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+ servings
Brazil dish of shrimp in a pumpkin

Camarao na Moranga or “Shrimps in Squash”

This is a popular Brazilian dish often served in restaurants along the coast, or as celebrations for guests. It is a show stopper in terms of presentation and flavor both!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Brazilian
Keyword camarao na moranga, celebration food, Fall centerpieces, serving a crowd, shrimp in pumpkin
Meat & Poultry fish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Roasting the whole pumpkin ahead 40 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 412kcal
Author dorothy stainbrook


  • 3 lb baking pumpkin I used a ribbed dark orange baking pumpkin
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 large Onion chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Minced rosemary
  • 1 tsp Minced thyme
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika optional
  • 3 cloves garlic mashed
  • 2-3 tomatoes chopped; you can used diced canned tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup Coconut milk can substitute cream or use 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 12 oz Cream cheese
  • 2 lbs Shrimp medium or large
  • 1 oz Parmesan cheese Grated
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 cups water


  • Cut the top of the pumpkin off like a lid, clean the inside removing all the seeds and the stringy part of the flesh attached to the seeds. Toss the stringy part of the pumpkin attached to the seeds and keep the seeds if you want to use them for roasting later.
    Wrap pumpkin in foil and bake at 300 degrees F. for about 40 minutes or until “fork tender” (to test, poke it with a fork around the stem area- it is done when slightly soft to the touch). Test occasionally with fork because overcooking the pumpkin can cause it to collapse. (Some people will cook in a microwave without the foil, but be careful not to overcook or bottom will fall out)
    Remove from the oven and set aside. Now you have two options: you can scrape out some of cooked pumpkin flesh, being careful not to break the pumpkin, but sometimes the inside of the pumpkin doesn’t get soft enough to scrape out. If you choose this option, reserve the pumpkin flesh for adding to the sauce later.
    The second option is to leave the pumpkin and its flesh intact and use some other leftover squash or canned pumpkin in the soup instead (I added about 1 cup). I found this option easier.
  • In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat oil and butter over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until translucent and caramelized. Add spices and smashed garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes, the reserved pumpkin flesh, the coconut milk/cream and the cream cheese. Cook for 3-5 minutes or so, stirring until smooth and thickened to your liking.  Mine came out pretty thick and I added 1 1/2 cups water to the broth.
    Add the shrimp and cook until pink. Shrimp cook fast and it will only take 3-4 minutes.
  • To serve, pour the sauce/shrimp ingredients into the pumpkin and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Rice is often served as an accompaniment. If desired for presentation, garnish the pumpkin opening by hanging a few shrimp off of the top edge.
  • NOTE: If making it ahead, pour the sauce (without the parmesan) in the pumpkin 15 minutes before serving time; wrap the pumpkin in foil and bake in a 350F oven till hot. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve.


*The recipe calls for requeijao cremoso, a creamy cheese not available in the United States. Cream cheese is a reasonable substitute.
* Serving size includes 4-5 shrimp per person


Calories: 412kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 339mg | Sodium: 1094mg | Potassium: 883mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 15371IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 295mg | Iron: 5mg