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Recipe: Lime pepper prawns with coconut cajun bisque

By August 29, 2020No Comments

Nico Reynolds is the brains (and tastebuds?) behind Lil Portie, a Caribbean pop-up restaurant loved for its fresh, innovative dishes. Here, he gives us his recipe for a delicious-sounding prawn dish…


Lime Pepper Prawns with a Coconut Cajun bisque

Coming from Dublin being surrounded by fresh seafood was something that I took for granted. As the old expression goes “……….until it’s gone”. Living in Buenos Aires the same affection for seafood was not granted like it was to beef. It was there where I started playing around with Cajun flavours after working with a chef from New Orleans.

The history of the region fascinated me and I love to see the parallels from provinces all over the world. I started doing this recipe with white fish but the combination of the toasted lime and prawns is an unmissable delight. I loved the idea of mixing the Cajun flavours with a Caribbean accent. I started doing this recipe over two years ago as a starter in my pop-up restaurant.

It soon became really popular and found a home on the menu. I’ve always been a big fan of using roasted flavours with fresher ingredients – hopefully you will feel the same way!

Serves 4

Cook time 60 mins


24 Large Prawns, 6 big ones each
3 tomatoes
1 red pepper
2 onion
3 garlic cloves
2 celery sticks – diced
1 green pepper – deseeded & diced
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of oregano
1 tablespoon of freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
Handful of chopped parsley leaves
Tin of coconut milk
3 limes – zest and juice separated
100 grams of desiccated coconut


  • De-shell and de-vein the prawns leaving the head attached and set aside (The shells have so much flavour in them that it’s a shame to waste them!)
  • Sauté the shells in some oil or butter for 5-8 mins until they have gone pink. I like to throw in the onion skins , the garlic peels, the leafy celery part, the parsley stalks and a bay leaf. It’s a great way to use everything twice.
  • Add enough water to cover and simmer for 30/40 mins
  • In a pre-heated oven (around 200 degrees celsius), roast the red pepper, tomatoes, garlic and onion with the black pepper and salt to taste.
  • Roast until soft around 30 mins
  • In a pot on the burner, sweat the celery and green pepper for 6-8 mins on a medium to high heat.
  • Add the roasted vegetables and combine with the rest of the spices stirring to incorporate fully
  • Strain the prawn stock and pour the liquid into the vegetables
  • Blend the mixture with together
  • Then add the coconut milk and simmer allow it all to thicken
  • Throw in the parsley before serving.

For the prawns

  • Toast the lime zest and the coconut in a pan for 5 mins – Its important to keep the pan moving so the coconut doesn’t burn
  • Remove the mixture from the pan and spread over a plate.
  • Sear the prawns over a high heat – If you have skewers it’s a great way of keeping the prawns together
  • When the prawns of are cooked squeeze the lime juice over so the coconut coating sticks
  • Cover the prawns in the coconut
  • I like to serve this in a bowl with a simple fresh salsa on top and some crusty bread on the side.

Images by Nico Reynolds