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Moqueca, the best Brazilian flavours

August 9, 2018

One major perk to travelling is coming home with new ideas and inspiration for the kitchen. But don’t worry! We’ve got plenty of recipes to keep you inspired between holidays South America.  What are we cooking this week? Moqueca! (pronounced mo-keh-hah). This is a Brazilian fish stew made with various kinds of seafood, coconut milk (a bit of African influence), tomatoes, onions and capsicum. So good!!

It seems like every culture with a coastline has their version of a seafood stew. And this version from Brazil’s northeastern Bahia State is a winner!  Firstly, because it is ridiculously easy! And secondly, because all the ingredients are readily available! So, no excuses, why not give moqueca a try today?

  • 1 kg firm, skinless white fish fillets (such as rockling or snapper) cut into 3 cm cubes
  • 2 limes- juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • A green capsicum, halved, thinly sliced
  • A red capsicum, halved, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 pickled malagueta chillis (see Note), finely chopped, or substitute other chillis or  1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 cups fish stock or water
  • 400 g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp palm oil (see Note)
  • Coriander leaves and steamed rice (optional), to serve

First, place fish in a large non-reactive shallow dish and toss well with the juice of 1 lime and 1 tsp salt. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion for 3 minutes or until softened. Next, add capsicums, garlic and malagueta peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 5 minutes or until capsicum has softened. Then, stir in fish stock, tomatoes, coconut milk and dendê palm oil. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes or until reduced by one-quarter.

Add fish and marinade and cook for a further 10 minutes or until fish is just cooked. Next, stir in remaining juice of 1 lime and season with salt. Finally, scatter with coriander leaves and serve with steamed rice, if desired.


Malagueta peppers are very hot chillies, available in jars from Latin food shops and selected delis. Substitute normal chilli or ground chilli flakes.

Palm oil is available from South American and African food shops. It is used for its distinctive flavour, bright orange colour and ability to be heated to high temperatures.

How did you go? Did your first taste of moqueca transport you to Bahia? Or are you craving the real thing? Well, why not give us a call and we can take you there!