream. In addition, we add 1/2 of an avocado for even more creaminess and color. Finally, topping the sauce with grated Manchego adds just the perfect flavor. We use organic chicken stock to thin the sauce. More can be added, as needed when you heat the sauce.

Preparation Tips

Some recipes will call for searing the shrimp for just 2 minutes in butter or olive oil and finishing them in the hot salsa right on the stove top or baked in the oven. This is certainly a more traditional way to serve the dish. We often have guest who enjoy the sauce, but also like controlling the amount they use. For this reason we like serving the sauce drizzled over the top and as a side bowl for dipping. This also allows us to reserve some of the “Culichi” for other recipes.

Serving the shrimp with a side salad or with some cauliflower rice would be excellent. It can even be used as a sauce over the rice or for making a shrimp with zucchini noodle pasta recipe. As we said, the salsa is very versatile. We use our Vitamix blender to obtain a perfectly creamy “Culichi.” If you do not have one for your kitchen, it is a must!

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Keto Shrimp in Poblano Cream Sauce – Salsa with Manchego Cheese!

The color is wonderful, the taste is exquisite, and the creaminess will “wow” you! This Mexican style recipe is a classic and will definitely delight any guests. Try it soon and remember it is definitely Tasty Low Carb!

Shrimp in Poblano Cream Sauce (Culichi Salsa)

Recipe by Joanie and Chris
4.9 from 26 votes
Course: Fish and SeafoodCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




Net Carbs


Total time



Roasted poblanos and Mexican cream make this delicious Culichi Salsa! A delicious Keto salsa with Manchego cheese.

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  • Poblano Cream Sauce
  • Blend the following ingredients on high until smooth: Poblanos, Serrano, garlic, onion, Cotija cheese, avocado, cream, chicken stock, bouillon granules, salt, and pepper.
  • Pour the salsa from the blender into a skillet, add the Manchego, turn the heat to medium, and heat for 5 minutes.
  • Shrimp
  • Add shrimp to a second skillet to medium-high temperature and cook for 3 minutes in olive oil – turning once. 
  • Plate the shrimp in a bed of sauce or simply drizzle the salsa on top. Top the dish with some grated Manchego. Serve additional shrimp with a small bowl of sauce for dipping.


Chef’s Notes

  • The carbs are actually lower than stated since you will not use all of the salsa.  Leftover salsa can be used for salads, chicken dishes, pork tenderloin, and tacos, etc.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 249.2kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 8.5g
  • Protein: 6.4g
  • Fat: 20.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 34.5mg
  • Sodium: 815.5mg
  • Potassium: 334.9mg
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar: 3.7g
  • Vitamin A: 705IU
  • Vitamin C: 84.5mg
  • Calcium: 212.6mg
  • Iron: 4.3mg

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  1. I discovered this dish in a Mexican restaurant a couple of years ago and have been hooked ever since. I was thrilled to find an easy recipe that was also Keto! Delicious, savory, just like my restaurant favorite! I found the final product to be a bit thicker than I wanted, even after adding some additional chicken stock. Next time I might add some cream or half & half because it definitely doesn’t need more salt. And to deepen the green color, I might even add another poblano, or some cilantro. Definitely worth a try if you are looking for something new.

    • Joanie and Chris

      You are correct. Sometimes I add more fresh chicken stock to thin the recipe, and have used an extra poblano for a slight bit more heat. Adding cream might actually not thin it so much – half & half would be better. I am pleased you enjoy my recipe for a quick Culichi . . . Joanie.

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