Prawns in a pumpkin

Prawns in a pumpkin

Cabana The Cookbook
Martin Poole

This is a fantastic, crowd-pleasing dish from northeastern Brasil. The prawns are cooked in a light curry sauce, then served inside a baked whole pumpkin or round squash (such as kabocha) for people to help themselves. It’s a hearty autumnal dish that would make an impressive main course for a Halloween party served with a side of coconut rice or cornbread.


Quantity Ingredient
1 medium pumpkin
or 4 small round squash
500g raw prawns, peeled and deveined
1 lime, juiced
1/2 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil
butter, for cooking
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped
100ml white wine
1/2-1 tablespoon curry powder, (or to taste)
2 1/2 tablespoons plain flour
150ml vegetable stock
1-2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut out a lid from the pumpkin (as if you were carving a jack-o’-lantern) and scoop out all the seeds and strings. Wash it inside and out and pat dry with kitchen paper. Replace the lid. Wrap in kitchen foil and roast for 1 hour, or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the prawns with the lime juice, chilli, bay leaves and 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and leave to marinate for 10–15 minutes. Heat the remaining olive oil and a little butter in a large frying pan, add the onion and cook gently for 4–5 minutes, stirring, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Add the wine and boil until reduced by half. Add the curry powder and flour to the pan and stir well. Cook for a few minutes before adding the stock, then simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
  3. While the sauce is cooking, heat a large frying pan until hot. Fry the prawns in batches (avoid overcrowding the pan) until they have turned pink and opaque. Add the cooked prawns to the tomato sauce. When the pumpkin is ready, remove the lid and leave the bottom covered in foil. Ladle the prawns into the pumpkin and bake for 10 minutes more. Remove the foil and place in a serving dish. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with a ladle for guests to help themselves.
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