Mozambican Spicy Prawns with Coconut Rice

Mozambican Spicy Prawn Recipe

This traditional dish from Mozambique, one of Portugal’s former colonies, is the most requested item at LaSalette Restaurant. To mimic the heat of piri-piri, fiery hot peppers from Angola (another former colony), Chef Azevedo seasons the prawns with his own hot spice blend, which he shares below, before grilling them.–David Leite

LC Don't Skimp On The Salt Note

It may be tempting, for those of you who watch your sodium intake, to cut back on the salt in this recipe, seeing as the spice blend boasts the well-rounded warmth of chili powder, cayenne, and allspice. Don’t do it. That is, don’t reduce the salt. It’s necessary to bring out the fullness of the flavors in the seasoning blend. Just sayin’….

Mozambican Spicy Prawn Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 40 M
  • 1 H, 10 M
  • Serves 6


  • For the spice blend
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Pinch cayenne, or more to taste
  • Pinch granulated sugar
  • Pinch allspice
  • For the sauce
  • Shells from 2 pounds medium prawns (reserve the prawns for the rest of the recipe)
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • For the coconut rice, plantains, and prawns
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 2 plantains, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for the grill rack or grill pan
  • Reserved prawns (from above)
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Roasted peanuts


  • Make the spice blend
  • 1. In a small bowl mix together the salt, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, sugar, and allspice. If not using immediately, store the blend in a small spice jar away from light and heat.
  • Make the sauce
  • 2. In a medium saucepan, combine the prawn shells, tomato juice, coconut milk, and peanut butter. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Season with some of the spice blend, adding it to your taste. Bring the mixture back to a boil and then pass it through a sieve. Discard the shells and other solids.
  • Make the coconut rice, plantains, and prawns
  • 3. In a large saucepan, bring the rice, coconut milk, and water to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. Take an occasional peek to make sure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • 4. Season the plantains with salt and white pepper. In a large skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat and saute the plantains on both sides until brown and soft, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • 5. Season the prawns with some of the spice blend and sizzle them on an oiled grill or grill pan over medium-high heat, turning once, until cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes total, depending on the size.
  • 6. To serve, mound the coconut rice in the center of warm serving plates and ladle the sauce around the rice. Lean the prawns against the rice, place a plantain in between the prawns, and garnish with the peanuts and cilantro.
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