Moqueca Brazilian fish stew recipe

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This is a very old, unbastardised recipe. Some might call it Brazil’s version of a curry, similar to a Thai coconut milk-based curry, but it is so much more delicate and subtle in flavour. I would say it’s more like a fish stew. This simple recipe requires few ingredients and lacks anything similar to a curry paste, so do make sure all your ingredients are very fresh. A lager goes great with this one.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • 14 oz (400 g) firm, fresh white fish fillets cut into large chunks
  • 12 large raw prawns (shrimp)peeled an deveined tails intact
  • 2 fl oz/¼ cup (60 ml) lime juice
  • 2 fl oz/¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • 1 onion cut into thin wedges
  • 6 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 large red chilli thinly sliced
  • 1 small green capsicum (pepper) thinly sliced
  • 14 fl oz (400 ml) coconut milk
  • 2 ripe tomatoes chopped
  • handful coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
  • small handful Thai basil leaves
  • steamed white rice to serve
How to Make It
  1. Put the fish, prawns and lime juice in a bowl with some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Use your hands to toss the seafood to coat with the juice.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add the onion and stir-fry for 4–5 minutes, or until softened and just starting to turn golden.
  3. Add the garlic, chilli and capsicum and stir-fry for 3–4 minutes, or until the onion and capsicum are tender.
  4. Stir in the coconut milk and tomatoes and bring to the boil for 8–10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and turned from pale to a pinkish-red colour.
  5. Tip the seafood mixture into the sauce and gently stir so all the fish and prawns are immersed in the sauce. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, then cover and cook for 5–6 minutes, or until the fish is tender; the fish will take slightly longer to cook through than the prawns.
  6. Stir in the coriander and basil. Season to taste and serve with steamed rice.

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