Moqueca Baiana, taken from Feasting at Home

Moqueca Baiana (a Brazilian Fish Stew)

by Sylvia Fountaine from Feasting at Home


For the Fish: 

  • 1 - 1 1/2 lbs white fish: Swordfish, Halibut, Black Cod, Sea Bass, Cod, etc.  (thicker cuts are best)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • one lime: zest and juice

For the Stew/Sauce:

  • 23 tablespoons coconut or olive oil (Dende – Brazillian Red Palm oil for best flavor)
  • 1 onion- finely diced ( ed, white or yellow)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup carrot, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves- rough chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (or whole seed)
  • 1 cup fish or chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups tomatoes, diced ( preferably fresh)
  • 1  14 ounce can coconut milk ( liquid and solids)
  •  more salt to taste
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro, scallions or Italian parsley
  • squeeze of lime


  1. Rinse and pat dry the fish and cut into 2 inch pieces. Place in a bowl. Add salt, zest from half the lime and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Massage lightly to coat all pieces well. Set aside.
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and salt, and sauté 2-3 minutes. Turn heat down to medium, add carrot, bell pepper, garlic and jalapeño and cook 4-5 more minutes. Add tomato paste, spices and stock. Mix and bring to a simmer and add tomatoes. Cover and simmer gently on medium low for 5 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  3. Add the coconut milk and taste and add more salt if necessary.
  4. Nestle the fish in the stew and simmer gently until it’s cooked through, about 4-6 minutes.  Spoon the flavorful coconut broth over the fish and cook until desired doneness or longer for thicker pieces. ( You can also finish this in a 350F oven)
  5. Taste and adjust salt and squeeze with lime.
  6. To serve, serve over rice, sprinkle with cilantro or scallions and a squeeze of lime.
  7. Drizzle with a little olive oil if you like.