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Episode 302: Hot Stuff

Piri Piri Prawns with Fire Butter

The piri piri chili is native to Brazil, and it was brought to South Africa by Portuguese explorers in the 16th century. In this recipe, prawns are marinated with piri piri sauce and cooked on the grill.


Piri Piri Prawns with Fire Butter

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer, 4 as a main course
  • Equipment: hardwood chunks for adding to the fire (optional); wire grilling grid


  • 2 pounds spot prawns or shrimp, preferably U-10s or larger, head-on, shell-on

For the seasoning mixture:

  • 2 tablespoons pimentón or sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion or garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons prepared piri piri sauce (such as Nando’s), Sriracha, or other hot sauce

For the Fire Butter:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 jalapeno peppers, green or red, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup piri piri sauce (such as Nando’s), Sriracha, or hot sauce of choice

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Using a sharp knife, slit the backs of the shells and remove the dark vein from the body with the tip of the knife or the tine of a fork. (Do not peel, however. Unless you want to.) Place the prawns in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the pimenton, salt, pepper, onion powder and celery seed and stir to coat well. Stir in the olive oil and piri piri sauce. Let marinate in the refrigerator while you light the grill.

Step 2: Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. Place the grilling grid on top of the grate to keep the prawns from falling through the bars of the grate. (Alternatively, you can skewer the shrimp on metal or bamboo skewers.)

Step 3: Make the Fire Butter. Heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the jalapeno slices and cilantro and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Stir in the piri piri sauce and bring to a boil.

Step 4: Brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the prawns on the grill. Grill until sizzling and browned on both sides and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Baste with a little of the Fire Butter.

Step 5: Transfer the shrimp to a platter or plates. Pour the hot Fire Butter on top. Dust with the remaining cilantro.

Recipe Tips

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