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Arroz de Tamboril (Monkfish Rice)

Arroz de Tamboril or Monkfish Rice is a typical meal in coastal towns throughout Portugal. For an authentic experience, serve the rice malandro style, meaning wet. The monkfish in this dish can be substituted for any white fish that is fresh at your local supermarket.

This recipe is shared by home chef, Luis, whose hometown is the beach vila of #FozDoArelho. Luis is involved in the San Diego Portuguese community and plays the tenor saxophone in the Filarmónica União Portuguesa San Diego. Fishing for percebes (goose barnacles) along the San Diego coastline in his free time, he loves to go the extra mile for fresh seafood. Bom aproveito!

Level: Advanced

Serves: 5 - 6

Prep & Cook Time: 1 - 1.5 hours


  • 1 ½ cups rice

  • 1 lb. large prawns or shrimp with the heads on

  • If you don't want to make shrimp stock, you can buy shrimp with heads already removed

  • 1 lb. sea scallops (If they're large, you can cut them in half)

  • 1 lb. monkfish cut into cubes (substitute accordingly, Chilean sea bass also works well)

  • 4 cups shrimp stock (can substitute with fish stock)

  • 1 ½ cups vinho verde

  • 1 shot brandy (optional)

  • 1 shot dry vermouth (optional)

  • ½ cup tomato sauce

  • 1 tbsp. sea salt (if making your own shrimp stock)

  • Approx. ½ cup olive oil

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 2 tbsp chili pepper paste (can substitute with hot sauce or piri piri)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Pinch of saffron (optional, but adds great flavor)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 10 sprigs of Italian parsley (4 sprigs chopped)

  • 10 sprigs of cilantro (4 sprigs chopped)

  • 2 medium to large tomatoes sliced in half

  • 1 medium to large onion finely chopped

  • ½ clove of garlic, minced


Cooking Arroz de Tamboril
*Chef's kiss* - a plated dish of arroz de tamboril

1. Peel and remove heads from shrimp. If making shrimp stock, set aside 1 cup of shrimp heads and shells. [To make stock, put the shrimp heads and shells in a pot, add 5 cups of water, and 1 tbsp. sea salt. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let sit for a least 20 minutes. Strain 4 cups when ready to use.] Take the 1 cup of shrimp heads and shells from the stock and place into a cheese cloth pouch.

2. Create 2 more cheese cloth pouches. In each one, place 1 bay leaf, 1 tomato, 3 sprigs of Italian parsley and 3 sprigs of cilantro.

3. In a different pot, slightly cover the bottom with ½ cup olive oil. Bring to medium heat and add onion. After approximately 2 minutes, add butter.

4. When the onion starts to get translucent, add garlic, chili pepper paste, ½ cup vinho verde and tomato sauce.

5. When the onion is fully translucent, add shrimp stock, 1 cup vinho verde, and cheese cloth pouches.

6. Cook for approximately 5 minutes.

7. Then add rice, saffron, and salt and pepper to taste. Add brandy and vermouth (optional).

8. Add the seafood (fish, scallops, and shrimp) after the rice has cooked for 10 - 15 minutes and remove the cheese cloth pouches. The seafood will take approximately 5 minutes to cook. This is the tricky part, you want to have the rice slightly al dente, but you don’t want to overcook the seafood and fish. I normally add the fish and scallops first, and then the shrimp just before the rice is where you want it.

9. Once the rice is al dente (or completely cooked if you prefer) and the fish/scallops are no longer translucent and shrimp no longer pink, remove from heat. Arroz de tamboril is best served in a deep plate or a bowl.

10. Ladle one or two scoops of rice and seafood into the dish. Garnish with remaining chopped parsley and cilantro.

Set the table and enjoy your Arroz de Tamboril with family and friends!

Tags: #seafood


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