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Shrimp Bobó (Bobó de Camarão)

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Shrimp Bobó is a Brazilian traditional recipe from the state of Bahia. Yuca, coconut milk and red palm oil give this delicious stew its rich color and flavor. Everything about this dish might sound exotic for most people, but Bobó is one of the most beloved dishes from Bahia, along with Moqueca, Acarajé and Vatapá (sorry about the crazy names). Everytime I throw a dinner party where I want to show off some of the best authentic flavors from my country, I include this recipe in the menu. Fairly simple to make, it is perfect over a bed of jasmine rice (some like it with Farofa on the side). This dish will awaken your palate and transpor you to Bahia, Brazil. Be ready for a party of flavors in your month!

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Serves 6

Ingredients:

• 1 ½ pounds large shrimp, cleaned and deveined, shells and heads saved
• Juice of 1 lime
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 pound yuca, peeled and cut into 4 sections (crosswise)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 medium chili pepper, seeded and minced
• 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
• 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
• 2 medium onion, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 3 large tomatoes, seeded, peeled and chopped (see Cook's Notes)
• ¼ cup red palm oil (dendê oil)
• ¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk
• ¼ cup cilantro, chopped

Directions:

Place cleaned shrimp in a large sealable container and season with lime juice, salt and pepper. Refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.

Add shrimp shells and heads to a large sauce pan and covered with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Discard shells and heads.

Return shrimp broth to sauce pan and add yuca pieces. Bring to a light boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, until yuca is soft, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from heat and allow cooling. Remove the steam from the center of yuca pieces. Transfer yuca and simmering liquid to a blender, or food processor, and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Add olive oil to a large skillet over high heat until shimmering. Cook shrimp on both sides until it turns pink and starts to curl, 2 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add chili pepper, green pepper, red pepper and onions to same skillet, over moderate heat. Cook stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, an additional minute.

Add tomatoes and cook until incorporated, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add blended yuca to skillet and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp, red palm oil and coconut milk and simmer for an additional minute. Remove from heat and fold in cilantro. Serve immediately over a bed of jasmine rice.

Cook’s Notes:

To easily remove the skin of tomatoes, place them into a pot with boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and transfer immediately to a bowl of iced water. As soon as tomatoes are chilled, transfer to a cutting board and remove top and peel off skin.

Red Palm Oil (dendê oil) can be found at international markets, Latin and African grocery stores.

Not a fan of shrimp? Check out my Chicken Bobó recipe.

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It was a pleasure to have the delightful Melissa Long, and her lovely mom, Mary Ann, for an authentic Brazilian lunch. Thank you so much, ladies! It was so nice to have you over to enjoy my Shrimp Bobó!

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