Brazilian cuisine: How to make Moqueca

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Brazilian fish stew

Brazilian cuisine: How to make Moqueca
(Getty Thinkstock)

It seems like every culture with a coastline has their version of a seafood stew. The French have bouillabaise, the Portuguese bacalhoada, New England “chowdah” and San Francisco cioppino. In Brazil, they make moqueca (pronounced “mo-KEH-kah”), a stew made with fish, onions, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, and in the northern state of Bahia, coconut milk.

— Elise Bauer

One of Brazil’s most famous stew bowls, this wonderful recipe contains a firm salt-water fish, bathed in coconut milk and served with coriander and palm oil. Cold winter nights will no longer be the same once you master this bright, tangy and flavourful dish.

Brazilian Fish Stew

In a nonreactive bowl add garlic, lime juice and pieces of fish fillets. Mix around well so that the fish is completely covered in the marinade. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil and keep in the refrigerator to chill.

Coat the bottom of a large saucepan (with a cover) in olive oil and heat on high until smoking hot. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent. Next, add the peppers, paprika, red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes uncovered. Stir in the green onions and cilantro. Simmer on low heat and cover for about 5 minutes. Add the fish to the saucepan. Make sure to completely submerge the fish underneath the tomato-vegetable mixture. Cook for about five minutes covered. Stir in coconut milk and palm oil and bring the soup to a simmer. Cook the soup on low heat, now uncovered, for at least 10 more minutes. Taste to adjust the seasoning. Garnish with green onions, cilantro and serve with rice or crusty country bread.

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