Camarão abraçadinho or ‘cuddled prawns’ is a typical dish of Brazilian beach restaurants. The cute name ‘cuddled’ comes from the way the prawns are threaded onto the skewer which gives the impression they are hugging each other. They are often served either as an appetiser, entrée, or as part of a seafood platter that may include prawn and fish croquettes, French fries and steamed or pan-fried fish. In many occasions they are eaten with a cold beer or a caipirinha on the side. In Brazil these skewers are made with very small prawns. In fact, legend says that the cuddled tiny prawns were created to make them give you the sensation you are eating a bigger one. Large prawns used to be quite expensive in Brazil so the cuddled prawns would provide the feeling of eating something better for a fraction of the price!
Summer has arrived in Australia and to me it is a very exciting time of the year because it means more beautiful produce becomes available to use in my kitchen. Strawberries are super flavoursome (stay tuned for a strawberry dessert I am making for Christmas) and other little fruits like blackberries, blueberries, cherries and raspberries will soon be plentiful and cheaper. Peaches and nectaries are also a delight that come with summer along with the exquisite Australian mangoes.
Native to South and South-East Asia, mangoes are full of vitamins and a great source of calcium. Brazil is also a top producer of the highest quality mangoes, so much so that they taste like a native fruit. For many years, mangoes have been playing an important part on the diet of Brazilians: they are eaten as a snack, in fruit salads, used to prepare smoothies and desserts like popsicles, trifles and mousses. Mangoes are also used to make sweet-sour sauces that accompany fried or baked fish.
Summer is the perfect time of the year to eat salads. I love to make salads. I was a vegetarian for many years so the art of salad-making is one of my strengths in the kitchen. Because Brazilians love to have fruit with savoury dishes and mango is in season, I added mango to my salad, along with another Brazilian favourite: the mighty coconut. The red and green capsicums plus chilli and coriander make this salad super colourful and crunchy. Another Brazilian touch is the addition of red palm oil (dendê). If for some reason you cannot get dendê, just replace by another vegetable oil like canola or corn. I recommend you use a vegetable peeler to slice the vegetables very finely to make your salad look beautiful. This salad is also great on its own, so if you are vegetarian or want to try something healthy and light that tastes like summer feel free to have a go! Another option is to have it with your favourite barbecued fish or other seafood like calamari.
Here is how you assemble your cute ‘cuddled prawns:
1.5 kg medium prawns, peeled and deveined (or 1 kg of prawn meat)
Juice of 1 lime
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup (65g) plain flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups (120g) panko breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Mini wooden skewers*
2 medium mangos (like Kensington pride), finely sliced
200g fresh coconut, shaved (click here to view instructions on how to open a coconut**)
1/2 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
1 small red capsicum, finely sliced
1 small green capsicum, finely sliced
2 chillies, deseeded, julienned
Coriander leaves, to garnish
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tbs red palm oil*** (dendê) or vegetable oil
½ cup (125ml) coconut cream
3 cm ginger, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot chilli sauce, to serve (optional)
*Available from large supermarkets or catering shops
**This can be done one day ahead, store the coconut in an airtight container in the fridge
***Available online or from South American grocers
1. Set up one bowl with the flour, one bowl with the eggs and another bowl with the breadcrumbs. Place prawns in a bowl with lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and stir. Arrange two prawns together so that they fit into each other like two ‘letter Cs’ with the thicker part of the prawn on the inside (see pictures above). Insert the skewer across the prawns. Coat prawns in flour, dip in eggs, coat in breadcrumbs and place on a large plate or tray. Repeat with remaining prawns. Wipe the skewers with paper towel to remove crumb.
2. In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients of the dressing. Gently combine all salad ingredients, pour the dressing and toss just before serving.
3. Line some paper towel onto a large tray. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan. Test the oil with a small cube of bread, if the bread turns gold in less than 30 seconds the oil is ready. Fry the skewers in batches for approximately 2 minutes or until golden, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Drain on paper towel. Serve with the salad and hot chilli sauce (if desired).
Receita em Português
Camarão Abraçadinho com Salada de Manga e Côco
1,5 kg camarões médios descascados e sem tripa (ou 1 kg de camarão limpo )
Suco de 1 limão
Sal e pimenta a gosto
1/2 xícara ( 65g ) de farinha de trigo
3 ovos batidos
2 xícaras ( 120g ) de farinha de rosca
Óleo vegetal para fritar
Mini espetos de madeira
2 mangas médias , em fatias finas
200g de coco fresco, fatiado com cortador de legumes (clique aqui para ver instruções sobre como abrir um coco *)
1/2 maço de coentro, picado
1 pimentão vermelho pequeno , fatiado usando cortador de legumes
1 pimentão verde pequeno, finamente cortada
2 pimentas dedo demoça , sem sementes , fatiadas estilo julienne
Folhas de coentro , para enfeitar
Molho para Salada:
Raspa de 1 limão
Suco de 1 limão
1 colher de chá de açúcar refinado
1 colher de sopa de dendê
½ xícara ( 125ml ) de leite de côco
Um pedaço de 3cm de gengibre ralado
Sal e pimenta a gosto
Molho de pimenta , para servir (opcional)
*Isto pode ser feito um dia antes , manter o coco em um recipiente hermético na geladeira
1. Prepare uma tigela com a farinha, uma tigela com os ovos e outra tigela com a farinha de rosca . Coloque os camarões em uma tigela com o suco de limão , tempere com sal e pimenta e mexa. Encaixe dois camarões no espetinho em formato de ‘C’, com a parte mais grossa do camarão na parte central (veja fotos acima). Insira o espeto entre os camarões . Passe os camarões na farinha, mergulhe nos ovos e depois passe na farinha de rosca e coloque em um prato grande ou bandeja. Repita com camarões restantes. Limpe os espetos com papel toalha.
2. Em uma tigela pequena, misture todos os ingredientes da salada. Despeje o molho sobre a salada antes de servir.
3. Prepare uma bandeja com toalha de papel. Aqueça o óleo vegetal em uma panela média ou fritadeira. Use um pedacinho de pão para testar o óleo, se o pão ficar dourado em menos de 30 segundos o óleo estará pronto. Frite os espetinhos aos poucos por cerca de 2 minutos ou até dourar , cuidando para não encher muito a panela . Escorra em papel toalha . Sirva com salada e molho de pimenta ( se desejar).