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! With a 45-second video.

A simple Brazilian Fish Stew called Moqueca made with your choice of fish, simmered in coconut milk with onion, tomatoes, chilies and lime. Easy, fast and full of flavor! Serve this with rice! #Moqueca #fishstew #brazilianfishstew

(photos by Simply Suwanee!

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 this recipe for Moqueca. Serve it with rice or a simple green salad, or both.


How to make Moqueca! | 45-second video


A simple Brazilian Fish Stew called Moqueca made with your choice of fish, simmered in coconut milk with onion, tomatoes, chilies and lime. Easy, fast and full of flavor! Serve this with rice! #Moqueca #fishstew #brazilianfishstew

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)
  • Onion
  • Carrots
  • red bell pepper
  • garlic
  • chili peppers
  • tomato paste
  • spices
  •  fish or chicken stock
  • Tomatoes
  •  coconut milk ( liquid and solids)
  • Lime

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!

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.

  1. sea bass
  2. halibut
  3. black cod
  4. haddock
  5. escolar
  6. ono
  7. red snapper
  8. salmon
  9. scallops
  10. shrimp

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.

A simple Brazilian Fish Stew called Moqueca made with your choice of fish, simmered in coconut milk with onion, tomatoes, chilies and lime. Easy, fast and full of flavor! Serve this with rice! #Moqueca #fishstew #brazilianfishstew

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.

A simple Brazilian Fish Stew called Moqueca made with your choice of fish, simmered in coconut milk with onion, tomatoes, chilies and lime. Easy, fast and full of flavor! Serve this with rice! #Moqueca #fishstew #brazilianfishstew

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.

A simple Brazilian Fish Stew called Moqueca made with your choice of fish, simmered in coconut milk with onion, tomatoes, chilies and lime. Easy, fast and full of flavor! Serve this with rice! #Moqueca #fishstew #brazilianfishstew

Once done, the Moqueca will have thickened beautifully.

Sprinkle with fresh cilantro or Italian parsley and serve with a wedge of lime.

A simple Brazilian Fish Stew called Moqueca made with your choice of fish, simmered in coconut milk with onion, tomatoes, chilies and lime. Easy, fast and full of flavor! Serve this with rice! #Moqueca #fishstew #brazilianfishstew

We enjoyed this with a simple green salad, dressed with lemon, olive oil and salt and rice.

A simple Brazilian Fish Stew called Moqueca made with your choice of fish, simmered in coconut milk with onion, tomatoes, chilies and lime. Easy, fast and full of flavor! Serve this with rice! #Moqueca #fishstew #brazilianfishstew

Crusty bread makes a nice vehicle for left-over pan juices. Trust me, you won’t want to waste this! So much flavor!

A simple Brazilian Fish Stew called Moqueca made with your choice of fish, simmered in coconut milk with onion, tomatoes, chilies and lime. Easy, fast and full of flavor! Serve this with rice! #Moqueca #fishstew #brazilianfishstew

Please let me know what you think of this Moqueca Recipe in the comments below!

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Happy week friends!

xoxo

 

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A simple Brazilian Fish Stew called Moqueca made with your choice of fish, simmered in coconut milk with onion, tomatoes, chilies and lime. Easy, fast and full of flavor! Serve this with rice! #Moqueca #fishstew #brazilianfishstew

Brazilian Fish Stew – Moqueca

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Braise
  • Cuisine: South American

Description

Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca) with coconut milk, lime and jalapeño – a flavorful seafood stew that the whole family will love.


Ingredients

Scale

Fish:

  • 11 1/2  pounds firm white fish- Halibut, Black Cod, Sea Bass  ( thicker cuts are best)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • one lime- zest and juice

Stew/ Sauce:

  • 23 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
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro, scallions or Italian parsley
  • squeeze of lime

Serve over cilantro rice,  basmati rice, black rice or everyday quinoa.


Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the coconut milk and taste and add more salt if necessary.
  4. 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).
  5. Taste and adjust salt and squeeze with lime.
  6. To serve, serve over rice, sprinkle with cilantro or scallions and a squeeze of lime.
  7. Drizzle with a little olive oil if you like.

