Shrimps in pumpkin (Camarao na moranga)

December 13, 2012  •  Category:


I mentioned before that millions of Lebanese have immigrated to Brazil; this dish is a specialty of Bahia and reminds me of a childhood friend, Fabienne, who went to Brazil on vacation and decided to settle in Bahia instead of coming back. My daughter came back from college one day ( the American University in Beirut) and told me one of her professors had posted a photo of this dish. One look at it and I had to make it. 

This dish is easy to prepare:  clean out the pumpkin and bake it and figure on less than 30 minutes to cook the shrimps and sauce. This dish can be prepared ahead of time and reheated  for about 15 minutes right before serving.

I served it with whole-wheat spaghettis, but any pasta would work or rice.

INGREDIENTS: 4 servings

1 Pumpkin weight about 3 pounds

1 1/2 lbs jumbo shrimp (can be less), peeled and cleaned (frozen is fine)

1 large onion

4 cloves of garlic (more or less to taste)

1 can of tomatoes or tomato purée (12 oz)

3 oz of cream cheese

1 1/2 cup of whipping cream

oil to fry the onions

Spices: salt, to taste. 1/2 tsp of black pepper; 1/2 tsp of coriander; 1 tsp of cumin; dash of thyme or oregano (the spices are my personal choice)


  1. Cut a cap off the pumpkin and clean out the inside. Keep the seeds if you like, and scrape the inside as much as possible; cover the pumpkin in foil and bake it for 40 minutes or until it is rather soft. 
  2. Meanwhile, chop the onion, mash the garlic and heat a little oil in a large skillet. Fry the onion till golden and add the mashed garlic; add the tomatoes or purée and the cream; add the shrimps and spices  and cook the shrimps  in the cream for 5 minutes or till done (shrimps cook fast). Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and slather the inside with cream cheese; Pour the sauce in the pumpkin and serve. 
NOTE: If making it ahead, pour the sauce in the pumpkin 15 minutes before serving time; wrap the pumpkin in foil and bake in a 350F oven till hot. Serve right away with pasta if desired. I baked the pumpkin cap as well. Scrape the pumpkin after baking to collect pumpkin flesh and incorporate into the sauce. Leave the shrimps whole or cut them up.




19 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    A scrumptious dish! Brazilian food is wonderfully tasty and exotic.



  2. Devaki says:

    Hi Joumana – You have absolutely outdone yourself. I cannot imagine a more wonderful treat. I must see if I can make room on my holiday menu and fit this one in.

    Superb Joumana, simply superb!

    chow 🙂 Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  3. Nadji says:

    Je suis impressionnée. Vraiment bravo! En plus de la présentation, ce plat doit être merveilleusement savoureux.
    A bientôt

  4. Belinda @zomppa says:

    Always learn something new. First, never realized there was such an immigration to Brazil. Second, NEVER thought to do shrimp in a pumpkin.

  5. Susan says:

    A visual delight, Joumana, with a delicious and unique combination of flavors.

  6. Banana Wonder says:

    What a great combination! Love the pumpkin, forever!

  7. Paula Mello says:

    It’s a shame that most people in the world don’t know anything about my country. We have the most wonderful variety in food with flavors of around the world. As America, Brazil is a country of many nationalities. Some of lebanese says that arabian food here taste even better and I couldn’t agree more! I remember my grandfather used to say it’s because the peace he found in Brazil that made food so amazing.

    You also must try the dishes made of cassava, really tasteful.

    Thank you, Joumana!

  8. Oui, Chef says:

    Clever, creative and absolutely beautiful…a total winner!

  9. diana says:


    this is just an amazing recipe like all the others that you post.
    I would like to ask you a question about humus. I went to an arabic humus house and I had it with 4 “toppings” like in the picture below.

    It was amazing and cannot forget its taste. Can you please tell me what humus is served with traditionally. Please comment on any entry on my blog to reply.

    I usually forget to check on the comments that I write

    Thank you.

  10. Alicia (foodycat) says:

    This looks absolutely delicious!

  11. julia says:


    what wasnt my surprise to see camarão na moranga here — the place i look for different dishes!

    if you liked, and you can find cassava, you should really try bobó de camarão, which, in my humble opinion is MUCH better.

    It goes like this (i am sure you can fill in the blanks): cook the cassava in water, it takes a while. Take out the “wires” (something as the “soul” of the garlic), puree in the mixer with coconut milk, green bell pepper, onion, garlic and tomatoes.

    In a pan, cook this puree while you sautee the shrimp in olive oil. add the shrimp to the puree and serve over white rice. decorate with chopped coriander leaves. (or parsley).

    If you wanna make it vegan, substitute the shrimp with palm hearts (canned is fine) or plantains (or bananas if you cant find plantain).

    Hope you try and hope you like it!

    • Joumana says:

      @Julia: I love cassava, called here kolkass; I am going to try this dish with shrimp, it sounds just mouthwatering1!!! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe dear Julia.

  12. maha says:

    super tempting n very creative..nice blog u have vth tasty recipes..happy 2 visit u……
    BTW Iam back to blogging..plz visit my space n if gets sum time check out my new FB page dear.Thanks in advance..

  13. Tom Tall Clover Farm says:

    Joumana this is one of the most unique recipes & food combinations I’ve ever seen, which is a good enough reason to try making it in my kitchen. Thank you.

  14. domi says:

    Comme pour Cendrillon tout est dans la….citrouille et je la trouve drôlement bien ” carrossée “….

  15. carl says:


    I just made this recipe tonight for me and some friends and it was great. Just one thing that is unclear in yours is what do you do with the flesh of the pumpkin that you carve out? seems a waste if you just chuck it.
    In the end I softened and pureed mine adding it to the sauce for extra flavor at the same time i added the tomato, cream, spice etc. Or i guess you could add it to the onion and garlic before hand in chunks with the spice to get it going nicely.

    • Joumana says:

      @Carl: Thanks you add a very good point. I am not sure what the Brazilians do, but in Lebanon, any pumpkin pulp is kept for making kibbeh. I have a pumpkin kibbeh recipe in my cookbook if interested.

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