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)


Author: Gaby Dalkin
5 from 1 vote
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). 
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Brazilian
Servings 6 people


For the Fish

  • 1 ½ 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
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • ¼ 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.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 419kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.002g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 352mg | Potassium: 940mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1337IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @WhatsGabyCookin or tag #whatsgabycooking!


  1. 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!

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

    1. 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

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

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