Let's talk Latin America

Prawn Moqueca (Moqueca de Camarão)

Written by
Posted on

Serves 6 people

Active time: 30 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Notes: Dendê is an red, unrefined palm oil, and the heart of the dish. You can find it in most African or Asian supermarkets.

Bahian recipes will call for pimenta-de-cheiro, or pimenta malagueta, but unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to find these here. The type of chilli you use is up to you, but I would advise a more aromatic variety. It’s there less for heat and more for flavour.


For the prawns

1kg fresh prawns

1 onion

1 tomato

3 cloves of garlic

A small handful of coriander leaves

Half a green pepper

Juice of 3 limes

2 teaspoons of salt


Roughly chop the onion, tomato and garlic. Cut the green pepper in half horizontally, remove the seeds and chop the top half into several pieces (you’ll be cutting the bottom half into rounds later on in the recipe).

Blend all the ingredients, except for the prawns, until a loose paste is formed. It should flow, but not very smoothly.

Mix the marinade into the prawns, and leave for about 20 minutes.


For the moqueca

2 tomatoes (plus more for serving)

1 large onion

Half a green pepper (plus more for serving)

40ml Olive oil

100ml Dendê (see note above)

Half a tin of coconut milk

3 chillies (see note above)

Coriander leaves (for serving)


Slice all the vegetables horizontally, into rings of about a centimetre thick.

Add the prawns and their marinade to a large frying pan, add all the oil, the chillies, and cover with the rings of onion, tomato and pepper. Throw in a pinch of salt. Bring it to a boil, and simmer on a low heat for 15 or 20 minutes, until the onion loses its pungency, stirring every now and then.

Pour in the coconut milk, stir the mixture to combine, and let it cook for two more minutes. Check the seasoning, then serve immediately, garnishing with fresh vegetables.

Header Photo: Conexão Jornalismo