Portuguese Seafood Rice

Recipes by Nelson Carvalheiro
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Portuguese Seafood Rice Recipe 

Nothing boasts more Portugal, more Sea, more Mediterranean flavours than a steaming “just off the stove” pot of Portuguese Seafood Rice.

It is my all time favourite dish of the Portuguese Culinary selection, and one which I regularly cook for friends as a way to show them what Portugal is all about. For me this Portuguese Seafood Rice Recipe is all about using seafood that actually tastes like the sea, and the absolute base of every Portuguese stew; organic onions, garlic, chillies, peppers and bayleaf.

This is what I love more about Portuguese cuisine, it is simple, yet not plain. It unpretentious and humble enough to bring family and friends together for a celebration of food. With a handful of accessible ingredients, one can achieve tremendous depth of flavour without having to spend endless hours in the kitchen, or spending a fortune on exotic ingredients. Last time I cooked a Portuguese recipe, a sweet wonder from the Alentejo and Southern Portugal called Sericaia with Sugarplum syrup, I went for a very old recipe from the Bible of Portuguese Cuisine ” Cozinha Tradicional de Portuguesa” by Maria Lourdes Modesto, our very own “Julia Child”.


This recipe requires 2 preparations at the same time, one for the rice and one for the seafood, so you need to work quickly. 

For the Rice:

Heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large flat pot and sauté the onion and the peppers. Let the pepper cook and when you see the onion become translucent add half of the garlic and the parsley stock.

As soon as you start smelling the garlic, add the tomato, the piri piri and the chopped chillies. (if you like it that extra hot, add the half of the chilli seeds. I always do!

Simmer for 5 minutes and then add the rice. Stir for a minute to let the rice soak up all the flavours of the tomato. Add half of the wine and let it fizzle and evaporate.

For the Seafood:

Rinse the clams and mussels, and leave to drain in a colander. Discard any mussels which are open and do not close when you tap them.Devein and remove the heads of the prawns, but leave the shells on the bodies.

Heat the remaining olive oil in another large flat pot. Add the remaining garlic, and when you can smell the garlic, add half of the chillies and the bayleaf. Sauté for about a minute and add the lobster and the prawns. Make sure your pot in big enough so they are not to crammed.

Simmer for a couple of minutes and add clams, mussels and the rest of the white wine. Season with salt and pepper and cover on high heat for 5 minutes.

Final preparation

As soon as the wine has evaporated from the rice, add the whole content of the seafood pot into the rice pot. Add the vegetable stock and the fish stock, letting the seafood and the rice simmer for 15 minutes.

Don’t stir too much as you will release the too much of the starch on the rice. When the rice is just a bit under al-dente, remove from the heat and add the butter and chopped parsley leaves.

Give it a stir and serve the Portuguese Seafood Rice immediately!


  • 300 gr of fresh small clams in shells
  • 300 gr of fresh small mussels in shells
  • 500 gr of raw prawns in shells
  • 1 lobster halved
  • 6 crab legs
  • 125 ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 small shallots chopped
  • 2 peppers (red and green) chopped
  • 2 chillies (red and green) chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 bunch of parsley (separate the stock from the leaves and chop each one into separate bowls)
  • 300ml of tomato passata
  • 1/2 teaspoon of piri piri
  • 400 gr longrain Rice parboiled
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 500 ml of hot vegetable stock
  • 25o ml of hot fish stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon of butter

Final Result

12 Mar, 2016
about 6 years ago

over 6 years ago

about 7 years ago

about 7 years ago

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