Notes

Serve with rice or crusty bread to mop up all the juices.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4 ounces
  • Calories:
  • Sugar:
  • Sodium:
  • Fat:
  • Saturated Fat:
  • Trans Fat:
  • Carbohydrates:
  • Fiber:
  • Protein:
  • Cholesterol:

Keywords: Brazilian Fish Stew, Moqueca, Moqueca Recipe, coconut fish stew,

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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Comments

  1. this is superb! i served it over cauliflower rice, topped it with diced green onions and cilantro; a wedge of crusty bread and a small salad. My husband and i felt like we were dining in a restaurant!

  2. So awesome! I made this with halibut and a few shrimp. It comes together so easily after prepping the ingredients. It’s a winner.

  3. Simply delicious. Great on a cold night. Served it with basmati rice and crispy warm garlic bread. It was hit!! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  4. The family does not like coconut milk. Have you tried this recipe with vegetable broth instead? Any suggestions for a coconut milk substitute in this recipe?

    1. Hi Izabela- the coconut milk is pretty crucial here… I might go with another recipe?

      1. Im from Brazil and in my state we dont use the coconut milk at all. Actually we just use onion, garlic, tomato, salt, olive oil, cilantro and your choice of fish and shrimp. In my opinion less is more, but I also like it with a lit bit of coconut milk

  5. HI I want to try this for a dinner party dish this weekend, what accompaniments do you suggest other than rice.

    Many thanks

    1. I would do a salad- maybe even something like the Mexican Slaw, and a veggie side dish?

      1. Thank you for your speedy reply, I will research Mexican slaw,
        Perhaps you have a recipe. I will keep you posted after Sat evening dinner party.
        Kind Regards

        1. I made this dish on Saturday evening for a dinner party, It was an absolute hit, I decided to add prawns to make it a bit more decadent, I’m sorry I forgot to photograph, It will be a firm favorite for sure.

    2. Make Sylvia’s Cauliflower rice!!! YUM!!!

      https://www.feastingathome.com/how-to-make-cauliflower-rice/

  6. This is such a great recipe, thank you Silvia! I found your blog through this recipe. This has been the perfect and like a life saver during the past years when inviting friends over has been scarce but precious. It has given us all the opportunity to do ‘food travel’, laughter and the fun ‘mise en place’ opportunity together with the friends and family. As a Finn I have used many types of fish. Salmon is my boring go to, but I think it demands an extra kick from more chilis or acids. What would you recommend for the fattier fish options?

    1. Thanks so much Paivansade! You may already know this, but I am half Finnish, my mom was from Finland. 😉 You can always bump up the heat with fattier fish!

  7. Was recently introduced to moqueca. Had some at a great seafood restaurant in Newport, OR – excellent. Have made it using three different recipes at home, so far. Like your the best! I did not have dende, used coconut oil. Used chicken stock this time, will try it with fish stock as soon as I make some. Do you have a recipe for that?

  8. I made this with halibut and it was fantastic! The coconut broth was delicious. The tomato and cumin really balanced the creaminess and didn’t overpower the fish. We forgot to cook rice so we ate it on its own- it was perfect!

  9. This was yet another fast, easy, and delish recipe. Made exactly as noted and ate with toasted t garlic bread because that was what was on hand.

  10. Just a lovely dish – used cod as it’s what we had and thoroughly enjoyed it . Thank you as this will now be a regular in our house!

  11. I really enjoyed this recipe. I used Hake as it was the catch of the day. It made white fish so much more interesting! The lime juice and cilantro balance the richness of the coconut milk nicely.

  12. I really enjoyed this recipe. I used Hake as it was the catch of the day. It made a white fish so much more interesting to eat.

  13. This recipe is one of our family favorites, we keep coming back. It has a wonderful flavourful base, I think I might try it with muscled next.

  14. This came out absolutely delicious. Im not a coconut milk person but in this might have started something.

  15. I made this for my husband, it’s just like the moqueca back in Brazil. In Salvador they do use the dende, it’s very traditional, but in other parts just use another oil because the dende has a very strong flavor not everyone likes. Your recipe is perfect. I only added more cod because it gets so good with this sauce. We were practically licking our bowls.

  16. Wow, just wow! This dish is in my husband’s top 10 at the moment. Could not find any of the fish listed at our regular grocer, but happened upon cobia. It was perfect for the dish. Served with black rice and the presentation was beautiful. Thanks again Sylvia!

  17. I made this with shrimp and it was outstanding. I didn’t stray from the recipe and we all loved it. It’s becoming a regular staple.