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A simple Brazilian Fish Stew called Moqueca made with your choice of fish and simmered in coconut milk with onion, tomatoes, chilies and lime. Easy, fast and full of flavor! Serve this with rice! Video.
Looking for more? Check out 50+ Best Fish Recipes! and 50+ Easy Dinner Ideas!
This simple recipe for Brazilian Fish Stew is easy to make and takes about 35 minutes, perfect for busy weeknights! Brazilians call this dish Moqueca (pronounced “mo-KEY-ca”) and it can vary a bit from region to region.
This version hails from Salvador, a bustling city on the coast of Brazil, just north of Rio de Janeiro, that offers up delicious seafood prepared using African influences and techniques. This part of Brazil is known for pairing fish with spicy chilies, lime, and cooling coconut milk, a lovely combination.
What I love about this Brazillian Fish Stew is how simple it is, and how quick it is to make! Quick enough for weeknights and special enough for Sunday supper….either way, I think you will like this recipe for Moqueca. Serve it with rice or a simple green salad, or both!
We have several other popular fish stews on the blog all super delicious; Portuguese Fish Stew (Caldeirada), Sea Bass with Cannellini Bean Stew and Peruvian Seafood Stew with Cilantro Broth
How to make Moqueca! | 45-second video
What is Moqueca?
Moqueca is a Brazillian Fish stew with coconut milk, tomatoes and peppers. It’s traditionally served over rice with lime and cilantro.
Ingredients in Moqueca:
- White fish- Halibut, Black Cod, Sea Bass , Cod, escolar, etc. (thicker cuts are best)
- Dende – Brazillian Red Palm oil ( or coconut oil)
- red bell pepper
- chili peppers
- tomato paste
- fish or chicken stock
- coconut milk ( liquid and solids)
The best firm fish for soups or stews:
You generally want to use firm white fish for most stews and soups, because they will hold their shape and not disintegrate in the liquid. Here are 10 the best fish (and seafood) to use in soups and stews.
- sea bass
- black cod
- red snapper
Where to find the best fish!
If looking for a good source of wild-caught, sustainably-raised fish or seafood with no antibiotics, I highly recommend Seatopia! Use this link and the code FEASTINGATHOME for $25 off your first box. Yes, this is an affiliate link- we are partnered- but know I use them and highly recommend as far as quality and their sourcing.
How to make Moqueca
It starts with seasoning the fish. Use black cod, halibut, sea bass, black cod, escolar or any firm white fish ( or shrimp) you like.
Even shrimp or shellfish (clams or mussels) would work well here.
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and salt, and sauté 2-3 minutes.
Turn heat down to medium, add carrot, bell pepper, garlic and jalapeno pepper and cook 4-5 more minutes.
Add tomato paste, spices and stock.
Mix and bring to a simmer and add tomatoes.
Cover and simmer gently on medium-low for 5 minutes or until carrots are tender.
Add the coconut milk and taste and add more salt if necessary.
Nestle the fish in the flavorful coconut stew, pouring the remaining marinade over the fish and into the stew, and either continue cooking stovetop, spooning the flavorful liquid over the fish for about 3-5 minutes ( until the desired doneness) or for thicker cuts, place in a 350F oven, for 8-10 minutes.
Once done, the Moqueca will have thickened beautifully.
Sprinkle with fresh cilantro or Italian parsley and serve with a wedge of lime.
We enjoyed this with a simple green salad, dressed with lemon, olive oil and salt and rice.
Crusty bread makes a nice vehicle for left-over pan juices. Trust me, you won’t want to waste this! So much flavor!
Please let me know what you think of this Moqueca Recipe in the comments below!
You may also like:
- Balinese Fish and Potato Curry (Kari Ikan)
- Sinigang (Filipino Sour Soup)
- Sea Bass with Cannellini Bean Stew
- Portuguese Fish Stew (Caldeirada)
- Peruvian Seafood Stew with Cilantro Broth
- Simple Salmon Chowder
- Simple Authentic Cioppino Recipe
Happy week friends!
Brazilian Fish Stew – Moqueca
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Braise
- Cuisine: South American
Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca) with coconut milk, lime and jalapeño – a flavorful seafood stew that the whole family will love.
