Caruru is an Angolan dish made with shrimp, okra and other ingredients. It can be eaten as a main dish or accompanied by Funje (a Cassava Flour Porridge) or rice .
This dish is of African origin, however it is more recognized as a Brazilian Portuguese dish which is believed to have been exported out of Africa by the slaves who were taken to work on the sugar plantations in Brazil.
Angolan cuisine is varied and tasteful with a lot of dishes based on beans, maize, seafood and vegetables, the Portuguese influence on this cuisine is evident in the use of spices and varied cooking methods.
So if you like to try new things like I do, whip up your cooking tools and let’s get to work!
Other Name: Nil
Cooking Time: 40 mins
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds small okra pods, topped, tailed, and cut into small pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons ground dried shrimp
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons dende oil (Brazilian palm oil*)
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
3/4 cup water
1 bunch cilantro, leaves only, finely chopped
Dash of tabasco
Cooked white rice, for serving
12 cooked jumbo shrimp, for garnish
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into fine julienne for garnish
Whole sprigs of cilantro, for garnish
Wedges of lemon, for serving
Cooking Methods: In a medium heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the okra and toss constantly until seared and golden about 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the ground dried shrimp with the fresh shrimp and peanuts. Pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until the mixture forms a chunky paste.
In a large, heavy skillet heat the Dende oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chile flakes and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden.
Add the shrimp paste, 1/2-teaspoon salt, and 1/4-teaspoon pepper and stir to mix. Pour in the water and bring to a simmer.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer the Caruru gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
The mixture will be quite thick. Stir in the reserved okra, cilantro and tabasco and cook for 2 minutes more, until the okra is heated through.
Serve over white rice, garnished with the cooked jumbo shrimp, red pepper julienne, cilantro sprigs and lemon wedges.
(You can substitute with West African palm oil mixed with vegetable oil. As the former will be too heavy for cooking this stew).