Bahian Seafood Stew (Moqueca de Peixe Baiana)

Moqueca is traditionally cooked in a clay pot, and served with white rice, fried plantains, and farofa toasted in bright orange dendê (palm) oil.

Serves: 6Hands-on: 30 minutesTotal: 1 hour 40 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 6


  • 1 1⁄2 lbs. fish fillets (sea bass, grouper, snapper, or mahi mahi)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 3 Tbsp. dendê (palm) oil
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. minced red chili pepper
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 can (13.5 oz.) coconut milk
  • 1 1⁄2 cups seafood stock
  • 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped, divided
  • 3 scallions, chopped


  • Cut fish into 2-to 3-inch pieces and place them in a zip-top plastic bag with lime juice, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and coriander. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Add the dendê oil and olive oil to a deep skillet or stew pot. Add the garlic, chili pepper, and paprika, and cook over medium heat until garlic is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the fish fillets (reserve marinade) and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Remove fish and reserve.
  • Add the fish marinade to the skillet, along with tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and peppers and cook for 5 minutes more.
  • Add the coconut milk and seafood stock to the vegetables and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add the remaining teaspoon of salt. Carefully place the fish on top of the vegetables. Add the cilantro (reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish) and scallions. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, or until fish is cooked through. Top with remaining cilantro before serving.