Delicious Brazilian Fish Stew for a Flavorful Meal

Picture this: you’re sitting on a beautiful beach in Brazil, feeling the warm sun on your skin and listening to the sound of waves crashing into the shore. Suddenly, you catch a whiff of something delicious – a mouth-watering aroma that’s hard to describe. As you follow the scent, you come across a local fisherman cooking up a pot of Moqueca de Peixe, a traditional Brazilian fish stew. The combination of fresh seafood, sweet and savory spices, and creamy coconut milk make it impossible to resist.

But don’t worry if you can’t hop on a plane to Brazil right now, because I’ve got a recipe that will transport your taste buds straight to the tropical paradise. This Brazilian fish stew recipe is inspired by the flavors of Moqueca de Peixe but with my own unique twist. It’s easy to make and packed with flavor, and sure to become a regular in your dinner rotation.

So why not bring some South American flair to your own kitchen with this delicious recipe? With simple ingredients like halibut fillets, bell peppers, and onions, you’ll have everything you need to whip up a dish that’s as satisfying as it is tasty. Let’s get started and discover the secrets behind this Brazilian seafood stew!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Another Brazilian Fish Stew
Another Brazilian Fish Stew

I’m not one to brag but let me tell you, this Brazilian Fish Stew recipe is an absolute game-changer. I guarantee it’ll be a staple in your kitchen once you’ve tried it.

Firstly, it’s packed with flavor. The sweet paprika and fresh lime juice give the dish a burst of tangy goodness that you won’t find in any ordinary stew. Secondly, the combination of green bell pepper, red bell pepper and fresh cilantro create an explosion of color that makes this dish as visually appealing as it is tasty.

But let’s talk about the star of the show – the fish. This stew is made with halibut fillets, but feel free to substitute with any firm white fish such as tilapia, for instance. The fish melds perfectly with the coconut milk and tomato base making every bite pure bliss.

Not only is this dish incredibly delicious, but it’s also quite easy to make! With just a few ingredients including garlic cloves, onions, and stewed tomatoes adding depth to the flavors, you can have yourself an authentic Brazilian seafood stew in no time!

And did I mention it’s healthy too? This stew recipe packs a punch of nutritious ingredients such as onion, garlic, tomatoes and peppers that carry plenty of health benefits including antioxidants that help protect against harmful diseases!

Trust me; you won’t be disappointed with this Brazilian Fish Stew recipe as one bite will transport your taste buds to Brazil – where all things glorious come from!

Ingredient List

“A warm and comforting bowl of Brazilian Fish Stew to soothe your soul”

Ingredients you will need for this Brazilian Fish Stew recipe

  • 2 pounds firm white fish, such as halibut fillets or tilapia, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 can (14 ounces) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

These ingredients will result in an authentic Brazilian fish stew also called Moqueca. Most of these ingredients are characteristic of the dish, like the use of coconut milk, fresh bell peppers, and cilantro. Also, notice that we’re using canned stewed tomatoes to speed up the process. If you happen to have fresh ones available or prefer them over canned ones, feel free to use them instead.

The Recipe How-To

“Fresh catches of the day swimming in a rich tomato and coconut milk broth”

Now comes the fun part: cooking the Brazilian fish stew, or moqueca!

Gather Ingredients and Tools

Before we start, make sure you have all the ingredients and tools needed. You’ll need a large pot or Dutch oven with a lid, cutting board, knife, and measuring spoons and cups.

Prepare the Vegetables

Let’s start by preparing the vegetables. Begin by peeling and slicing 1 large onion into thin strips. Remove the stem and seeds from 1 green bell pepper and 1 red bell pepper, cut them into thin slices. Mince 3 garlic cloves. Chop a handful of fresh cilantro leaves.

Sauté Vegetables

Place the pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add sliced onions and garlic, cook until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.

Add Bell Peppers and Tomatoes

Add sliced green and red bell peppers, stir-fry for about 2 minutes until just softened. Then add a can of stewed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika, and stir together with the vegetables.

Add Coconut Milk

Pour in one can of coconut milk, stir until it blends with the tomatoes and seasoning.

Add Fish Fillets

Now comes the star of this dish – add in 2 lbs of halibut fillets (or any firm white fish). Cut them into chunks that are similar in size so that they cook evenly. Gently push down on each piece to submerge it in the sauce.

