Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca)

Some people dream of chocolate and cake; I dream of fresh caught fish, still salty wet from the ocean. Visions of azure blue seas with houses set into steep hillsides is my idea of paradise. Anywhere in the Mediterranean would do, although I think the Balearic Islands and Menorca in particular is my ideal.

All fantasies aside, I love discovering new ways of cooking fish and this Brazilian Fish Stew was very intriguing. Bell peppers, lime juice, coconut milk, and of course cilantro make a beautiful combination, transforming “bland” fish (as too many people tell me fish is) into a party in your mouth.

Look at The Perfect Pantry’s version for the authentic recipe; I was short on tomatoes and out of the annatto seeds (but highly recommend having them on hand for that truly authentic flavor in tacos). But the stew was still super delicious despite the missing ingredients!

Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca) 
from The Perfect Pantry

3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon  salt
1 1/2 lbs white fish steaks (I used halibut)
2 tablespoons  olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1/2 red or orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
8-10 drops of hot sauce (to taste)
2 tablespoons scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
1 14-oz can coconut milk
black pepper

Combine minced garlic, lime juice and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut the fish into large chunks, add to the mixing bowl, and rub the fish with the garlic/lime/salt mixture. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the remaining ingredients. In a large, dutch oven (nonreactive or enamel-coated cast iron), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onions and bell peppers for 2-3 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes and hot sauce, and cook for 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and beginning to give up their juice. Place the fish in a single layer on top of the mixture in the pan. Sprinkle on the scallions and cilantro, then pour on coconut milk.Reduce heat to low. Cover the pan and cook, shaking the pot gently from time to time to make sure the fish isn’t sticking, and carefully stirring the liquids around the fish, for 20 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed with more salt, black pepper, lime juice or hot sauce. Serve hot, with steamed rice or other grain (I used barley) and hot pepper sauce.

Recipes currently inspiring me:

Feijoada, Brazilian Black Bean Stew at Simply Recipes
Curried Potato and Cauliflower Stew at ECurry
Peanut Butter Blondies with White Chocolate Chunks at Tinned Tomatoes

This entry was posted in Fish, Quick, Soup, South American, Spicy, Vegetables. Bookmark the permalink.

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