Moqueca de peixe baiana (Bahia’s Fish Stew)

Moqueca de peixe baiana (Bahia’s Fish Stew)

The “moqueca de peixe”, is a traditional Brazilian north-northeast coast recipe, a native culinary heritage. The word “moqueca” comes from the Tupi (indigenous language) word “moquém”, which means a grill made with branches. The native people used “moquém” to cook agricultural products (cassava, eddoe, yam, potatoes) and to dry meat and fish up. They used dried meat and dried fish to prepare dishes such as “paçoca”, consisting of meat or fish pounded with cassava flour. They also used to slow cook fresh fish wrapped in banana leaves (so steam and juices cannot escape) in a hole dug in the ground, covered with embers. It is believed that this slow cooking method has given rise to the clay pot cooking method, very popular in the traditional Brazilian cuisine.
The “moqueca Baiana” is one of the most famous versions of this dish. The use of palm oil and coconut milk reflects the very strong African influence in Brazil.
You can enrich this basic recipe with prawns and salt cod and it will become a rich and refined dish.

• 1 onion
• 2 green (spring) onions
• 1 garlic clove
• 2 mature tomatoes
• 1 sweet pepper
• 20 g coriander leaves and parsley leaves
• 3 tablespoons corn oil
• ½ lemon juice
• salt
• 200 ml coconut milk
• 600 g fish (any type)
• a handful of dried shrimps
• 1 tablespoon palm oil

Preparation method

  1. Wash the dried shrimps and soak them in cold water for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Slice onion, tomatoes and sweet pepper.
  3. Chop fresh coriander, fresh parsley, green onions and garlic.
  4. In a large saucepan sauté onion and sweet pepper in a little oil until halfway cooked.
  5. Add the remaining vegetables and fish in layers, sprinkle with a little oil, season with salt, lemon and half the coconut milk.
  6. Cook over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally. Do not stir, so as to preserve the fish pieces. It takes about 10 – 15 minutes.
  7. Towards the end of the cooking, add the remaining coconut milk and the palm oil.
  8. The “moqueca” should be served with white rice.

Yield: 4 – 6 servings.

Posted on: 11 November 2011