Moqueca (Bahian-Style Seafood Stew)

Moqueca is a bright yellow-orange and spicy Brazilian seafood stew made with fish, shrimp, and veggies cooked in coconut milk. One of the best dishes you'll ever taste!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Brazilian
Keyword moqueca
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 725 kcal


  • 1 pound tilapia fillets thawed and pat dry
  • 1 pound extra large shrimp deveined, shell and tail-off
  • 3 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion large and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper medium, de-seeded and sliced (reserve a couple of slices)
  • 1 green bell pepper medium, de-seeded and sliced (reserve a couple of slices)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper medium, de-seeded and sliced (reserve a couple of slices)
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 large tomatoes sliced (reserve a couple of slices)
  • 2 cups coconut cream (or a thick coconut milk)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or fish broth
  • 1 tbsp red palm oil
  • 1 tsp malagueta pepper (or Thai clili peper or a few drops of hot sauce)
  • 1 1/2 lime juiced
  • 2 tbsp cilantro or parsley chopped


  1. Season both the fish fillets and the shrimp with 2 tsp salt,  pepper to taste,  and cumin.   

  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet or a no-stick saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil and sauté the onion and bell pepper for about 3 minutes. Then, sauté the garlic and tomatoes for about 2 minutes.

  3. Transfer cooked veggies to a blender and add coconut milk, broth, and 1 tsp salt. Blend until smooth. Set aside! Using the same pan, add 1 more tablespoon of oil if needed, and cook fish fillets for about 2-3 minutes.

  4. Flip fish. Pour blended mixture over the fish fillets and stir in palm oil and the malagueta pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook for about 2 minutes. 

  5. Add the shrimp and the reserved slices of bell peppers and tomatoes and let cook over medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lime juice and then the cilantro. Serve warm with white rice and farofa. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  1. SUBSTITUTIONS: Both red palm oil and malagueta pepper are available at Latin supermarkets and also online (e.g. But, they can be easily replaced. Instead of palm oil, use a mixture of olive oil with annatto or achiote (in the Latin or spice aisle of most supermarkets), or turmeric.   Replace malagueta pepper with Thai chili or a few drops of hot sauce.  Give preference to white flesh fish such as tilapia, cod, bass, grouper, haddock, catfish, or snapper -- which are affordable, mildly flavored, and cook quickly. 
  2. STORAGE: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up 2-3 days. Although freezing is possible, I would avoid it because seafood may develop some off flavors, and coconut gravy might become thin and brake apart.
  3. ★ Did you make this recipe? Please, give it a star rating below!! 
Nutrition Facts
Moqueca (Bahian-Style Seafood Stew)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 725 Calories from Fat 450
% Daily Value*
Fat 50g77%
Saturated Fat 41g205%
Cholesterol 342mg114%
Sodium 2814mg117%
Potassium 1224mg35%
Carbohydrates 22g7%
Fiber 6g24%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 52g104%
Vitamin A 1705IU34%
Vitamin C 146.2mg177%
Calcium 221mg22%
Iron 6.8mg38%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.