Prawn Cocktail, Mocambo-Style!

You can’t visit Mocambo in Calcutta and not try the Prawn Cocktail. 

Calcutta (not Kolkata!) = Mocambo.

Even if it’s been a fleeting visit, our pilgrimage to Mocambo is a must. In all the years that I’ve visited Mocambo, I cannot recall a single visit where we didn’t order the Prawn Cocktail.

Served in the icy cold steel cocktail glass, this is one dish that cannot be missed.

I’m sharing the recipe for this historic menu item that is actually pretty easy to make at home. Thanks to for making it available.

Total cooking time:  20 minutes
Serves: 2


10 pieces Prawns (shelled, deveined, beheaded)
1 slice Onion
Half Lemon
1 piece Bay leaf
1 sprig Parsley
5 tbsp Mayonnaise
3 tbsp Ketchup
2 tsp Horseradish (optional)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
5 drops Tabasco sauce
1 tbsp Heavy cream
1 pinch Paprika (optional)
2 pinches Salt
1 pinch Pepper
1 tsp Whiskey or brandy (optional)

Tools and Kitchen Equipment:

  • Scissors (to clean and devein the prawns)
  • Saucepan with lid
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Cocktail glasses for serving


  1. Before you begin, place a clean, empty plate in the freezer to chill.
  2. Start by cleaning and deveining the prawns. You don’t need the heads for this dish, so remove them. You may keep the tails for presentation, but you can also get rid of them if you like.
  3. In a saucepan, add a slice of onion, three slices of lemon, a bay leaf, a sprig of parsley, and ½ tsp of salt. Fill the pot with 4cm-deep water, cover, and set it to boil. Let everything bubble for 5 minutes. This will form a court bouillon, which is an aromatic poaching liquid.
  4. Add the prawns to this liquid and poach them for no more than 2 minutes. Cooking the prawns for longer than this time will make them chewy. Transfer immediately to the plate we chilled earlier and put it back in the refrigerator to cool.
  5. It’s time now to make the Marie Rose sauce. In a whisking bowl, add the mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish, worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce, cream, salt, pepper, paprika, juice of half a lemon, and whiskey. Mix them together till they are well combined.
  6. Add the poached and chilled prawns to the cocktail sauce and fold them in.
  7. Serve chilled, in cocktail glasses, over ice, if possible.

Part of the great Mocambo experience are their tottering old servers. I’ve grown up seeing them serving loyal customers with the same zeal and enthusiasm as though it was their first day on the job. While many (probashis) will tell you that Mocambo is not the same anymore, go try it for yourself. I, for one, don’t think it’s changed at all.

Other must eat dishes while you’re at Mocambo 

Where is Mocambo: 25, Park St, Taltala, Kolkata, West Bengal 700016

Telephone: 033 2265 4300

Timings: 11am – 11pm

For more detailed reviews, menu and photos of the food, check them out on Zomato.




Photo credits: Rashbehari Das

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