Deep-fried prawn pastries

Deep-fried prawn pastries

Pastel de camarão

This is Brazil
Stuart Scott

Pastels are served everywhere in Brazil – on the beach, at markets or during house parties. They come with all kinds of fillings: prawn, beef, ham and cheese, plain cheese, cheese and banana. This recipe is for prawn pastels, but you can fill them with whatever you like. Make them small for canapés or slightly larger to serve with a salad for lunch or dinner.


Quantity Ingredient
750g raw prawns
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3-4 bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 onion, diced
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
250ml tomato passata
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
oil, for deep frying
lime wedges, to serve


Quantity Ingredient
1/4 yellow capsicum, finely chopped
1/4 green capsicum, finely chopped
1/4 red capsicum, finely chopped
1/4 onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch salt

Garlic paste

Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil


Quantity Ingredient
1kg plain flour, plus extra, for rolling
1 tablespoon sea salt
250ml canola oil
2 tablespoons cachaca, (see glossary)


  1. To make the vinaigrette, combine the capsicums, onion, tomato, vinegar, oil and salt in a bowl. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Peel and devein the prawns, then combine them with the garlic and 1 teaspoon of the chilli. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
  3. To make the garlic paste, use a mortar and pestle to blend the garlic, parsley and oil until a smooth paste is formed.
  4. To make the dough, put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the salt, oil, cachaça and 500 ml warm water, and mix until combined. Firmly knead the dough for 5–10 minutes, or until the dough has an elastic texture. Rest the dough for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and cook the onion over a medium heat for 4 minutes, or until it begins to caramelise. Add the garlic paste and remaining chilli. Cook, stirring, for 1–2 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and sauté for a few minutes to allow the flavours to combine. Stir in the marinated prawns and the passata. Cook for 2–3 minutes, or until the prawns are almost cooked through. Stir in the coriander, tomato sauce and vinaigrette, and season with salt.
  6. Divide the dough into 30 equal portions, then roll each portion into a 12 cm round, sprinkling the dough with flour as you roll to prevent sticking.
  7. Spoon a small portion of the filling into the middle of each dough circle. Use the back of a fork to fold over the dough, creating a half-moon shape, and lightly flatten. Crimp the edges of the dough together.
  8. Heat 2.5 cm of oil in a deep, heavy-based frying pan or saucepan to 180°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown in 15 seconds. Cook the pastries in batches for 4 minutes per batch, or until they are golden brown. Remove the pastries using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Serve the pastries with lime wedges.


  • The cachaça creates bubbles in the dough when it’s fried, giving it a crunchy texture. You can use vodka or white vinegar instead of cachaça. The filling can also be stirred through pasta for a simple meal.
This is Brazil
Fernanda de Paula
Shelley Hepworth
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