Shrimp Mozambique (Camarão Moçambique)

Shrimp Mozambique is a favorite in Portugal. Wendy Ponte
  • 50 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Ratings (10)

This is one my absolute favorite dishes, and always brings to mind a great memory. When my daughter was just three-years-old, we went to a restaurant in New Bedford, Massachusetts (where many Azorean and Madeiran families settled) with my father's first cousin, Conçeiçao, or Cussie, as we called her. We ordered the Shrimp Mozambique, which Cussie adored, and much to our surprise, my daughter gobbled it up! Cussie couldn't believe it and continued to tell the story of the three-year-old gourmand for years afterwards.

This spicy dish is a favorite in Portugal too. You can serve it as an appetizer, or as an entree over rice.

There are many different versions of this dish, and every one I have tried is delicious. I like my version because I use the hot Spanish paprika and that adds a special flavor. A bit of hot spice is required in order to make this dish what it is, but how spicy is up to you. The recipe as written here is on the moderate to low end of heat. To make it spicier, increase the amount of chopped pepper, or sprinkle it with a good hot sauce at the table.

In Portugal, the pepper that is used is the little red piri-piri, which is imported from Africa. It's hard to find that here in the United States, unless you are lucky enough to live near a Portuguese community. You can buy it on as a sauce or powdered spice, and sometimes you can get the dried pods.You can substitute it with a habenero chili or a New Mexican pequin.

What You'll Need

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon hot Spanish paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chopped piri-piri, or other hot pepper (see above)
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup of white wine (some recipe versions use beer)
  • 1 pound of cleaned and shelled medium-sized shrimp
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

How to Make It

  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan, such as a large cast-iron frying pan until it begins to shimmer. Add the chopped onions and cook them at medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they have changed color, around 10 minutes.
  2. While the onions cook, mix the minced garlic, paprika, hot chopped pepper, saffron and salt together in a small bowl.
  3. Add the contents of the bowl to the onions and continue to cook them for about 2 minutes at medium heat. Add the wine and cook for another 2 minutes or so, until the wine has reduced a bit.
  1. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook gently, covered, until the shrimp have just turned pink (about 5 minutes). Do not overcook them.
  2. Stir in the parsley and the lemon juice.
  3. Serve with toothpicks or small forks, if you are having the shrimp as an appetizer, or over rice if they will be an entree. In either case, don't forget to have some good, crusty bread on hand to soak up the delicious sauce!