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    Moqueca (Brazilian Seafood Stew)

    Now, this one is special… Moqueca is a marvelously tasty Brazilian seafood stew, with a decadent coconut milk base.

    When I whip up this dish, it’s all about the simple ingredients – tomatoes, peppers, and those trusty pantry staples. A splash of lime at the end brings it all together.

    And let me tell you, it’s perfect for a casual weeknight meal or when I have guests over. They always want to know the secret behind this flavorful dish!

    This Moqueca Baiana recipe is an wonderfully tasty Brazilian seafood stew that's easy to make, and is perfect for special occasions and company.

    South America is a continent full of amazing flavors, from the simple yet delicious Peruvian Roast Chicken with it’s green Aji Verde sauce, to complex dishes like Chile’s Pastel de Choclo casserole.

    Moqueca is in a category of its own. I’ve cooked it many times in the past. And yet it has taken all of these years to make its way to GypsyPlate.

    Why? Because it had to be just perfect!

    What is Moqueca?

    Moqueca, pronounced…

    is a seafood stew from the Brazilian states of Espírito Santo and Bahia, with both Portuguese and African influences. Both states claim it as their own, although there are variations.

    Moqueca Capixaba is cooked in Espírito Santo. It is the lighter of the two variations, and is typically cooked in special Capixaba pans, which are black clay stew pots.

    The variation I am sharing today is Moqueca Baiana, from Bahia. It has the addition of coconut milk, which makes the broth rich and creamy.

    Fish is the most common seafood used, though others can be added as well. I love mixing seafoods, so couldn’t help but add in shrimp and mussels.

    This Moqueca Baiana recipe is an wonderfully tasty Brazilian seafood stew that's easy to make, and is perfect for special occasions and company.

    Best Type of Fish for Stew

    For Moqueca, I always go for a sturdy white fish. Haddock is my choice today, but cod, halibut, mahi mahi, snapper, grouper, sea bass, or even tilapia are great options too.

    I go for thicker cuts, as they hold together better in the stew.

    This Moqueca Baiana recipe is an wonderfully tasty Brazilian seafood stew that's easy to make, and is perfect for special occasions and company.

    Ingredients Needed

    • Seafood – Today I am using haddock, shrimp and mussels.
    • Oil – Truly authentic moqueca baiana uses red palm oil. However, as it is controversial for both health and environmental reasons, I use olive oil.
    • Aromatics – Onion, ginger, garlic.
    • Veggies – Bell peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste.
    • Seasonings – Jalapeño, paprika, cumin.
    • Coconut milk – Full fat for best flavor.
    • Broth – Fish or shrimp broth are best for their added seafood flavors, but you can use chicken if that’s what you have available.
    • Garnishes – Lime juice, cilantro, scallions.

    Moqueca Baiana Recipe

    1. Marinate the fish and shrimp: I like to drizzle the fish and shrimp with the juice of one lime, then season them generously with salt and pepper.”

    2. Sauté veggies and aromatics: In my soup pot or braising dish, I heat oil over medium-high heat. Then, I add onion, bell peppers, garlic, ginger, jalapeño, and tomato paste, and sauté them for about 6-8 minutes.

    tomatoes added in

    3. Cook tomatoes: I toss in sliced tomatoes and cook for another 6-8 minutes, allowing them to break down slightly.

    the vegetables after cooking

    4. Finish the broth: I pour in the creamy coconut milk and broth, then sprinkle in paprika and cumin. Once it reaches a low boil, I lower the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

    broth of this brazilian stew

    5: Add seafood: Then I add in fish and shrimp. I gently spread them throughout the stew, and ladle the broth over, being careful not to stir and disturb the delicate fish.

    fish and shrimp added in

    Next, I nestle the mussels into the stew, then cover and simmer about 5 minutes, or until the fish and shrimp are cooked through and the mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that have not opened.

    This Moqueca Baiana recipe is an wonderfully tasty Brazilian seafood stew that's easy to make, and is perfect for special occasions and company.

    6: Serve: I ladle moqueca into bowls, and garnish with cilantro, scallions and squeeze on lime juice.

    Be sure to check out our collection of favorite Brazilian recipes!

    Tips

    • I always use good quality seafood from a reputable vendor.
    • I like to use full fat coconut milk. This is a decadent treat, not diet food.
    • I don’t stir after adding the fish, it can fall apart.
    • For a shortcut, sometimes I use frozen mussels. They aren’t as tender, but still taste great.
    This Moqueca Baiana recipe is an wonderfully tasty Brazilian seafood stew that's easy to make, and is perfect for special occasions and company.