Simmer Until Cooked

Bring everything to a boil then lower to simmer with the lid on for about 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork. Squeeze juice from one lime over it, sprinkle some chopped cilantro on top.

Serve Hot!

Your Brazilian seafood stew is ready to serve hot! You can serve it over white rice, garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges. Bon appetit!

Substitutions and Variations

“The perfect dish for a cozy night in – Brazilian Fish Stew”

Now that we’ve got the basics of this Brazilian fish stew recipe down, let’s talk about some ways you can personalize it to your liking. Whether you’re looking to switch up the seafood, add some extra flavor or make it vegetarian, there are plenty of options for you to get creative with your fish stew.

For starters, you can try different types of fish for the stew. Tilapia and halibut fillets work great in this recipe but feel free to experiment with other firm white fish like cod or snapper. If you want to go the shrimp route, try making a Brazilian shrimp stew (moqueca de camarão) instead.

If you’d like to add some additional flavor, consider swapping out the sweet paprika for smoked paprika or using a combination of red and green bell peppers instead of just one color. You could even add a dash of cayenne pepper if you like things spicy.

For vegetarians, try making a vegetable-based version of the stew by replacing the fish with tofu or tempeh and swapping out the fish broth for vegetable broth. Adding sweet potatoes, butternut squash, or carrots can also give the dish a heartier flavor.

If you’re looking to take things up a notch, try using coconut cream instead of coconut milk for a richer flavor. Alternatively, palm oil can also be used in place of olive oil for an authentic Brazilian taste.

No matter how you decide to mix things up with this Brazilian fish stew recipe, it’s guaranteed to be delicious and satisfying. Just remember that the key is to have fun and experiment until you find the perfect combination for your taste buds.

Serving and Pairing

“A burst of vibrant colors and bold flavors in every spoonful”

This Brazilian fish stew is a burst of flavors that will leave you wanting more. To serve this delicious stew, I suggest ladling it over some steaming hot rice or accompanied by some crusty bread to soak up all the savory goodness of the broth.

For a refreshing bite, squeeze fresh lime juice over the top just before serving, and sprinkle some fresh chopped cilantro to finish it off. The tangy and zesty taste of lime will perfectly balance the richness and creaminess of coconut milk in this stew.

As for pairing, this dish begs for a light, crisp white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris that can cut through the spices and complement the sweetness of bell peppers and coconut milk.

If you’re in the mood for something more Brazilian, try pairing this dish with Caipirinha – Brazil’s signature cocktail made with Cachaça, sugar, and fresh lime. The drink’s fresh citrus flavor and mild sweetness would be a perfect companion to the spiciness of the stew.

This Brazilian seafood stew is hearty enough to stand on its own as a full meal, but also versatile enough to be served as parts of larger Brazilian-themed feasts alongside other classics like Pão de queijo (cheese bread), Coxinhas (chicken croquette), Feijoada (a black bean stew), and Churrasco (Brazilian-style barbecue).

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

“A delicious fusion of Brazilian and American cuisine in one bowl”

One great thing about this Brazilian fish stew recipe is that it’s incredibly convenient to make ahead of time, and it stores and reheats beautifully. In fact, some might argue that the stew even tastes better after reheating – as the flavors have had even more time to meld together.

For those who are planning on making this recipe, know that you can definitely prep the dish a day ahead of time. After cooking your Brazilian fish stew, let it cool slightly before separating it into meal-sized portions in air-tight containers. The stew will keep in your fridge for up to four days or so.

When it’s time to eat, simply reheat your stew gently over low-medium heat until heated through. Be sure to stir regularly and add a splash of water if the mixture looks too thick.

If you prefer, you can also freeze any leftover fish stew for up to three months. Simply let the stew cool completely before dividing it into freezer-safe containers or bags. Anytime you’re ready for another bowl of Brazilian fish stew, thaw the container overnight in your refrigerator then follow the instructions as outlined above to reheat it.

Whether making this hearty fish stew ahead of time or storing leftovers in your fridge or freezer, know that you and your loved ones will be able to enjoy some delicious Brazilian flavors anytime you want them!

Tips for Perfect Results

“A seafood lover’s dream – Brazilian Fish Stew”

Now that you have all the ingredients for your Brazilian fish stew, here are a few tips to ensure you get a delicious and authentic end result.

1. Use firm white fish

The traditional Brazilian fish stew, or moqueca, is made with a firm white fish such as halibut, tilapia or sea bass. These fish hold up well in the stew without falling apart and have a delicate flavor that can be enhanced by the bold flavors of the other ingredients.

