Moqueca is a traditional Brazilian seafood stew which has been a part of Brazil’s cuisine for around 3 centuries. It basically a mixture of fish, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and herbs such as cilantro where it is cooked slowly and without water included.
The dish originated in the Northeastern state of Brazil called Bahia then it was adopted by Espirito Santo later on. While both states have the same name dish they have a very different way of preparing it. In Espírito Santo they call the dish moqueca capixaba where seafood like fish, prawns, lobsters or crab is cooked in tomatoes, cilantro, chives and urucum oil they also use to cook this dish in a traditional clay pan which looks like a black round bottomed witches pan you seen in cartoon TV shows. In Bahia they call it moqueca baiana and it is cooked in coconut milk and a variety of palm oil called Azeite de dende.
This might sound really exotic but trust me making it will be easy, if you can make Zarzuela or Bouillabaisse then this will even be easier. The ingredients are easily replaceable if you can’t find any and it would taste nearly the same. So what I offer you on this guest post is not the traditional Bahian recipe but it is the nearest one that I can make based on what is available to me.
1 kg firm white fish fillets, cut in large chunks (I used monk fish)
1 red capsicum, chopped
3 pcs tomatoes, chopped
500ml coconut milk
1 handful chopped cilantro
juice from 2 lemons
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
freshly ground black pepper
azeite de dende (if unavailable you can use palm oil or olive oil)
1. Marinate fish pieces in a bowl with lemon juice, garlic, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2. In a large covered pan add azeite de dende then sauté onions, cook until it’s soft.
3. Add the capsicum, tomatoes, paprika, and cayenne. Cook while occasionally mixing for 5 minutes.
4. Flatten cooked vegetables, add half of the cilantro then arrange fish pieces on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5. Pour coconut milk over the fish then bring to a boil. Cover pan then simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then serve garnished with cilantro.