Moqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew)


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One major perk to traveling is coming home with an arsenal of new ideas and inspiration for the kitchen. I left Brazil with a crazy amount of concepts swimming around in my head, and I’ve shared a variety of them in the past month like Brigadeiro, Pão de Queijo, Pesto Broccoli and Caipirinhas.

Today I’m sharing my all time FAVORITE Brazilian inspired recipe… Moqueca!!

Moqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew)

Moqueca is a Brazilian fish stew made with various kinds of seafood, coconut milk, tomatoes, onions, garlic, fresh cilantro and palm oil (sometimes referred to as dendê oil). I first sampled this dish in Bahia which is where it’s originally from. You can now find it all over Brazil, but the various stews I tried while in Salvador de Bahia were truly incredible – especially at Villa Bahia.

Palm oil, which gives this dish it’s beautiful color and is naturally reddish as it’s high in beta-carotene, is essential for making Moqueca! You can find it at Whole Foods or on Amazon.

I opted to use mahi mahi and shrimp for my version of Moqueca but you can easily sub in any kind of flaky white fish you prefer. Load it up with plenty of fresh cilantro and freshly squeezed lime juice and you’ll have an exotic meal that really takes less than 30 minutes to make!!

Moqueca (Traditional Brazilian Fish Stew)


5 from 1 vote


For the Fish

  • 1 1/2 pounds Mahi Mahi cut into large chunks
  • 8 ounces shrimp peeled and de-viened
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 inch ginger minced
  • 1 tablespoon palm oil melted

For the Stew

  • 2 tablespoons palm oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 onion finely sliced
  • 1 cups bell peppers finely sliced
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup fish stock vegetable stock works too
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1-2 cups jasmine rice


For the Fish

  • Combine the Mahi Mahi, shrimp, lime juice, garlic, ginger and palm oil in a large bowl. Toss everything together to combine and let the fish marinate for 20-30 minutes.
  • After marinating, drain the fish and shrimp of any excess liquid. Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the package directions. Set aside once done.

For the Stew

  • In a large heavy dutch oven, melt the palm oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, onions and bell peppers and sauté for 4-5 minutes until fragrant and the onions are softened. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and nestle the marinated Mahi Mahi and shrimp in the bottom of the dutch oven. Season the fish with salt and pepper and then add the fish stock and coconut milk to the pan. It should just about cover the fish and shrimp.
  • Bring the stew to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes until the shrimp is cooked and the fish easily flakes apart. Taste and season with the juice of 1 lime, more if you'd like, and add the cilantro, basil and more salt if desired.
  • Serve the stew over the jasmine rice.


If you can't Palm Oil, or don't want to order it, you can easily use vegetable oil and add in a teaspoon or two of paprika to give the dish it's red color.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Moqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew) | ShoutYourSite

    […] Moqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew) […]

  2. Sommer @ASpicyPerspective

    This is one big beautiful soup! This is a must try! I will most definitely load the soup up with cilantro and lime juice! Yum!

  3. Shaina

    This turned out so gorgeous. As if I wasn’t already lusting after the whole trip experience, now I’m wishing we were simply neighbors so that I could come taste the flavors of Brazil as you recreate them.

  4. Mila Furman

    My husband looooves fish stews! Pinned and definitlely will be making!!

  5. cheri

    This looks amazing, my kind of food for sure. Just pinned. Will be making soon, great tip about the oil.

  6. Heather Christo

    This looks so incredibly delicious I cannot even handle it Gaby! I will be making this very, very soon!

  7. Naomi

    I’m loving all the recipes from your Brazil trip! This looks and sounds so good!

  8. Isabel

    I made this last night and it turned out delicious! I substituted cod for the halibut, and coconut oil + paprika for the palm oil. It did take me about 1 hour from beginning to end probably because I had to stop and read the recipe many times- I am sure next time- it will be closer to 30 minutes.Thank you for the great recipe! 🙂

  9. Julie @ Table for Two

    This looks so beautiful! I love the vibrant colors in the dish and it just pops!!

  10. Kate @ ¡Hola! Jalapeño

    Gaby, this looks so amazing….and easy! Thanks for sharing your food finds with us!

  11. Laura @ Laura’s Culinarh Adventures

    Gah! I need this in my mouth! I also need to go to Brazil!

  12. Natalie @ Paper & Birch

    Wow, I love the perks we get from your trip to Brazil! This looks incredible Gaby! I’m putting it on our menu for next week right now. Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  13. Jenny Flake

    Wow, what a gorgeous dish Gaby! Brazil looked like a dream!!

