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Shrimp Mozambique: A Zesty Fusion of Portuguese Cuisine

Seafood Recipes

Shrimp Mozambique is one of those fascinating recipes that exist only in small regional pockets of the United States. Though the name suggests it’s an African dish, it’s actually Portuguese so you’ll often hear it referred to as Portuguese Shrimp Mozambique.

In particular, you’ll find it in the Portuguese communities on the southern coast of New England (such as Fall River and New Bedford, Massachusetts) but its roots are, in fact, in Africa. 

What is Shrimp Mozambique?

Shrimp Mozambique is a delicious buttery, garlicky, spicy, stew-like dish made with onions, garlic, a little beer or wine, and, of course, shrimp. As you can imagine, the dish gets its name from Mozambique, Portugal’s former African colony. 

The defining ingredient is an African chile pepper known as a piri piri pepper (sometimes spelled peri peri). Over time Portuguese colonists cultivated and adapted piri piri peppers into their own cuisine.

Like all traditional dishes, there are many different versions of Portuguese Shrimp Mozambique. Some use fresh, whole piri piri peppers and some use a piri piri hot sauce. However, piri piri peppers, be they fresh or in hot sauce form, are hard to find outside specialty Portuguese markets in America. Most recipes use other types of peppers or hot sauce. 

Many versions also include a dried spice mix made of annatto, coriander, cumin, and oregano (more on that below).

Though the name may sound exotic, the dish is actually very simple to make. Once you have all the ingredients it shouldn’t take more than a half-hour!

More Seafood Stew Recipes to Try

Portuguese Shrimp Mozambique Ingredients

Ingredients for shrimp mozambique

That’s everything you’ll need. Going clockwise from the upper left we got shrimp, olive oil, butter, white wine, clam juice, hot sauce, an onion, garlic, parsley, and lemon. In the middle is a spice mix known as Sazon seasoning. Here are the exact amounts for a serving size of about 3 people.

  • 1 pound wild Gulf shrimp
  • 2 TBSPs butter
  • 2 TBSPs olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 5 to 6 teaspoons Sazon seasoning
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, or more!
  • 1 cup dry white wine (or lager beer)
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 2 TBSPs piri piri hot sauce or any hot sauce of your choice, or more!
  • Fresh parsley, to taste
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste

Two of those ingredients, the Sazon seasoning, and the clam juice, need a little more explanation.

What is Sazon Seasoning? 

It’s a popular spice mix used in Latin, Spanish, and Portuguese cuisine that is typically made of annatto, coriander, cumin, oregano, pepper, and salt. Perhaps the most popular version is Sazon Goya con Culantro y Achiote (Sazon with Coriander and Annatto).

seasoning blend for shrimp mozambique

Everybody online seems to love this seasoning blend. I ordered some but was disappointed when I saw the ingredients which are full of artificial flavors and colorings. If you want convenience, 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. 

My Shrimp Mozambique Secret Ingredient

That would be clam juice! I love the briny kick it gives the dish though it’s not a traditional ingredient. Leave it out if you desire a more authentic Shrimp Mozambique recipe.

That said, in my opinion, a little clam juice makes it more like a stew and less like a sauce. It also gives it a slightly more pronounced seafood flavor.

Just make sure to use a good quality clam juice, like Bar Harbor. There are some really lousy clam juice products out there that I discussed in my detailed post about clam juice.

Where to Find Piri Piri Hot Sauce

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 really, any type of hot sauce you like is perfectly fine as a substitute. Common brands like Tabasco or Frank’s Hot Sauce work just fine.

The Best Type of Shrimp for Shrimp Mozambique

That would be any wild-caught US shrimp. It’s a much more sustainable and environmentally responsible choice than farmed shrimp from overseas. My post, 4 Reasons to Stop Eating Farmed Shrimp explains this in more detail. 

Is Shrimp Mozambique Spicy?

It depends on your heat tolerance. If you’re using a piri piri hot sauce, know that piri piri is a moderately spicy hot pepper. For those with a high tolerance, it’s probably fine. For others, it can be light-your-mouth-on-fire spicy. But again, you can alter the heat level by choosing any type of hot sauce you want. Frank’s hot sauce would be a good choice if you want a mild but not overpowering kick.

