Bahian-Style Moqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew)

By • January 7, 2014 • 2 Comments

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Author Notes: Made with mostly easy-to-find ingredients, this unique combination of coconut milk, vegetables, and white fish turns into an exotic Brazilian stew. I adapted the recipe from Simply Recipes by substituting annatto oil for paprika for authenticity and using regular steamed rice for simplicity. (If you can't find the annatto seeds in the Latin section of your grocery store, just add 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika in with the red pepper flakes.) I've also started using adobo seasoning, also found in the Latin section, instead of salt when seasoning to taste because it adds a lot more depth of flavor to the dish.The Cooking of Joy

Serves 4

  • 2 pounds haddock or cod fillet, cut into large pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice from one large lime
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 cups plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 14 ounces can of coconut milk
  • Adobo seasoning, to taste (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon annatto seeds (found in Latin section or spice shops)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  1. Place the fish in a bowl and add the minced garlic and lime juice so that the pieces are well coated. Season generously with salt and pepper. Keep chilled while preparing the rest of the stew.
  2. Add the olive oil to a Dutch oven and heat on medium heat. Add the onion and cook a few minutes until softened. Add the yellow pepper and red pepper flakes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes longer, until the bell pepper begins to soften. Stir in the tomatoes and scallions. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, uncovered. Stir in most of the chopped cilantro, saving some for garnish.
  3. Make a well in the vegetables and add the fish pieces along with the garlic and lime juice. Season with more salt and pepper. Pour in the coconut milk. Bring stew to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Optional: While the stew is simmering, in a separate small saucepan, cook the annatto seeds in the canola oil over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the oil turns bright orange. Discard the seeds and add the annatto oil to the stew.
  5. Add adobo seasoning or salt and pepper to taste (you may need a lot). Garnish with the reserved cilantro and serve with the rice.
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5 months ago AniQuadros

I would like to make a comment, I am Brazilian and I have cook Moqueca all my life. I am sorry to say that one of the main ingredients for a Moqueca is the palm oil, without it it is not a Moqueca.Your recipe is amazingly close, you just need to use Palm oil and we do not use Annato seeds at all. Best wishes. Ani.

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5 months ago The Cooking of Joy

Thanks, Ani! I wish I could find palm oil where I live; maybe one day if I do I'll try to make it the authentic way.