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  • Adriano dos Santos

Moqueca – Brazilian Fish Stew

Brazilian moqueca, a fish stew made with firm white fish, onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, and coconut milk.

It seems like every culture with a coastline has their version of a seafood stew. The French have bouillabaise, the Portuguese bacalhoada, New England chowder and San Francisco cioppino. In Brazil, they make moqueca (pronounced “mo-KEH-kah”), a stew made with fish, onions, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, and in the northern state of Bahia, coconut milk.

In our case here in Europe, we’ll want to use a firm white fish. I used cod for this batch, which is barely firm enough. Halibut would hold up better. I like mixing with some sea food like shrimp or other shell fish to this stew. Palm oil is traditionally used in making moqueca, but it’s hard to come by here. You can find in special asian supermarkets here in the Netherlands.


  • 500gr of fillets of firm white fish such as halibut, swordfish, or cod, rinsed in cold water, pin bones removed, cut into large portions

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 limes

  • 1 small red pepper

  • 1 cup chopped spring onion, or 1 medium yellow onion, chopped or sliced

  • 3 tbsp of Palm oil or Extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 large bunch of cilantro, chopped with some set aside for garnish

  • 1/4 cup green onion greens, chopped

  • 1 green and 1 red bell pepper, seeded, de-stemmed, chopped (or sliced)

  • 3 chopped (or sliced) tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon paprika (Hungarian sweet)

  • Pinch red pepper flakes

  • 250ml fish stock

  • 400ml coconut milk

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Marinade the fish (15-30min) in the juice of 1 lime with salt and pepper.

  2. Use a porcelain coated carbon steel pan like from Le Creuset.

  3. Heat the chosen oil and fry the onions and garlic.

  4. Add the fish and sea food on top of the cooked garlic and onions and let it all cook for another 10minutes.

  5. Add the rest of the vegetables, including the red pepper flakes and the fish stock.

  6. Now you can add the coconut milk and squeeze the juice of the other lime in.

  7. Let it cook all for at least 30min in low temperature. I like letting it cook for at least 3-4 hours in a very low temperature.

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