Growing up in Brasil, there was a dish called Camarao na Moranga, which my Mom always made and it was very common mostly in the northeast of Brasil. This shrimp stew was thickened with a local cheese and served inside a huge pumpkin from where everyone would serve themselves from, the whole thick cheese, shrimp and pumpkin mix never really appealed to me.
So i decided on changing the dish a bit, i used thai flavors and white fish to thicken instead of cheese, and served in personal pie pumpkins, so each person had their own little piece of heaven. As you scoop out the stew from the roasted pumpkin, it thickens even more with the added softened pumpkin. So good!!! I did serve it with a small side of jasmine rice, but it wasn't necessary!
Ingredients for 6
6 small pie pumpkins
olive oil + salt + pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic
3 peppers, i used 1 yellow, 1 orange and 1 red
1 quart whole peeled tomatoes, slightly crushed
3-4 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon lemongrass, i used jared, but if fresh is available go for it, maybe 1/2 stalk chopped
1 cup clam juice
6 tilapia fillets
2 lbs small shrimp
2 lbs 16-20 extra jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
bunch cilantro, chopped
chives for garnish
Preheat oven to 350F.
Cut a slice of the top of each pumpkin and clean off all the seeds. Rub olive oil, salt and pepper inside each pumpkin. Place them in large roasting pan. Roast in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the inside of the pumpkins are soft.
I prefer my peppers without the skin, but if you don't, skip this step. Place peppers on top of your stove burner or on a grill, or under the boiler. let the skin burn on all sides. Place inside a paper bag immediately and close bag tight so the steam can work its magic. Remove from bag after 5 minutes and the skin should peel right off, it's ok if there are a few pieces left. Remove seeds and slice into thin slices.
In a large pan, heat olive oil. Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes under medium heat, add garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add peppers and cook stirring frequently for another 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, stock, lemongrass and clam juice. Stir well. Add fish, and both shrimp. Cook for 5 minutes. Add coconut milk and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and tabasco if desired. Add cilantro and serve inside cooked pumpkins. Garnish with chives and more cilantro.
When eating the stew, scoop out pumpkin with it.