This Authentic Moqueca (or Brazilian Fish Stew) is made perfectly savory and comforting with firm fish, creamy coconut, tomatoes, lime and spiced peri peri seasoning. If you love this, you will also love this Seafood Paella, Seafood Gumbo and Cajun Clam Chowder.
Thank you Chef Mireille for sharing this wonderful recipe.
I’m Chef Mireille and a big thank you to Grandbaby Cakes for giving me the pleasure of hosting her site today. A born and bred New Yorker, I’m lucky to not only live in one of the most diverse cities in the world, but I also come from one of the most diverse families on the planet. Both my city and my mixed heriitage influence my cooking, therefore I specialize in exploring traditional recipes of every culture.
Are you ready to come with me to Brazil today?
What Is Moqueca?
Brazilian Fish Stew (or Brazilian Seafood Stew) is one of the most popular dishes of Brazilian cuisine, but are they all the same?
In a word – NO
Moqueca has many regional variations. The required ingredients are seafood and tomatoes, but some versions are made with olive oil instead of dende oil and some versions do not include coconut milk.
This version, Moqueca Baiana originates from the Bahia state of Brazil, which is the heart of the African descended population in Brazil. Traditionally, many of the people of this region were fisherman. Therefore, whatever was caught that day that they couldn’t sell turned into Moqueca Baiana.
This Brazilian Fish Stew is so versatile as it can be made with any variety of fish and/or seafood.
I have been making Moqueca Baiana for years and this simple recipe is always a big hit and here’s all the tricks to make a delicious Moqueca!
How To Make Moqueca Baiana
These are the ingredients needed to make this Brazilian Fish Stew:
- Red Palm Oil, also known as dende oil, is the most common cooking oil in the Bahia region of Brazil – a note to the African origins. You can substitute with any other cooking oil like vegetable oil, sunflower oil or grapeseed oil, however, you won’t get such richness of color.
- Fish – Use any firm, white fleshed fish like cod, sea bass, haddock or basa.
- Seafood – Any variety of shellfish can be utilized. You can either include it in the shell or out.
- Coconut Milk – Use canned coconut milk only or fresh, but do not use carton coconut milk. Carton coconut milk has less body.
- Piri Piri Seasoning – Although this will definitely add more flavor, you can also use just 2 teaspoons of paprika and 1 teaspoon of cumin if you cannot source piri piri. However, you can make the piri piri seasoning yourself.
- Tomatoes – You can use fresh tomatoes, canned diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes.
What is Moqueca served with?
You can serve Moqueca with one or a variety of these accompaniments and garnishes:
- Boiled yuca
- Toasted farofa (cassava meal)
- Steamed Rice
- Avocado Slices
- Lime Wedges
- Malagueta peppers (African bird’s eye chillies)
What is farofa?
Farofa is a common side dish to most Brazilian meals, including this Brazilian Seafood Stew. It is a dried coarse meal made from yuca/cassava/manioc. The most simple preparation is made by toasting it in a skillet with a little palm oil.
However, do not confuse it with American brands of cassava flour or cassava starch. This is a different product that is processed into a finer grain.
It is best to purchase a Brazilian brand like Yoki or Julia’s (both available on Amazon).
Moqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew)
- 1 lb white fish chopped - see note below
- 1/2 lb mussel meat see note below
- 1 1/2 limes divided/ you will be using the juice from the limes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp red palm oil see note below
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- 4 plum tomatoes chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 13.5 oz coconut milk can
- 2 tsp piri piri seasoning see note below for replacement
- 2 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
- Season fish and mussels with juice of 1 lime, salt and pepper and marinate for 30 minutes.
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add onion, garlic and bell pepper. Saute for a few minutes, until softened.
- Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and quite mushy.
- Add coconut milk and piri piri seasoning. Bring to a boil.
- Add fish and mussels. Simmer for 5-8 minutes, until fish is cooked through.
- Add cilantro and stir to combine. Adjust salt as needed and finish with the juice of ½ lime.
- Serve with lime wedges and yuca, rice or farofa (cassava meal).