Moqueca (mo-ke-ka) is a traditional Brazilian seafood stew. Brazilians have been making Moquecas for 300 years. It basically consists of fish, onions, garlic, tomatoes, fresh coriander, chilli pepper (pimenta malagueta) and additional ingredients. It is cooked slowly, with no water added.
Its two variants are Moqueca Capixaba from Espírito Santo state in the Southeast, and Moqueca Baiana from Bahia state in the Northeast. It is common for people from these states to claim that their moqueca is the “only true” moqueca.
Choosing Fish For Your Moqueca
The name Moqueca refers to the sauce, so you can have a Moqueca with any number of different types of seafood. The main thing you want to keep in mind when you are choosing your fish is that it should be firm so that it doesn’t fall apart in the simmering broth. Haddock, cod, grouper, striped bass, red snapper, mahi mahi, and swordfish are all great choices. Shellfish is also often mixed into the stew. Shrimp, prawns, lobster, crab meat, mussels, etc are great choices.
If you are going to make moqueca, you must not forget three basic things: A clay cooking pot, fresh ingredients and palm oil.
Seafood Moqueca Baiana
- 4 cutlets Blue eye cod <em> (or any firm fish with similar texture</em>)
- 300 g prawns (head removed)
- 300 g calamari (cut in rings)
- 2 cups fish stock
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 red capsicum (bell pepper) (sliced in rings)
- 1 yellow capsicum (bell pepper) (sliced in rings)
- 1 green capsicum (bell pepper) (sliced in rings)
- 3 to matoes (sliced in rings)
- 2 small onions (sliced in rings)
- 1 small onion (roughly chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 red chilli (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons palm oil
- chopped parsley for garnishing
- freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- Place the fish cutlets into a bowl. Season it with lime juice, salt, ground pepper, and garlic. Reserve it for 20 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, season prawns and calamari with salt and pepper.
- Heat the palm oil in the clay-pot and fry the chopped onion until golden brown. Remove the pot from heat.
- Layer half of the raw onions, capsicums, tomatoes in the clay-pot.
- Add all the marinated fish pieces over the layered vegetables and drizzle it with any leftover marinade.
- Sprinkle it with half of the parsley and red chillies.
- Layer the rest of the onions, capsicums and tomatoes on top of the fish cutlets. Sprinkle it with the rest of parsley and red chillies.
- Pour coconut milk and fish stock into the clay-pot.
- Bring mixture to a boil, simmer it gently covered for 15 minutes.
- Remove lid.
- Add the calamari rings and prawns. Stir it gently and simmer it for another 15 minutes or until vegetables are well-cooked.
- Serve with rice.