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close up of Brazilian moqueca in a pot
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5 from 9 votes

Moqueca (Authentic Brazilian Seafood Stew Recipe)

Moqueca is a bright orange and mildly spicy Brazilian seafood stew recipe made with fish, shrimp, and veggies cooked in a creamy sauce. One of the best dishes you’ll ever taste!
Course:Main Course
Keywords:fish, moqueca, quick, shrimp
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories528 kcal
Cost $ 2.50 per person


  • pot
  • blender


  • 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)
  • 1 cup coconut cream (or a thick coconut milk)
  • 1/4 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


  • To make this moqueca recipe, season both the fish fillets and the shrimp with 2 tsp salt, pepper to taste, and cumin.
  • Heat a large pot, cast iron skillet, or a no-stick pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of oil and cook the chopped onion and bell peppers for about 3 minutes. Then, cook the garlic and chopped tomatoes for about 2 minutes.
  • Transfer cooked veggies to a blender and add coconut milk, fish stock or broth, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Blend until smooth. Set aside!
  • Using the same pan, add 1 more tbsp 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 chili red peppers. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook for about 2 minutes. Toss shrimp and the reserved slices of bell peppers and tomatoes and let cook over medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes.
    Brazilian seafood stew in a bowl
  • Remove from the heat, stir in the lime juice and then the fresh cilantro. Serve warm with white rice and farofa. Enjoy!

Recipe Video

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. It will not taste the same but it will give a bright orange color to the dish.  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. If cooking it in the Instant Pot, make sure to add the shrimp at the end and use the sauté function instead of cooking it under pressure.
  4. ★ Did you make this recipe? Please, give it a star rating below!! 


Calories: 528kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 342mg | Sodium: 2754mg | Potassium: 1040mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1689IU | Vitamin C: 145mg | Calcium: 221mg | Iron: 5mg
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