Shrimp Mozambique is a Portuguese dish whose defining characteristic is a buttery, spicy, red colored broth made from onions, garlic, zesty spices, a little beer or wine, and hot sauce. The dish gets its name from Mozambique, Portugal’s former African colony. Though the name may sound exotic, the dish is actually quite simple to make. Once you have all the ingredients it shouldn’t take more than a half hour!
Perhaps the most unique ingredient in Shrimp Mozambique is the piri piri hot sauce, traditionally made from small, spicy southern African chile peppers. In time Portuguese colonists cultivated and adapted piri piri peppers into their own cuisine. Portuguese piri piri hot sauce is hard to find outside specialty Portuguese markets though you may be able to find it via online sellers. Click here to find some options on Amazon. But any type of hot sauce you like is perfectly fine as a substitute.
Another unique ingredient of Shrimp Mozambique is Sazon, which is a popular spice mix used in Latin, Spanish and Portuguese cuisine. It’s typically made of coriander, cumin, oregano, pepper and salt. Perhaps the most popular version is Sazon Goya con Culantro y Achiote (Sazon with Coriander and Annatto).
Everybody online seems to love this seasoning blend. I ordered some but was disappointed when I saw the ingredients. It’s full of artificial flavors and colorings. If you want convenience though, you can find it here. But you can easily make your own. I’ve included a simple homemade Sazon seasoning in the recipe below. The only spice you may not easily find is ground annatto which gives the dish a deep red color. Any mild paprika is a suitable substitute.
That would clam juice! It’s not something you typically see in Shrimp Mozambique recipes. Leave it out if you desire a more authentic experience (though it will be less of a stew and more of a thick sauce). But if you want a nice briny kick to this dish then make sure to get a good quality clam juice (also called “clam broth”). There’s a lot of lousy clam juice products that are way too clammy. My favorite is Bar Harbor clam juice.
I wanted to give this dish a briny boost of seafood flavor because I’m currently writing a cookbook about New England seafood soups and stews. Unless you live in New England you may not know that there are many Portuguese communities throughout the region, especially on the southern New England coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Shrimp Mozambique is one of the more popular seafood dishes that you’ll find in Portuguese cafes and restaurants.
Finally, please try to purchase US wild-caught shrimp. It’s a much more environmentally responsible choice compared to farmed shrimp from overseas. I wrote an extensive post on why you should STOP eating shrimp (though not US shrimp) that explains this in more detail. Also, this dish is often served over white rice though it’s totally optional. It will certainly make the meal a little more substantive.
With only a handful of ingredients, this zesty Portuguese shrimp dish can be whipped in a half hour or less!
Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.