2. Don’t overcook the fish

One common mistake when making fish stews is overcooking the fish, which can make it tough and chewy. To prevent this, add the fish to the stew during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time and only cook until it’s just cooked through.

3. Use fresh cilantro and lime juice

Fresh cilantro and lime juice are key ingredients in Brazilian cuisine, and they add a bright and fresh flavor to this fish stew. Be sure to use fresh herbs and only squeeze the lime juice right before serving to get the best taste.

4. Adjust seasoning to your taste

The amount of sweet paprika, garlic cloves, and onions used in this recipe are guidelines based on traditional taste preferences but feel free to adjust according to your personal preference.

5. Let it rest before serving

Once your fish stew is done, try letting it rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. This will allow all the flavors of the different ingredients to fully develop and blend together, creating an even more flavorful dish.

Follow these tips to make sure your Brazilian fish stew turns out perfectly every time!


As the Brazilian Fish Stew recipe can be a bit complex, I have compiled some frequently asked questions to help you achieve the best outcome possible. Stay tuned!

What is moqueca made of in Brazil?

One popular dish in Brazil is moqueca, a fish stew that features a mix of flavorful ingredients such as garlic, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro. In the northern state of Bahia, it’s also common to add creamy coconut milk to the dish for a rich and satisfying result.

What are other names for fish stew?

A list of different types of seafood soups and stews, including popular options like cioppino, bourride, brodetto, cacciucco, zarzuela, and gumbo. These dishes often feature a mix of fish and shellfish in a flavorful broth.

What are the different types of moqueca?

Moqueca in Brazil varies by region and has distinct characteristics influenced by history and local ingredients. The three main types include Moqueca Baiana, Moqueca Capixaba, and Moqueca Paraense.

What is moqueca in English?

A popular dish in Brazil is their seafood stew called Moqueca. Its base usually consists of either shrimp or fish mixed with onions, garlic, coriander, lime, and tomatoes. Interestingly, the name Moqueca can be traced back to the language of Kimbundu, specifically the term mu’keka.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Brazilian Fish Stew Recipe is a must-try for anyone who loves seafood, bold flavors, and exotic dishes. This recipe is easy to make and allows for plenty of personalization in terms of ingredient substitutions or additional spices. Whether you’re entertaining guests or need a quick weeknight meal, this stew moqueca de peixe dish is sure to please.

Its unique blend of sweet paprika, fresh lime juice, garlic cloves, onions, olive oil, bell peppers, and halibut fillets creates an explosion of flavor in every bite. Plus, the addition of coconut milk adds a slight sweetness that balances perfectly with the savory elements of the dish.

If you’re looking to explore Brazilian cuisine beyond meat-heavy churrasco platters or the popular brigadeiro dessert, this fish stew recipe is an excellent option. By combining classic ingredients with fresh cilantro and stewed tomatoes, this dish captures the essence of Northern Brazil’s moqueca culture.

So next time you’re in the mood for seafood or want to impress your family and friends with a unique dinner option, give this Brazilian Fish Stew Recipe a try. Trust me; they’ll be asking for seconds!

Another Brazilian Fish Stew

Another Brazilian Fish Stew Recipe

There are several variations on this dish. Here is another. (no coconut milk in this one) Can be served over cooked white rice.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Brazilian
Calories 543.8 kcal


  • 2 1/2 lbs halibut fillets, boneless (or cod)
  • 1/2 lb medium raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, diced, undrained
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups fish stock (or water)


  • Cut the fillets into bite-size pieces. Cut the shrimp in half lengthwise. Set aside.
  • In a Dutch oven or heavy soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat and saute chopped onion for a few minutes, until it starts to soften. Add garlic and saute 1 minute.
  • Add the tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, bell peppers, lime juice, paprika, salt and pepper and fish stock. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Add fish. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until fish is almost cooked through. Add Shrimp and simmer until shrimp turns pink.
  • Serve immediately. (if serving with rice, spoon some hot rice into a bowl and ladle stew over it.).

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 716gCalories: 543.8kcalCarbohydrates: 18.9gProtein: 77gFat: 16.9gSaturated Fat: 2.8gCholesterol: 242.9mgSodium: 987.7mgFiber: 4gSugar: 8.8g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Brazilian, Halibut, Healthy, South American, Very Low Carbs
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Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.