- 1 – 1 1/2 pounds firm white fish- Halibut, Black Cod, Sea Bass ( thicker cuts are best)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- one lime- zest and juice
- 2–3 tablespoons coconut or olive oil (or use Dende – Brazillian Red Palm oil for the best flavor!)
- 1 onion- finely diced ( red, white or yellow)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup carrot, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 4 garlic cloves- rough chopped
- 1/2 jalapeno, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin (or whole seed)
- 1 cup fish or chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups tomatoes, diced ( preferably fresh)
- 1 14 ounce can coconut milk ( liquid and solids)
- more salt to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, scallions or Italian parsley
- squeeze of lime
Serve over cilantro rice, basmati rice, black rice or everyday quinoa.
- Rinse and pat dry the fish and cut into 2 inch peices. Place in a bowl. Add salt, zest from half the lime and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Massage lightly to coat all pieces well. Set aside.
- In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and salt, and sauté 2-3 minutes. Turn heat down to medium, add carrot, bell pepper, garlic and jalapeno and cook 4-5 more minutes. Add tomato paste, spices and stock. Mix and bring to a simmer and add tomatoes. Cover and simmer gently on medium low for 5 mintues or until carrots are tender.
- Add the coconut milk and taste and add more salt if necessary.
- Nestle the fish in the stew and simmer gently until it’s cooked through, about 4-6 minutes. Spoon the flavorful coconut broth over the fish and cook until desired doneness or longer for thicker pieces. ( You can also finish this in a 350F oven).
- Taste and adjust salt and squeeze with lime.
- To serve, serve over rice, sprinkle with cilantro or scallions and a squeeze of lime.
- Drizzle with a little olive oil if you like.
Serve with rice or crusty bread to mop up all the juices.
- Serving Size: 4 ounces
- Saturated Fat:
- Trans Fat:
Keywords: Brazilian Fish Stew, Moqueca, Moqueca Recipe, coconut fish stew,
Coconut milk makes me violently ill, can I use regular milk or some other milk instead?
I would use something thicker, like heavy cream- and maybe not as much. 🙂
… forgot to rate! But this is definitely a 5-star recipe!
Thanks so much!
Very tasty in deed and quick to make! Loved it! I always come to your site, when I need some dinner inspiration and this one hit the spot (once again 🙂 ). Thank you for your great recipes. They always deliver.
Thanks so much!
Double up this recipe.. you’ll want extra! What a tasty and fairly quick dinner that comes together without much hassle (the best kind, am I right?!)… Although the list isn’t long, my husband says this is one of the best things I make 😉 Love it!!
Thanks Brenda! So glad you enjoyed it!
So delicious. I left out the jalepeno, added a few spoonfuls of cooked green lentils, a little finely chopped spinach, & prawns (with halibut). Put cilantro in the pot at the very end. Added some garlic croutons. Yum!
Glad you enjoyed it!
Absolutely delicious!!! Whole family loved it!!!
Great to hear!
Can this be made without tomato paste or chopped tomatoes?
I haven’t tried- but my guess is yes. You may need to adjust acidity a bit. 🙂
I didn’t have high hopes but I was wrong, it was super tasty and would probably be even better after a night in the fridge! I added some prawns and a whole chilli for extra heat, yum.
Great to hear Marcy!
This is awesome. It pairs perfectly with the cilantro lime rice. We made it with a little bit of halibut, prawns, scallops, clams (in the shell), and dungeness crab, and added a splash of clam juice. It’s absolutely amazing. And no leftovers…. Thanks for a killer recipe. Kindest Regards,
Thanks Tom, so happy you liked it!
Amazing perfect spices
Made this quick, one pot meal for my husband before I went out with my girlfriends. He initially asked me to bring some take out home, but as soon as he ate this meal he said it was his favorite! We used tilapia and smoke paprika because that we had on hand. Great, easy recipe. Thank you!
Oh perfect and glad he liked it!
Thiis recipe sounds wonderful and, judging by the comments, it is. I want to make it but am not sure which type of paprika to use – hot, smoked or just ‘plain’ paprika. Could you please help me. Thanks.
I would use plain. 😉
I’ve made this before and thinking about having it for a “non-traditional” Thanksgiving and serving over mashed potatoes for the traditional touch. What do you think?
It sounds good to me! Why not?