Simple to make with everyday ingredients, this is such a different exotic way to serve up fish!!
When I think of Brazilian food, I immediately have visions of grilled meat. Specifically, Churrasco. Serious quantities of grilled meat on giant skewers with the waiters walking from table to table, slicing the meat straight from the skewer onto my plate.
Carnivore heaven. 🙂
Because of the strong association of Brazilian food with Churrasco (and also because I don’t have a giant grill with a rotisserie) I thought sharing this traditional Brazilian fish stew would be something a bit different!
This stew really is quite unique. The base of the broth is coconut milk, and I tend to associate coconut with very strong, spicy flavours, like Caribbean, Thai, Malaysian and Indian food.
This is not like that at all. I’d go as far to say that this is actually quite refreshing rather than rich and heavy. In addition to coconut milk, the broth has in it canned tomatoes, lime juice, paprika and cumin powder. The paprika and cumin flavour is subtle, and to me, the standout is the lime flavor which cuts through the richness of the coconut milk.
It’s very simple to make, with few ingredients. That too is a nice change from most coconut based recipes which often have many ingredients to make a rich curry sauce.
What do you think? Caught your eye? 😉
– Nagi x
- 1 lb / 500g firm white fish fillet , no skin, cut into 1"/2.5cm cubes (Note 1)
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 small onion , finely diced (brown, yellow or white)
- 1 large red bell pepper / capsicum , halved and sliced
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar (any)
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 14 oz / 400ml coconut milk (I used low fat)
- 14 oz / 400ml canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup fish broth (or chicken broth or water)
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh cilantro / coriander
Combine the fish, lime juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Heat the 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the fish and cook until just cooked through and light golden brown. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
Reduce the stove to medium high and heat 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil in the same skillet. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 1 1/2 minutes or until the onion is starting to become translucent.
Add the bell peppers and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the remaining Broth ingredients. Bring to simmer, then turn down to medium. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until it thickens. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Return the fish to the broth to reheat - about 2 minutes.
Stir through lime juice.
Garnish with cilantro/coriander and serve with rice.
1. This is best made with firm white fish fillets because they hold their shape better. Firm white fish fillets include: Ling, Blue-eye Trevalla, Coral Trout, Emperors and Mahi Mahi, Halibut, Sword fish, Cod, Bass and Catfish.
However, I have made this with gem fish (like tilapia) and it works great, you just need to be slightly more careful when searing the cubes of fish so they don't fall apart. Use an egg flip to turn them carefully!
2. As with every traditional dish in this world, there are many variations of Brazilian Fish Stew! My recipe is a mish mash of various recipes that stays true to the traditional recipe but slightly tweaked to work for my palette. The main difference is that I like sauce so mine is saucier than most! The recipes I referenced include:
a) Feast Magazine - Fish soup (moqueca baiana)
b) Brazilian Foodie - Moqueca Baiana
c) Saveur - Brazilian Fish Stew
d) Simply Recipes - Moqueca - Brazilian Fish Stew
3. Update: A suggestion from a reader (from Brazil!) is to use coconut oil instead of olive oil. She said that this is a closer substitute to palm oil. She also suggested stirring in 1 or 2 tbsp of coconut oil at the end for extra flavour!
4. Nutrition per serving assuming 3 servings.