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Brazilian Fish Stew - Moqueca de Peixe


Moqueca de Peixe
Luca Nebuloni/Flickr
Brazilians enjoy many versions of moquecas, or stews, from different regions of the country. This excellent version of fish stew is typical of Bahia, and is prepared with coconut milk and palm oil. Serve it with rice, farofa de dendê, and fried plantains. Palm oil (dende oil) adds a special authentic flavor to this dish. You can find palm oil at Brazilian markets and online.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


  • 1 1/2 pounds grouper, snapper, mahi mahi, salmon, or monkfish
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 green pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • 4-5 green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon chile pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons palm oil


  1. Cut the fish into bite size pieces and place in a ziplock bag. Add the lime juice, salt, ground pepper, and minced garlic. Marinate fish for 1 to 4 hours in the refrigerator.

  2. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan. Layer 1/2 of the peppers, tomatoes, and onions over the bottom of the pan.

  3. Cover the vegetables with the fish and the marinade.

  4. Layer the rest of the peppers, onions and tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with the chopped green onions and half of the chopped cilantro.

  5. Whisk the paprika and chile pepper into the coconut milk, and pour mixture over the vegetables and fish.

  6. Drizzle the vegetables with the palm oil.

  7. Bring mixture to a boil, and simmer gently, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove cover and simmer for 25 minutes more, or until vegetables are well-cooked and tender.

  8. Sprinkle the rest of the chopped cilantro over the hot stew. Serve with rice, toasted manioc meal (farofa de dende) and fried plantians.

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