Moqueca(Brazilian fish and coconut milk stew)

4 to 6 servings


  • White-fleshed fish, cut into chunks — 1 1/2 pounds
  • Limes, juice only — 2
  • Salt — 1 teaspoon
  • Oil — 2 tablespoons
  • Onion, diced — 2
  • Bell peppers, diced — 2
  • Garlic, minced — 2 or 3 cloves
  • Chile (malagueta) peppers, minced — 1 to 3
  • Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced — 3 cups
  • Coconut milk — 2 cups
  • Dendê, or red palm oil (optional) — 2 tablespoons


  1. Toss the fish, lime juice and salt together in a large, non-reactive bowl and set aside to marinate for about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile heat the oil in a medium-sized pot over medium flame. Add the onions and peppers and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and chile peppers and sauté for another minute more.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer for about 5 more minutes to cook them down somewhat.
  4. Stir in the coconut milk and the fish with its marinade. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.
  5. Adjust seasoning, stir in dendê oil if using and serve in bowls alone or over rice.

Moqueca Variations

  • Moqueca de Camarão (Shrimp moqueca): Substitute shrimp for the fish. A very popular variation.
  • Use any type of seafood you like: crab, mussels, lobster.
  • For a lighter stew, substitute water or stock for 1 cup of the coconut milk.
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