Camarão na Moranga

(Shrimp in a Pumpkin)

Photo and Text by Cynthia Presser.

Shrimp in a Pumpkin – or Camarão na Moranga, in Portuguese – is a traditional Brazilian recipe that can add a pretty cool twist to your dinner table this fall! When serving this goodness to your family and friends, make sure you scoop the pumpkin and the sauce together; then serve with simple jasmine rice. Offer farofa as a side as well, if you want to make this meal even a bit more Brazilian!

Serves 8


  • 1 medium pumpkin (Sugar Pie Pumpkin or Cinderella work best)

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, dividedSalt and pepper

  • 2 pounds large shrimp, cleaned and deveined, tails-off

  • ¼ cup Cognac (Brandy or Bourbon also work great)

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 1 or 2 cherry peppers (or other variety of hot pepper, such as habanero, chili or jalapeno), minced

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 6 large ripe tomatoes, chopped

  • ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped

  • ½ cup scallions, finely chopped

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) Catupiry (if unavailable use cream cheese or mascarpone)

Directions: Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Cut the top of the pumpkin and remove all seeds. Wrap it in aluminum foil and place on a large shallow ovenproof pan, cut-off side down. Bake it until nearly soft, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and unwrap from foil. Set aside. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil on high heat until it starts shimmering. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Sauté shrimp in the hot oil until it turns pink and starts to curl, 1 minute. Add Cognac and cook another 30 seconds (most likely it will flame, so be careful). Remove from heat and transfer shrimp and its liquids to a plate. To the same skillet, add the remaining olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 minutes. Add hot pepper and garlic and cook an additional minute. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to medium. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft and a thick sauce has formed; 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and fold in shimp, cilantro and scallions.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Using a large spoon, spread the Catupiry into the pumpkin. Pour shrimp sauce into pumpkin and return to the oven. Bake for 20 to 30 min