How to Make Shrimp Mozambique (Video Demo)

Yup, I created a short video to show you just how easy it is to make this recipe! Alternatively, check out the steps and pics below the video.

A Picture Summary of Steps

Step 1. Saute the onion

In a saute pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes or until the onions soften.

sauteing garlic and onions in oil

Step 2. Add the garlic

Saute the garlic for about 1 minute.

Step 3. Add the Sazon seasoning

Mix it in well and saute for about 1 more minute, stirring frequently.

Sazon seasoning

Step 4. Add the wine and clam broth

Bring it to a boil, and simmer until the liquid reduces by about one-third.

adding wine and clam broth to the shrimp mozambique

Step 5. Add the hot sauce

Stir it in. Taste. Add more hot sauce, to taste.

adding the the hot sauce

Step 6. Add the shrimp

Simmer until they turn pink and are cooked through for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Step 7. Season, to taste

Ladle the stew into bowls and season with salt, pepper, fresh parsley, and/or lemon juice, to taste.

bowl of portuguese shrimp mozambique

What to Serve with Shrimp Mozambique

Portuguese Shrimp Mozambique is commonly served over rice, french fries, or pasta. It can also be served as is without any starch. In that case, some crusty bread is great for dipping into the stew. 

More Portuguese Seafood Stew Recipes

This recipe for Shrimp Mozambique is featured in my new cookbook, New England Soups from the Sea! Approximately 15 to 20% of the 80 recipes are Portuguese. Why? Because there is a strong Portuguese identity in many communities in New England, especially the southern coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. 

seafood cookbook imagery

Available Now!

From Rhode Island to Maine—Get 80 locally inspired recipes that honor the traditions of America’s northeast.

Many have roots dating back as far as the early 1800s when New England whaling ships sailed across the Atlantic and brought back Portuguese men looking for new opportunities.

These communities have adapted their native cuisine to native New England foods, especially the seafood, and nowhere does that fusion shine better than in the seafood stews. This is, in my highly biased opinion, the ultimate way to experience Portuguese cuisine in New England.

Some of the recipes include a Simple Portuguese Clam Stew and a Portuguese Squid Stew. There are also Portuguese-style chowders, clam boils, and many other recipes sprinkled throughout the cookbook!

Portuguese Shrimp Mozambique Recipe  

Simple Shrimp Mozambique

With only a handful of ingredients, this zesty Portuguese shrimp dish can be whipped in a half hour or less!
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
CourseMain Course
CuisinePortuguese
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings3 people
Calories358kcal
AuthorCraig Fear
Cost$20

Ingredients

For the Sazon spice blend

  • 1 tsp ground annatto
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

For the stew

  • 2 TBSPs butter
  • 2 TBSPs olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced into ½ inch pieces
  • 5-6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup white wine or lager beer
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 2 TBSPs piri piri hot sauce or hot sauce of your choice, or more!
  • 1 pound shrimp choose wild Gulf shrimp, if possible

Optional Seasonings, to taste

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Hot sauce of your choice
  • Fresh parsley chopped
  • Fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  • In a small bowl combine and mix the spices for the Sazon blend. Set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat in a medium-sized skillet. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes or until softened.
  • Add the garlic and saute one more minute. Add the Sazon seasoning mix and cook about 1 more minute, stirring frequently.
  • Add the white wine (or beer) and clam broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and continue to simmer about 5-10 minutes until the liquid is reduced by about one-third.
  • Add 2 TBSPs hot sauce and mix well. Taste. Add more hot sauce to desired taste.
  • Add shrimp and simmer until they turn pink and are cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Ladle stew into individual bowls and add optional seasonings, to taste.
  • Serve over a bed of white rice, fries, or pasta, optional.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 358kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 263mg | Sodium: 923mg | Potassium: 601mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 362IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 140mg | Iron: 2mg
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Shrimp Mozambique: A Zesty Fusion of Portuguese Cuisine
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About the Author

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.

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