Prawns in Coconut Sauce (Kamba wa nazi) (Tested)

Serves     4-6


This recipe for “Kamba” or prawns comes from Miriam Kinunda, author of the “Taste of Tanzania” blog. She also has a video that accompanies the recipe if you’d like to see how she makes the dish firsthand. Just click on the link at the end of the recipe. Miriam is also adamant that you don’t use coconut milk from a can, she’d rather you try to make your own.


1 pound prawns/shrimp, peeled and deveined (15-20 size large, or 21-25 size medium)

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 cup diced onions

1 tbsp. chopped garlic

1 tbsp. chopped ginger

½ tsp. black pepper

½ tsp. turmeric

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1 cup diced bell peppers (red, yellow, green, or combination)

1 to 1 ½ cups diced fresh tomatoes

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 cup coconut milk (or see recipe)

fresh herbs of your choice for garnish, cilantro, basil, or parsley


Heat oil in a large fry pan, add onions, and fry at medium heat until translucent or light brown. Add garlic and ginger, continue to cook for another minute.

Add black pepper and turmeric, stir for half a minute; add tomato paste and stir for one minute.

Toss in bell peppers and cook for about a minute, add tomatoes and salt. Cover the pan and continue to cook until the tomatoes are dissolved and the peppers have softened, about 10 more minutes.

Remove the lid from the pan and pour in the coconut milk, bring to a simmer. Add prawns, in a single layer if your pan allows that, and simmer for 3 minutes; turn prawns over and continue to simmer about 2 more minutes. The prawns will be pink and you shouldn’t see any grey coloration in the middle. Add more coconut milk or water if you need to increase the amount of sauce.

Garnish with herbs of our choice and serve with Ugali, Tanzanian Rice, or your favorite vegetables.


Notes and Instructions

Recipe contribution from Linda McElroy, adapted from:

Photo credit: Lummmy from, via Creative Commons Attribution No Derivs 2.0 Generic.