Brazilian recipe, festive shrimp and lobster in Pumpkin

Shrimp and Lobster in Pumpkin (Camarao na moranga)

Shrimp in Pumpkin  (Camarão na moranga) is a typical dish of Brazilian coastal cuisine this delightful recipe is served and prepared with pumpkin, stuffed with shrimp, cream cheese and herbs. The origin of this recipe is said to be Ubatuba, 2nd largest island on the North Coast of São Paulo, with over 800 hectares of lush Atlantic Forest in the midst of mountains and pristine beaches.

The pumpkin seeds are known to have medicinal powers, so the local population began to plant pumpkin because of its seeds to obtain a powerful de-wormer that plagued the area in the 30’s.

According to local legend, during one of the island’s crossings to the mainland, one of the pumpkins fell into the sea and sank quickly because there was a hole in the place of the stalk. A few weeks later the fruit reappeared about 5 km from where it had sunk. A lady, who had a restaurant on the beach,  found the fruit and did not think twice, stuck a whole pumpkin to be boiled. When she opened the pumpkin, she found inside more than two kilograms of shrimp. Seeing this, she had the brilliant idea of removing the seeds and add green onions, coriander, tomato, garlic, and cream cheese together with the shrimps.

This is how this dish came about – a real ‘caiçara’ cuisine:  ” Shrimp in Pumpkin “, this delicious dish has become part of the menu of many coastal restaurants throughout Brazil.

In this particular recipe, I added lobster for a different end of the year celebration dish paired with the splendid  Champagne Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs. Blanc de Blancs is white Champagne made exclusively from white-wine grapes; the phrase Blanc de Blancs is French for “white of whites.” made with 100% Chardonnay grapes.  This Chardonnay cuvée has been elaborated from the five grand cru vineyards of the Côte des Blancs. This champagne paired well with the light shrimp and delicate sweetness of the lobster in the creaminess of the pumpkin sauce. Thanks to Champagne Billecart-Salmon for  sending a bottle of this delightful champagne (my favourite tipple).

Champagne Billecart-Salmon is a delicate champagne with fine bubbles and buttered brioche and mineral aromas, fresh and elegant finish.

Shrimp and lobster in Pumpkin recipe

Serves: 4
1 large pumpkin
Olive oil to taste
8 garlic cloves
1 and 1/2 large white onions
1kg fresh prawns, clean and deveined
250g of lobster meat, already cooked (optional)
2 lobster tails (optional)
1 lemon or lime
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large and ripe tomatoes. peeled and chopped
1 bunch cilantro (coriander), chopped
150ml of double (heavy) cream
3 tablespoons of cream cheese, I use Puck Cheese Spread

1) Open the pumpkin, cutting a lid and remove the seeds. pre-heat the oven 180C
2)In a pestle and mortar, make a paste by pressing five cloves of finely chopped garlic, salt and black pepper to taste, half sliced onion and olive oil. Place the paste inside the pumpkin and rubbing inside to season it.
3)Cover the pumpkin, wrap with foil and bake for about an hour, until it is cooked.
4)Season the prawns with the juice of one lemon, salt and black pepper to taste.
5)Fry in plenty of olive oil, three cloves of garlic and chopped onion. When they are lightly golden add two tomatoes and parsley (or cilantro/coriander) finely chopped. Sauté everything until the tomatoes look cooked. Now add and sauté the shrimp for a few minutes and check for doneness by color: pink they are ready. Add cream and cream cheese to the mix. Make sure everything is well mixed and check for salt and pepper. Add the lobster meat.  If necessary, thicken the sauce with flour dissolved in water.
6) Steam the raw lobster tails for 20-30 minutes till they are pink. If using already cooked, steam for 10 minutes only.
7)Remove the squash from the oven and pour all the water from inside.
8) With a spoon scoop the cooked pumpkin flesh and mix with the shrimp and lobster filling.
9) Fill the pumpkin and bake for about five minutes.
10)Decorate with lobster tails and serve hot with rice.

Happy Festivities!





  1. November 22, 2015 / 6:41 pm

    This looks delicious. The presentation is beautiful and I bet the shrimp and lobster taste so good in this warming dish! Perfect for these cold Winter evenings.

  2. LuxuryColumnist
    November 22, 2015 / 7:20 pm

    I love the presentation of this dish in a pumpkin! We didn't try this in Brazil, sounds like we were missing out 😉

  3. Nayna Kanabar
    November 22, 2015 / 7:59 pm

    What a lovely way to serve the soup in a pumpkin. Its really nice. Great for a dinner party.

  4. November 23, 2015 / 12:20 am

    Your recipes are always amazing, but I just can't stomach Lobster…love the shrimps though.

  5. November 23, 2015 / 7:06 am

    Hi Emma, the lobster is optional. R

  6. November 23, 2015 / 4:24 pm

    This looks like a fab recipe. We were in Rio last year where I discovered some fabulous recipes. They are so full of flavour and so inventive. GG

  7. November 24, 2015 / 3:03 am

    Oh My Goodness!!!!

    I just want to dive into a big bowl of this!!! Lobster and prawn….where do I sign!