Mozambican Peri-Peri Prawns

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“POSTED FOR ZWT 4: Getting the REAL peri-peri oil recipe is a pain in the backside, and you never really find it. This is the nearest to the real thing, I think, but I don't take responsibility!! You won't have peri-peri peppers, so any hot red peppers, fresh or dried, will do. Ready-made Peri-peri oil can be bought where I am. The longer you can steep this oil, the better! The Moz prawns (shrimps) are large and straight from the ocean, and are only slit through the back shell and the vein removed. Then they're butterflied, brushed well with the oil, and fried or grilled just until they curl up and turn pink. There are other similar recipes. Mozambique prawns are really the only prawns to use! I HAD to guess the weight of the prawns -- use as many as you think you have peri-peri for.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 3 -4 lbs shrimp, large, shells and head on (Mozambican prawns)
  • 1 12 cups oil (your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 -12 dried hot peppers (African peri-peri peppers are called for)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika


  1. Wash the prawns/shrimps and pat dry. Cut open the backs and remove the dark vein. Kitchen scissors work best. Do not remove the shells. Then cut down gently and slightly butterfly the prawns.
  2. The oil: start the day before, which is best. (Even the week before!)
  3. You may need to remove seeds from the dried peppers, and then chop them up. Regulate the heat by using more or less!
  4. Heat the oil gently, do not boil. Use groundnut or sunflower oil, not olive.
  5. Add all the other ingredients except the prawns. Don't boil. Take off heat, cool, and save in a clean bottle.
  6. Steep as long as you have time. The oil should colour to a pleasant reddish colour.
  7. To cook, either put the prepared prawns in a large bowl, add the oil, stir well, and let marinade for 30 minutes up to 3 hours, in the fridge.
  8. Bake or grill in a hot oven -- 350 deg F/180 deg C, or use your oven grill. Do NOT overcook: they turn pink when done.
  9. Scoop up with a slotted spoon so the oil drips off, and you can also briefly drain them on scrunched-up kitchen paper.
  10. Serve in a heap on a hot platter -- with plenty of wet cloths for hands and dipping bowls for fingers! Usually served with rice and some kind of fresh bread. This is not a dish for dainty eating. Use your hands.
  11. Immensely popular in Maputo, where most of us will find out way to the famous old Costa do Sol restaurant on the sea, a few kilometres up north from Maputo, and order peri-peri prawns -- !

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