Langostinos al Ají

Prawns with Squash and Picadillo

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 4


Appears in

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

By Patricia McCausland-Gallo

Published 2004

  • About

Originally a cocktail (hors d’oeuvre) recipe, this is lightened up and flavored with squash, one of the foods used by the native Indian tribes.


  • pounds prawns, shelled and deveined
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 6 tablespoons Greek yogurt


  • ¼ cup minced scallion
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  • ¼ cup minced, peeled, and seeded tomato
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 pinch minced habanero pepper or ají pepper, seeded, or hot sauce

Squash Sauce

  • 1 pound small squash pumpkin, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ½ cup vegetable or fish stock
  • ¼ teaspoon ají sauce or hot sauce


  1. PREPARE PICADILLO AHEAD OF TIME: In a nonre-active bowl, combine scallion, cilantro, tomato, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Add oil and hot pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve (this is best if made day before).
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. PREPARE THE SQUASH SAUCE: Place squash, onion, garlic, oil, salt, turmeric, and pepper in a bowl and toss. Transfer to a baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender. Remove from the oven, allow to cool a bit, and transfer to a blender. Add the stock and blend until smooth. Taste for salt and add more if necessary. Add ají or hot sauce (adjusting amount to taste).
  4. Sprinkle prawns with some salt and pepper. Add 1 teaspoon of oil to the pan and add prawns. Place over medium heat and cook prawns for 2 minutes per side. Remove pan from the heat and add the squash sauce and yogurt. Mix well, scraping up any bits from the pan. Serve hot with picadillo on the side.