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a skillet of Moqueca with lime wedges
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5 from 9 votes

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
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories725 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


  • Season both the fish fillets and the shrimp with 2 tsp salt,  pepper to taste,  and cumin.   
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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. Amazon.com). 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!! 


Calories: 725kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 50g | Saturated Fat: 41g | Cholesterol: 342mg | Sodium: 2814mg | Potassium: 1224mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1705IU | Vitamin C: 146.2mg | Calcium: 221mg | Iron: 6.8mg
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