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 recipe was absolutely amazing! Highly recommended. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    Here are a additions that I made.

    – 1 t chicken bouillon powder
    – 1 t red pepper flakes
    – 1 t garlic powder

  2. Hey! I’m a brazilian woman and we dont make moqueca like this, we dont use carrots, only onions tomatos (fresh, not paste)pepper fish coconut milk (and azeite de dendê of course) and fresh coriander on top

  3. Absolutely dfectper elicious! Made it once, and can’t wait to make it again. So easy and quick but also sooo tasty. Thank you so much for sharing. Just one question – in your list of fish best for this recipe I didn’t see Monkfish. Is this no good? I thought it’s meaty fish that should be perfect for this recipe. What are your thoughts? Thanks again.

    1. Glad you enjoyed this kate! Yes, monk fish would work great here. I can’t find it where I live so often forget about it.

      1. Thank you so much Sylvia, and what a timely reply – I am actually cooking the stew right now and have some beautiful monkfish – your the confirmation was just what I needed. Thank you very much again!

  4. Fabulous! Tasty! I usually play with the ingredients a bit….more of this, less of that. Personal preference. I served it with cilantro/lime rice to soak up all the sauce.

  5. Hi I want to make this but don’t have any ground cumin only seeds. What can I substitute or can I leave it out?

  6. So simple and so tasty! I omitted coconut milk and used a bit of heavy whipping cream instead because my family are not fans of coconut milk. Otherwise follow the recipe as written. Everyone loved it and asked that it stay on regular rotation.

  7. Made this tonight with fresh halibut and it was crazy good. Such a versatile base soup that would be great with any seafood, all veggie with beans and greens, or even chicken. This is going to become a household staple!

    1. This was outstanding! Would not change anything. Housemate is recovering from covid and I’m newly ill and feeling very sorry for myself. Absolutely glorious flavours, just the right amount of heat and tang and flavour packed enough to tempt my palate. Housemate made it with Rig and added green beans and spinach for extra vegetables. Served it with coconut rice leftover from yesterday’s satay.

        1. Thank you. Still feeling very sorry for myself but a couple of days in bed has me feeling almost human.

          1. I hear you Niki, it is so hard to be sick. Glad your feeling better!

  8. This was fantastic! My husband and I are both still raving about it. Thank you for sharing, we will definitely be making this again.

  9. I made this recipe three times for family and friends and they loved it. I would add is a bit of sugar to balance the acid and salt of the tomatoes and spices at step 3! I used a little chili powder to add some kick to it!

  10. Delicious! It almost seemed too simple to taste so good but we loved it. Used shrimp and haddock.

  11. This was amazing – I made it with prawns instead of fish and used light coconut milk. I ended up only using half a can because it had enough coconut flavour for me at that level. Probably helped by using coconut oil at the start too. Really wonderful flavour – will certainly be making it again – my husband loved it. Thanks for sharing this.

  12. This is the kind of dish you make to impress your friends! It’s so rich and flavorful, full of veggies and imparts a zest for life while eating it! 😁🤘🏼Looking forward to making it with seasonal veggies as they become available at farmer’s markets 🤤 Love your work, Sylvia! 🤝🏼

  13. So easy and tasty, using staples I already had in the house. Marinating the fish in lime first gave it a special flavor. My husband asked me to put this recipe on regular rotation.

  14. I am a decent home cook but this was not nice….I had to drain sauce off and it generally didn’t taste good. First time in 12 years hubby said he didn’t want to eat my food.

    1. Shoot Fiona- I’m sorry to hear that. It’s a pretty basic ingredient list, the only thing I can think of is…could it be your fish was “off”?