Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Moqueca: Brazilian Fish Stew - Grow Your Own # 6

Moqueca is a traditional Brazilian seafood stew that consists basically of layers of onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, pepper and fish steaks cooked and served in a black clay pot and a side of rice.

There are many types of moqueca depending on the meat used, but two stand out: one from Bahia state and another one from Espirito Santo state. What differentiates one recipe from another is the use of two ingredients: coconut milk and palm oil that are added only to the Bahian style.

On our first vacation together after we got married, some 13 years ago, we drove a thousand miles to Porto Seguro, a place that claims to be where the history of Brazil started. As we were on vacation and time did not count, we would stop for a couple of days here and there to enjoy the beaches along the coastline. Over there, they eat a lot of fish and we were able to try the two types of moqueca, that were always brought steaming hot to our table.

This is my contribution to Andrea's recipes and her Grow Your Own event. I used cilantro from my indoor garden.

Moqueca baiana (Bahian fish stew)

2 lbs. (1 kg) fish filets, cut into large portions, about 2 inches (5 cm)
juice of one lime
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 pound (500 g) shrimp, peeled and deveined (optional)

2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 large tomatoes, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 bunch cilantro
7 oz (200 ml) coconut milk
2 tablespoons palm oil (azeite de dende)
1 teaspoon salt

1) Marinate the fish filets and the shrimp with salt, pepper, paprika and lime juice for at least one hour.

2) In a large sauté pan or dutch oven, sauté garlic in oil. Turn off the heat at this point and using half of the vegetables start making layers of onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and peppers. Cover the layers with the fish, the marinade and cilantro.

3) Cover the fish making other layers with the shrimp, the remaining onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and cilantro. Add the palm oil, the coconut milk and sprinkle the salt. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer over low heat for 30 to 60 minutes or until fish and vegetables are cooked. Serve with rice.

Serves 4 to 6.

More moqueca recipes with pictures can be found here:
- Simply Recipes
- Epicurious


Patricia Scarpin said...

Cris, I like moqueca and haven't had any in ages! Your food looks delicious.

Laurie Constantino said...

Oh my G-d, Cris, this looks so good!! I definitely have to make it, thank you so much for giving us the recipe!!

Thistlemoon said...

That sounds really yummy Cris! I love how pretty all the colors are together.

Andrea said...

Wow, this looks so good and colorful! Are the black clay pots you mentioned anything like the Chamba black pottery from Colombia? I love those pots. Your stew looks fantastic, thanks for sharing it with us for Grow Your Own!

Peter M said...

Hi Cris, I just saw your blog mention at Jenn's site and I here getting an eyeful of this and your other dishes...wonderful, inviting dishes!

Julie said...

That sounds and looks so rich, hearty and flavorful.

Anonymous said...

I just made this dish today and it was off the hook delicious... muito obrigado para recipe.

Cris said...

Hi Anonymous... so glad you like it!

Tangled Noodle said...

I saw your comment on Fake Food Free about having this recipe so I had to check it out. It looks wonderful - I'm putting it in my recipe file right now!

Alex said...

I made this for dinner earlier tonight, and my overall (non-Brazilian) impression was that it was a little too bland. The Moqueca de peixe on the menu at Café Brasil in Santa Cruz, CA is my favorite of any that I've tried, and it's a lot creamier and flavorful than this recipe. I altered it after it finished cooking by adding more coconut milk, lime, and dendê, and it gave it the fuller taste I was looking for.

After that, everyone fell in love with it, and I'll definitely be making it again in the future. Thanks for the recipe!

Za said...

Thanks Cris for leaving a comment on my blog and the link to this recipe. It looks so good and the preparation method is interesting!

Cardie said...

i am going to make your classic fish stew for a Black Orpheus film party i am having this week. nice to find your blog.