Vatapá (Prawns in Coconut Milk Sauce)

“Vatapá” originates from Africa and it is one of the great classics of the state of Bahia's cuisine, characterized by the distinct flavor of ingredients such as palm oil, coconut milk and coriander. Prawns are the basis for a cream-like sauce, which is served with "acaçá" or white rice, and is also used as a filling for "acarajé" (fried bean pasties). This is a very rich recipe, but the everyday version may be made only with fish and fresh prawns or with leftover chicken (cooked and shredded).

Ingredients

  • • 300 g fish fillets
  • • 200 g fresh prawns
  • • 100 g dessicated shrimps
  • • 200 g salt cod
  • • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • • ½ onion
  • • 1 green (spring) onion
  • • 50 g sweet pepper
  • • salt
  • • fresh parsley
  • • fresh coriander
  • • 50 ml corn oil
  • • hot pepper
  • • 150 g stale bread
  • • 200 ml coconut milk
  • • 500 ml fish stock or water, approximately
  • • 2 tablespoons palm oil

Preparation method

1. Soak the salt cod and the dessicated shrimps, separately, in cold water to cover, for 24 hours refrigerated, changing the water every 6 hours. 
2. Blanch the salt cod on low heat, crumble and remove any bones.  
3. Drain and grind the (no longer) dried out shrimps. 
4. In a large saucepan sauté the onion in the oil, the green onion and the black pepper (grated or blended together). 
5. Add skinned and cubed tomatoes, finely chopped garlic and herbs.  
6. Add the fish, shrimps, cod, prawn, the bread soaked in coconut milk and cook stirring occasionally until it thickens to a soft paste. If necessary add a little more stock to adjust the consistency. 
7. Add the palm oil at the end of cooking.  
8. Serve as a sauce on its own with "acaçá" or white rice.

Yield: 4 - 6 servings.
Posted on: 11 November 2011
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