This dish brings back many memories for me, as during the mid 70s when doing my compulsory military service I was posted to the border of Mozambique in northern Natal, at Kuzilonde, just above Kosi Bay. This area is ranked as one of South Africa’s truly wild places, lakes, sub-tropical shores, and warm beaches. Even though we were warned of the danger of crocodiles, hippos and bilharzia, we would still take the odd swim in the lakes and rivers. I can remember the fish eagles, leatherback turtles and white-backed night herons and spending time with the Zulu fishermen when setting their ‘Thonga’ fish traps and then spearing the fish once in the trap.
This is where I met Rego, fleeing Mozambique in fear of his life into South Africa, with hundreds if not thousands of other ethnic Portuguese Mozambiquens. I befriended Rego and in all this madness we found some time over a beer or two to talk food. I stayed in contact with Rego and we became friends as he had an infectious enthusiasm for what I can only describe as East African-Portuguese Cookery. I am yet to emulate the Peri Peri Chicken which Rego prepared on the Barbeque, but this Prawn Peri Peri recipe is a good start.
The best prawn to use is the Black Tiger Prawn which is found on the East African and Australian coast.
• 2 kg Black Tiger Prawns.
• 200 ml extra virgin olive oil
• 10 birds eye chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• zest and juice of 4 limes
• 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
• small bunch of parsley chopped
• 150 ml white wine vinegar
• 2 tsp sea salt
• 2 tbls paprika
• 1 tbsp cayenne
1. If prawns are frozen, defrost in fridge, not under water. Remove heads and with a sharp knife cut down the back and devein. Remove legs.
2. In a bowl mix all ingredients well. Store in a sealed container for at least 36 hours so the flavours infuse.
3. Once aged, remove a ¼ of the marinade and return to fridge, to use as a dipping sauce for cooked prawns
4. Fire up your BBQ
5. Toss prawns in remainder of marinade and leave in fridge for a hour.
6. Remove prawns from the marinade. I enjoy putting them on a skewer. If you are using bamboo skewers, soak in water for 5 minutes first.
7. Place used marinade in a saucepan and gently bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes and set aside ready at your bbq
8. Place prawns of hot bbq and cook about 2 minutes on each side, do not overcook! The flesh should be firm but not hard, the inside of the prawn should be opaque and not glassy.