    Serving Suggestions

    Moqueca is traditionally served with white rice, along with local dishes like farofa and pirão.

    If you want to go the rice way, our Cilantro Lime Rice is great with moqueca.

    I especially love having some crusty bread to sop up the sauce. Our easy No Knead Bread is a perfect accompaniment.

    As with any Latin dish, a side of Tostones, or fried plantains, is always welcome.

    Variations

    • Make it moqueca capixaba by omitting the coconut milk. It’s a lighter stew, but still delish.
    • Some days I try other seafoods like squid, octopus or crab. Or, keep it simple and just use fish.
    • Some variations exist to cater to dietary restrictions. Though not as traditional, some moquecas swap the seafood for chicken or eggs, or even veggies like heart of palm and mushrooms.
    This Moqueca Baiana recipe is an wonderfully tasty Brazilian seafood stew that's easy to make, and is perfect for special occasions and company.

    Try my amazingly delicious Moqueca Baiana recipe in your kitchen, and find out why it’s one of our favorite dishes on the planet. It just might become one of your go-to special occasion and company meals!

    Save or pin this great recipe, so you always know where to find it. And be sure to subscribe to GypsyPlate, we’re always sharing great recipes from around the world!

    Moqueca Baiana, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    bowl of moqueca atop the Gypsy Plate

    Try these other great seafood soups and stews:
    Asopao de Camarones
    Bahamian Boiled Fish
    Jambalaya Soup
    New England Clam Chowder
    Finnish Salmon Soup
    Laksa Noodle Soup
    Oyster Stew
    Yakamein

    featured image for moqueca recipe post

    Moqueca (Brazilian Seafood Stew)

    Yield: 4-6 servings
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Total Time: 40 minutes

    This Moqueca Baiana recipe is an wonderfully tasty Brazilian seafood stew that's easy to make, and is perfect for special occasions and company.

    Ingredients

    • 1lb white fish, cut into large chunks (see note 1)
    • 1lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 1 lime for marinating fish + more for serving
    • salt
    • pepper
    • 1.5 Tbsp cooking oil (see note 2)
    • 1 small onion, sliced
    • 2 bell peppers, sliced
    • 4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1 Tbsp ginger, finely chopped
    • 1 jalapeño, sliced
    • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
    • 4 medium tomatoes, sliced
    • 1 Tbsp paprika
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 13.5oz coconut milk
    • 1 cup fish, shrimp or chicken broth
    • 1lb mussels, scrubbed (see note 3)
    • cilantro, for garnish
    • scallion, for garnish
    • limes, for juicing

    Instructions

    1. While preparing the rest of the recipe, add the juice of one lime to the fish and shrimp, and season with salt and pepper.
    2. In a soup pot or braising dish, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion, bell peppers, garlic, ginger, jalapeño and tomato paste. Sauté 6-8 minutes,
    3. Add sliced tomatoes and cook an additional 6-8 minutes, until the tomatoes start to break down.
    4. Stir in coconut milk, broth, paprika and cumin. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
    5. Add in fish and shrimp. Gently spread them throughout the stew, and ladle the broth over. Do not stir, as the fish can break apart. Nestle the mussels into the stew. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes, or until the fish and shrimp are cooked through and the mussels have opened (discard any mussels that have not opened).
    6. Serve in bowls, and garnish with cilantro, scallions and squeeze on lime juice.

    Notes

      1. Good options are haddock (which we used today), cod, halibut, swordfish, mahi mahi, snapper, grouper, sea bass, or even tilapia.
      2. Truly authentic moqueca baiana uses red palm oil. However, as it is controversial for both health and environmental reasons, we are using olive oil.
      3. Sometimes we use frozen mussels for a shortcut. I that case, cook according to the directions on the package, then add in during the last minute or two before serving. The juices that the frozen mussels are packed with can be used to replace some or all of the broth.
      4. Leftovers: Moqueca is great as leftovers, as the flavors build over time. That being said, we prefer not to store leftover seafood for too long. Refrigerate it in an air tight container up to 3-4 days. Reheat in a pan on stovetop over medium heat.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 6 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 606Total Fat 29gSaturated Fat 15gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 284mgSodium 1247mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 3gSugar 5gProtein 67g

    Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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