Apr.07.10 § Leave a comment

Traditional Brazilian fish stew

I was browsing on when I found this one. It just immediately sounded delicious to me. It was, and not only to me but everyone I shared it with. I served mine with cilantro lime quinoa, recipe to follow, rather than the usual rice.

Ever since I saw Woman on Top I wanted to make some sensual Brazilian recipe. Maybe it’s just my crush on Penelope Cruz talking, or my general love for anything exotic. I have a curious obsession to anything Brazilian, and that’s not limited to models whose last names sound like “butt-chin” or waxes. My father went to a British boarding school in Brazil. The first time I tasted Cachaça I knew I was just wired to enjoy the cuisine, but Daddy warns Cachaça burns more coming up than it did going down…

Anyway! I can’t really put into words how good the Moqueca was — I know, that’s what I’m supposed to be here for, right? It was kind of like a bisque with the coconut milk, which, by the way, turned me onto the idea of using coconut milk in any bisque I attempt to make in the future.

I had never really cooked fish before. But it was incredibly easy and delicious and, on top of all my exceeded expectations, my house didn’t even reek of fish for days following, which was my biggest fear. Darrell, however, seemed to find the kitchen a particularly appealing place while the Moqueca sat in the fridge, and every time I heated it up for lunch.

It wasn’t that spicy though. Maybe it’s not supposed to be. I’d add cayenne or more red pepper flakes next time. I like a good kick. Otherwise, it was really perfect. And much to my pleasure, based on my latest health obsession, gluten free! We’ll talk about that later. For now, enjoy this perfect sensual Brazilian recipe for the warming weather!


2 T olive oil (actually, palm oil if you can find it)

2 lbs halibut or other white fish (I used cod)

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 T lemon juice

1 onion, diced

1/4 cup green onion, sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped

2 cups chopped tomatoes, or 1 can diced

1 tablespoon paprika

pinch red pepper flakes

1 can coconut milk

cilantro for serving


1 cup quinoa

1 cup water

juice of 1 lime

1/2 onion, diced small

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, packed

salt, pepper


Marinate fish in lemon juice, salt and pepper, chilled, for about 30 minutes.

Put all the quinoa ingredients except cilantro into a small sauce pan on high heat until boiling. Once it reaches a boil, cover and turn off heat. Let sit for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork, add cilantro and set aside.

Heat a large skillet on medium. Add the onion and peppers. Sautee for about 7 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, green onion. Toss with seasonings (red pepper and paprika). Cook for about a minute more. Remove from heat.

Heat a medium soup pot on medium. Layer about half the vegetables in the bottom of the pot. Place fish on top of the vegetables, pour marinade in on top. Add the rest of the vegetables, tomatoes and coconut milk. Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes – until fish is just cooked and flaky. Don’t overcook the fish. Serve stew over quinoa. Wasn’t that quick, easy and just wait until you taste it – delicious!


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