Brazilian Fish Stew

Moqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew)

One of my favorite dishes, this stew is a delicious dinner you can make in under 30 minutes. In Brazil, Dende Oil (Brazilian Palm Oil) is used, but I replaced it with olive oil here, which I think is just as delicious and not as intense as dende (and so much easier to find!)
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Cuisine Brazilian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 368 kcal


  • 1 lb firm white fish -cod, mahi mahi or sea bass- or salmon rinsed and pin bones removed
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 hot pepper finely chopped optional
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes from a can
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper seeded and sliced
  • 1 medium white/yellow onion sliced
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro chopped
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 14 ounce coconut milk can
  • 1 ½ tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock/broth I love using Pho broth for this recipe


  • Place fish in a large glass bowl and season with salt, pepper and lime juice. Set aside in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
  • In a large Dutch oven pot (or clay pot), add 2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 1 minute.
  • Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste, and coriander. Mix, and cook for another minute.
  • Then, add garlic, bell peppers and optional hot pepper. Mix and cook for one more minute.
  • Pour the coconut milk and the broth. Let it cook for another 5 minutes or until the stew starts gently bubbling.
  • Add the fish fillets, cilantro, and parsley. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper again. Then cover, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the the fish is fully cooked.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and parsley. Serve with rice and salad. Hot sauce can be a great addition too, if you haven't already used a hot pepper.


  • Avoid stirring the soup too frequently as you don't want the fish to break up.
  • Careful not to over simmer the stew as the fish will come out tough.
  • If you are using frozen fish to make the stew, thaw beforehand. 
  • To store: Keep the fish stew in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container. 
  • To reheat: Gently reheat the stew on the stovetop when ready to enjoy. 
  • To freeze: Always allow the stew to cool to room temperature before freezing. Freeze the soup in an airtight freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Keyword fish, paleo, stew