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Ilse Cooks the Books: Mozambican Prawns

───   10:31 Fri, 20 Nov 2020

Ilse Cooks the Books: Mozambican Prawns | News Article

One of my favourite things in the world to eat is prawns. In fact, I have a very long list of things I love to eat.

Pizza, pasta (most carbs really – don’t get me started on potatoes), nectarines, cheese, those little cocktail tomatoes, oysters, sushi, popcorn… the list goes on and on.  But prawns… I’ll fight you for them!

It’s not a cheap ingredient, so it’s not something we have every other day.  Also, if I’m going to have it head-on in the shell, I’ll pay a bit more for a really good prawn.  This recipe deserves a really good prawn. 

Actually, the original protein in this recipe is crab.  However, I don’t live anywhere near the ocean and those frozen bits of crab won’t do for this dish.  So buy the best you can afford, make it during the weekend with a glass of wine in hand and for a few blissful hours, imagine you are on holiday somewhere exotic.


“I first had crab in Kenia, on a small island near Mombasa.  I had never seen such large crabs before. It was served unpretentiously with a butter sauce and prepared like lobster.  If you don’t like crab, or cannot find it, you may serve this curry sauce with any other type of seafood.  You could even use lamb or beef.” – Barbara Joubert

Enough for 3 - 4

About 40 ml olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, sliced

3 cardamom pods

3 bird’s eye chillies (or however many you want) sliced

2,5 ml ground ginger

15 ml ground cumin

15 ml ground coriander

10 ml turmeric

2,5 ml ground cinnamon

400 g tin of chopped tomatoes

Juice of a small lemon

400 ml tin coconut cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

250 ml warm water

4 crabs/a packet of prawns

Fresh coriander

Heat the oil in a large pot.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent.  Add the cardamom pods, chillies, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cinnamon and cook with the onion for about a minute.  Add the tomatoes, lemon juice and coconut cream.  Season with salt and pepper and add the water.  Simmer uncovered over a low heat for about 45 minutes.  Add the fresh coriander.

Cook the prawns (or crabs) by frying them (shell and head on – digestive track removed) in a few tablespoons of butter.  Once cooked, add them to the sauce and serve over white rice.

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