Prawns Nacional

November 6, 2016


Shrimp cooked in a creamy, spicy, beer sauce was originally a Portuguese-Mozambican recipe made with a brand of beer called Nacional, hence its name. Johannesburg is where many of these families settled after the civil war in Mozambique and brought their traditions and food with them. Two of my closest friends, Deon and Julio, both Portuguese and excellent cooks, introduced me to the amazing world of Portuguese-Mozambican cooking. Julio would host lavish dinner parties, spending the entire day decorating the table, arranging flowers, and preparing the perfect playlist that would accompany dinner – invariably a collection of Edith Piaff and opera. If we were lucky he would make his potent Portuguese anise liqueur – a small branch of anise placed inside the bottle would form crystals, making it look like an elaborate piece of art. This recipe would make a regular appearance on the menu. Traditionally this dish is eaten with fries that soak up the rich creamy sauce, but rice is also a good alternative.



Yield: 4

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 hot chilies, finely chopped (more if you like it hot)

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 lb. shrimp, the larger the better, shelled and deveined.

½ teaspoon paprika

1 cup of beer

1 bay leaf

Juice of a lemon

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup flat-leaf parsley



1. In a large pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chili pepper and the garlic and cook for a minute.

2. Add the shrimp and paprika and fry for about 5 minutes or until the shells of the shrimp turn a reddish color and the flesh is white.

3. Pour in the beer, add the bay leaf and simmer to reduce the liquid by half for about 10 minutes.

4. Discard the bay leaf and stir in the lemon juice, butter and cream. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Sprinkle the chopped parsley and serve.



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Colleen Thompson

Writer Photographer Raconteur Wanderer

© 2017