A Brazilian Fish Stew Called Moqueca

Brazilian Moqueca

Brazilian Moqueca 2

Moqueca is a dish originating from the states of Bahia in the North- and Southeast of Brazil, one that has been cooked for more than three hundred years. This stew is traditionally cooked in a clay pan using ingredients like fresh saltwater white-fleshed fish, tomatoes, coconut milk and either olive or palm oil (depending on which part of Brazil one lives in and what dialect one speaks).

I happened to chance upon this dish when I was searching for a new recipe to try out that is both Brazilian and that uses coconut milk. Admittedly, I have never tasted the authentic flavours of this dish before, having never stepped into the boundaries of the American continent. Nevertheless, based on the result of my cooking, this dish taste really similar to the local curry fares, sort of like our curry fish head, though less spicy and creamier in comparison. Thereupon, I am sure a lot of Asians will love the natural flavours in this dish as well.


  • Olive oil: 3 tbsp
  • White onion: 2, finely chopped
  • Garlic: 3 cloves, finely chopped
  • Red chillies: 2, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes: 6, quartered
  • Fish stock: 2 cups (500ml)
  • Coconut milk: 1 cup (250ml)
  • White fish fillet (halibut): 1 kg, chunked
  • Lime juice: 1 lime, plus zest (plus extra for garnish)
  • Salt: 2 tsp
  • Ground blackpepper: 1 tsp
  • Coriander: 1 stalk, chopped


  1. Heat oil in pot. Stir-fry onions for 3 min till soft and translucent.
  2. Add garlic and chillies. Stir-fry for 3 min till fragrant.
  3. Add tomatoes. Stir-fry for 1 min.
  4. Add stock, coconut milk, fish, lime juice and zest, salt and blackpepper.
  5. Bring to a boil, then leave to simmer for 10 min.
  6. Turn heat off. Stir in coriander.
  7. Garnish with remaining coriander and lime wedges.
  8. Serve warm with rice.

Brazilian Moqueca 3


  • As I had a lot of salmon and threadfin bones in the freezer after my confinement, I used a couple of them to make the fish stock first before using it to cook this dish. Yummy! If you do not have fish stock, you can substitute it with vegetable or chicken stock as well.

4 – 5 persons

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