Shrimp in Coconut Sauce (Camarão com Molho de Coco)

I have never visited Brazil but I hope to someday just to be able to sample their wonderful cuisine. While recently searching my cookbooks for new ideas, I came across this delightful dish called shrimp in coconut sauce. Apparently it is very popular in Brazil during the Easter season. I was attracted to this dish because I love shrimp and coconut milk together, and I also like the bell peppers in this dish.

Whenever I cook I never blindly follow the recipe but constantly sample the sauce and improvise until it seems just right. In this case I made a few changes from the traditional Brazilian version. First of all I added some jalapeno peppers and lemon juice into the recipe to give it a touch more spice and interest. Secondly I added more cumin than was called for, to give more flavor. Finally, I substituted canola oil for the recipe’s red palm oil. This was actually an oversight on my part, as I had red palm oil on hand. The palm oil would add red color, which might be fun, but is probably a touch less healthy than canola oil.

If you don’t have shrimp or don’t want to use shrimp, you can use any type of firm white fish as a replacement. Good choices would be cod, tilapia, or halibut. I wouldn’t use a fish like dover sole as it is very delicate and will fall apart.

The combination of shrimp, vegetables, tomatoes, and coconut milk in this dish makes it wonderful. I served it over rice, as they do in Brazil. I feel like this would also go really well over cheesy grits. By the way, I kept the shrimp tails on for better presentation. My son was happy to eat the tails as they were, but you can take them off if you prefer.



  • 3 tbsp. canola oil or palm oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 1/2 cup mixed bell peppers, seeded, medium dice
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. seeded, minced jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup cilantro stems, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. toasted ground cumin powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes, or 1 1/2 cup fresh chopped tomatoes
  • 2 lbs. extra large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 14 1/2 oz. can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice


To begin, heat oil in a large heavy bottom saucepan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add your onions, peppers, garlic, jalapenos, and cilantro stems.

Sauté until the vegetables are soft., which will take around 3-5 minutes. Then, add cumin powder, salt, and black pepper, and fry for 30 seconds.

Add tomatoes, then stir, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring in between. Add coconut milk to the pan and stir. Cook while covered for another 5 minutes.

Add shrimp to the pan and stir. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes until the shrimp are cooked. Turn off heat, then stir in cilantro, onion, and lime juice. Taste for seasoning.


Serve this over rice, mashed potatoes, or grits!

Serves 6-8

Did you make this dish? I’d love to know how it turns out! Feel free to like this post and comment or use the hashtag #globaldinein on Instagram

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