Camarao na Moranga (how to cobble together lunch when it’s snowing)



Sunday morning and I was woken early by the children shrieking and assumed there was an intruder in the house. Instead the snow had settled and it was “like christmas”. After a brief experiment in the garden (“not enough snow”) it was decided that we had to go to the park. Despite my insistence regarding the cold, thin socks and thinner gloves were donned and off we went. Of course 5 minutes into the frolic and the brief chill of snow on wellies and snowball in hands precipitated vociferous complaints which tapered into a monotonous whinge. In a pathetic attempt to revive the poor lost souls I began to foretell of a wonderful warming stew contained within an exotic vessel. Further romance was added with the use of the native nomenclature; “Camarao na Moranga”. Mainly this was necessity as the mother of invention; I didn’t fancy driving to the shops on icy roads and I had a couple of butternuts in the cupboard and prawns in the freezer.

As I wasn’t really sure of the recipe, I turned to my old friend Google which provided a number of options and some great pictures;


And I produced this; 

Very simple, quite exotic, mine looked horrible. Halved and de-seeded butternut squash, open faces covered in grated nutmeg and ginger then roasted to collapse, seeds roasted to popping with salt pepper chilli. Meanwhile an onion was fried lightly brown in EVO, then garlic, rosemary, a little crumbled bay leaf and a bottle of passsata simmered away for 15 mins. Turned the heat right down and added couple of packs of frozen prawns (poor planning precludes defrosting). I only eat small coldwater marine prawns as they are relatively cheap and taste much better. Also unlike the much desired warm water Tiger prawns the little Atalantoc ones are not subject to interference [e.g. injected with brine to increase weight or antibiotics to stimulate growth], don’t have farmers living above them on whose ‘waste’ they feed and don’t contribute to mangrove destruction in the same way as their freakishly large Bangladeshi, Thai and increasingly Vietnamese cousins. Size is not everything.

The googled recipes [they even have festivals for this dish in Brazil] variously call for a roux, cream cheese, coconut milk and I don’t have any so my final flourishes were provided by sour cream, grated parmesan and a fistful of chopped coriander.

Despite resembling, in both look and slightly aroma, a bowl of vomit this warming stew was gobbled up by the little people and adults alike, with the addition of the chilli roasted seeds and more chlli flakes for me. And then microwaved and gobbled all over again in the evening in a couple of wraps with the butternut mashed and some more coriander and chilli flakes added. Once again demonstrating that looks aren't everything.

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Recipes, Lifestyle