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Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca)

4 Servings

45 minutes

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Moqueca is traditionally made with red palm oil, which lends the stew an orange-red hue; we opted for easier-to-find coconut oil that reinforces the flavor of the coconut milk, and we give the broth some color with sweet paprika. By poaching large pieces of cod rather than bite-size chunks, it’s easier to keep the fish from overcooking; when you stir in the cilantro at the end, simply break the fish into smaller bits. Any type of boneless, skinless firm white fish works well in this recipe, but if the fillets are thin, they will cook more quickly than cod, so make sure to adjust the timing accordingly. Serve with steamed rice.




Don’t overmarinate the cod in the lime juice or the acid will degrade the texture of the fish. No more than twenty minutes or so is best.

45 minutes


  • 2

    tablespoons coconut oil, preferably unrefined

  • 1

    medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced


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John L.
February 20, 2023
Outstanding and easy
Used a whole can of coconut milk and doubled the Serrano. This was incredible. Quick yet company worthy.
Mary M.
October 10, 2022
While my children love fish, I wasn’t certain they would love the overall flavor profile of this stew. I was happily surprised when everyone cleared their bowl. My eldest said I should make it more often. I did use the whole can of coconut milk and omitted the water, but otherwise I made no changes. It made 6 hearty servings. It was delish! Thanks for another winner!
Urb F.
October 9, 2022
Excellent as always.
No store around me had Serrano chilies. Used jalapeños but they had no heat. Should have used habaneros. Added chili oil and hot paprika but should have used more. Otherwise it was tasty.
Ronny E.

This was delicious. Added some shrimp, used bamboo shoots instead of hearts of palm (didn't have any), smoked paprika, and hot pepper powder instead of jalapeno.
Don't skip on adding hearts of palm/whatever. The crunch is a nice addition. I used hot pepper powder because I'm lazy, and it's great. Definitely make it again!

Michele R.

Appreciate Milk Street modification of traditional moqueca to replace the red palm oil with combo of coconut oil and paprika. Red palm oil is readily available in my area at Somali markets but my experience in trying dishes made with it - including Brazilian moqueca - is it adds not only color but a flavor that I find off putting. Worth searching out hearts of palm - available in most supermarkets in canned foods - for this dish. The recipe calls for 14 oz diced hearts of palm, but I'm assuming it means 14 oz hearts of palm, diced since my experience in using them is whether in jars or cans hearts of palm typically come in 14 oz. I buy the "whole" product and dice them myself.

Danna V.

This was indeed yummy, though the liquid was not as saucy or coconut-y as I have had in Brazil. Using the whole can of coconut milk rather than just a cup made it more like the real thing.

John M.

This was the best fish stew I've ever had the pleasure of making! The coconut & lime flavors worked so well together. I made this exactly as written and my whole family just loved it. Thank you again, Milk Street & Ms. Russell!

Mary S.

This is a super fast simple flavor packed crowd pleaser. My husband said this is definitely top 5 Milk Street recipes, and I've tried a lot! My kids ate it without a fight, I didn't trash my kitchen and it was done in 30 minutes. I used broken haddock from my fish guy - because it was fresh and cheap - but it was done in about 4 minutes. I also used an entire can of lite coconut milk which gave it a nice consistency and plenty of liquid.