  14. Jeanette | Jeanette’s Healthy Living

    This looks amazing Gaby! I’ve been looking for a good recipe for Brazilian Fish Stew so this is timely! Pinned!

  15. Brenda @ a farmgirl’s dabbles

    How gorgeous is this?! Oh my, I NEED to make this!!

  16. Laura

    Wow this looks amazing!!! I love your recipes Gaby they’re always so original!

  17. Week 2 Meal Plan: No Gluten, No Dairy, No Sugar –

    […] I get bored repeating the same things over and over even if I love them. I spotted this recipe for Brazilian fish stew on Pinterest this morning and I knew we had to try it. It follows the guidelines of the program and […]

  18. Sea Bass Ceviche | What's Gaby Cooking

    […] we ate for both lunch and dinner blew my mind. Two standout dishes were the moqueca which I’ve recreated countless times at home because I simply cannot get enough and the […]

  19. From Slow Cocktails to Street Food: 4 Food Marketing Tips Learned at the World Cup : The Buzz Bin

    […] feasting on steaming hot moquecas and African-inspired acarajé, I realized how much of that region’s cuisine is built on shared […]

  20. Helen Kennedy

    I made this and it was SO good! I substituted chilli infused olive oil for the palm oil and used sea bream as it was on offer in my favourite supermarket. I will find palm oil for next time I make it, I didn’t have time to call in the shop I know often has it. Thank you for another great recipe!

  21. Silvia

    wow, I am amazed by how wonderfully you described this dish and it looks fantastic !
    I can truly say these truthfully since I was born and raised in Bahia. Great job Gaby.


    I’m making this dish for Spanish class, really hoping it turns out good.

  23. Spinach & Chicken Curry Recipe {Chicken Saag} – Healthy New Year Challenge: Week 2 – Cookin Canuck

    […] Salad A Cedar Spoon’s Moroccan Carrot Red Lentil Soup What’s Gaby Cooking’s Moqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew) Table for Two’s Grilled Flank Steak with […]

  24. Chris

    I made this for my wife on Valentines day and we loved it. You may want to add a baguette to sop up the delicious sauce. Mahi Mahi wasn’t available so I substituted Silver Corvino (sp?). We recently went to a fancy Brazilian restaurant and I ordered their Moqueca; it was not as good as this recipe.

  25. Brad Goldstein

    I’ve been making this dish for a while and wanted to check to see if there were any cool recipes on the internet and guess whose recipe came up as the third google? YOURS! Glad to see your site has been so successful! Can’t wait to try it.

    • Gaby

      Brad!! Thank you! Hope you like my version! 🙂

  26. A Healthy Hedonist's Guide to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: The Best Restaurants and Ways to Work Off Your Meal – Feed Me Phoebe

    […] Moqueca: This coconut seafood stew is on the lighter side, compared to Brazil’s national meat treasures (see below). It’s made with tomatoes, garlic and palm oil, which adds to the amber color, and usually served alongside pirao, which is a thick gravy made from combining the moqueca broth and some yuca flour. […]

  27. Brazilian Frozen Acai Bowl Recipe | Feed Me Phoebe

    […] Brazilian Seafood Stew | What’s Gabby Cooking […]

  28. Betsy

    Made this for a large group for dinner last night (I tripled the recipe). It was delish and got rave reviews. I will definitely make again.

  29. Christian

    I’ve made this several times with all kinds of different seafood. Its beyond awesome, I can’t get enough of it. I always use 2 or three times the recommended ingredients and 6 or more lb.’s of seafood, White fish, scallops, & shrimp are my favorite. Oh and a dash of hot sauce for some heat. I love this, Thank you!

  30. Olafao

    How crucial would it be to use the dendé oil for the moqueca?
    Is it true moqueca is good for digestion?

    • Gaby

      you could use a different oil if you prefer but the color won’t be the same

  31. Alexandra

    I’m making it tomorrow! However, unless it’s labeled sustainable, using palm oil destroys rainforests. Please consider another oil.

    • Gaby

      I totally hear you and was able to find a sustainable palm oil. You can use any oil – but the color will be slightly different. Recently I’ve been doing it with regular coconut oil

  32. Obsessed // Jamie Beck of AnnStreetStudio – What's Gaby Cooking

    […] future as we’re both obsessed with our friends over at LAN/TAM! Plus she shares my love of Moqueca and avocado toast and knows how to host an epic dinner […]

  33. Leslie

    5 stars
    I made this lovely stew last week for my family – especially my son – who loves Mahi Mahi! It was quicker than I thought (though I’m sure the proper way is much longer). Thank you for inspiring me and teaching me about palm oil!