If you are looking for a flavorful weeknight dinner that is easy to make, you need to try this brazilian fish stew or moqueca. It’s a great way to get in your seafood servings as well, which helps you get enough omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
Ingredients for Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca)
Before making this recipe, make sure you have all the ingredients you need. Recommended swaps and alternatives are listed next to each individual ingredient.
- White fish: I used tilapia, but any kind of white fish will work for this recipe.
- Lime: Adds some acidity to the dish. You can use lemon instead, but lime is best.
- Garlic cloves: I use fresh garlic cloves but jarred also works just fine.
- Salt and pepper: I use kosher salt, but sea salt or table salt is fine. Ideally, I would recommend freshly ground pepper.
- Olive oil: Or vegetable oil, canola oil or avocado oil.
- Onion: Yellow, white or sweet onions can work for this dish.
- Bell pepper: Any color is fine, I like using red or green for this recipe.
- Jalapeno: Optional, but adds some flavor and spice to the dish.
- Crushed red pepper flakes: Add some spice and flavor, but this is optional.
- Tomato paste: You can also use ketchup in a pinch.
- Tomato puree: Or crushed tomatoes.
- Cumin: Adds some nice flavor to the dish.
- Chicken broth: You can also use chicken bouillon or vegetable stock.
- Coconut milk: I use the full fat stuff since it tastes the best and has the best texture.
- Cilantro: For garnish, optional but really ties the dish together.
How to make Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca)
In a large bowl, add white fish, lime, garlic, salt and pepper. Massage into the fish and set aside. In a large pan or pot over medium heat, add olive oil, diced onion, diced bell pepper. diced jalapeno and red pepper flakes. Saute for several minutes.
Add tomato paste and cumin and stir until combined. Add tomato puree and chicken broth. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add coconut milk, stir and then add white fish. Simmer until fish is cooked through (until it reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit), about 5-8 minutes. Once finished, transfer the soup to a bowl and top with cilantro and lime juice.
Examples of white fish
There are several varieties of white fish that you can use for this recipe. While I love tilapia and use it frequently due to its low cost (compared to other fish), you can use any of the following other white fish in the recipe.
What kind of coconut milk should I use?
I use full fat coconut milk for this recipe because it’s super creamy and adds a lot of richness to the dish. If you are watching your saturated fat intake, I would recommend choosing a light coconut milk that is lower in fat. You will get the same flavor, but it won’t be as creamy as the full fat version.
Is white fish good for you?
Yes! While salmon is usually touted as the “healthy” fish, white fish is a very nutritious option. For example, three ounces of tilapia contains 22 grams of protein in just 110 calories. It’s an excellent source of vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B12, vitamin D, phosphorus and selenium. Plus, it contains unsaturated fats, which are beneficial for heart health.
What to serve moqueca with
I serve brazilian fish stew (moqueca) over rice to make it a well rounded meal with carbohydrates, fats and protein. The rice soaks up the wonderful flavors of the sauce to make a delicious weeknight (or weekend) meal.
How to store the leftovers
If you have leftovers, simply transfer the stew to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. It should last about 2-3 days. You can also store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
When you are ready to eat your leftovers, simply microwave it in 30 seconds intervals until warm. I would recommend covering the stew with a paper towel to avoid tomato sauce splattering all over your microwave.
Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca)
- 1 lb white fish tilapia, cod, haddock, etc.
- 1 lime juiced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 1 jalapeño diced
- 1/2 tsp crush red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp cumin
- 15 oz tomato puree
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 can coconut milk full fat
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- lime for topping
- In a large bowl, add white fish, lime, garlic, salt and pepper. Massage into the fish and set aside.
- In a large pan or pot over medium heat, add olive oil, diced onion, diced bell pepper. diced jalapeño and red pepper flakes. Saute for several minutes.
- Add tomato paste and cumin and stir until combined.
- Add tomato puree and chicken broth. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add coconut milk, stir and then add white fish. Simmer until fish is cooked through (until it reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit), about 5-8 minutes.
- Once finished, transfer the soup to a bowl and top with cilantro and lime juice.