Delicious Brazilian Seafood Stew Recipe – Try Now!

If you are looking for a hearty and flavorful seafood stew to warm up your soul, then look no further. I present to you one of the best Brazilian seafood stews – Vatapa. This classic dish hails from Bahia, a state on the northeast coast of Brazil that is known for its rich cuisine and diverse culinary influences.

This stew is a celebration of fresh seafood, spices, and aromatics like cilantro, garlic, and paprika which create a harmonious blend of flavors that will keep you coming back for more. The key ingredient is the coconut milk which adds a subtle sweetness and creaminess to the dish that balances out the spiciness from serrano chilies and crushed red pepper flakes.

As a chef specializing in Brazilian and American cuisine, I have tried many shrimp recipes, but this one has been a favorite of mine for years. And my version of Vatapa recipe is authentic and simple enough to make at home.

So grab your apron and get ready to explore the flavors of Brasil with this delicious shrimp stew Vatapa recipe. It is perfect for cozy dinners at home or for impressing your guests with flavors that will take them on a culinary journey all the way to Bahia.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Brazilian Seafood Stew-Vatapa
Brazilian Seafood Stew-Vatapa

Listen up, my friends, because I am about to introduce you to one of the best Brazilian seafood stews you will ever taste – the classic Brazilian Seafood Stew-Vatapa Recipe. This dish is a great representation of Brazil’s famous cuisine and incorporates various flavors that hail from the Bahia State in the Northeastern coast.

What sets this dish apart is that it includes a variety of ingredients, such as coconut milk, cilantro, cod fish fillet, shrimp, and aromatic spices like paprika and crushed red pepper flakes. Each ingredient has its unique flavor contributing to the savory taste of the stew.

If you are looking for something out of your comfort zone, then this is the recipe for you! Not only does it showcase an array of flavors that blend together seamlessly, but it also looks and smells delicious. Trust me when I say that this dish is super easy to make and requires only a few basic ingredients.

So why waste time looking for other shrimp recipes when you can indulge in one of Brazil’s best dishes- Vatapa Brazilian Seafood Stew? You won’t regret it and will thank me later for introducing you to this fantastic dish!

Ingredient List

 A bowl of hearty stew filled with seafood goodness
A bowl of hearty stew filled with seafood goodness

To make this Brazilian Seafood Stew-Vatapa recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

Vatapa Recipe:

  • 2 cups of raw shrimp
  • 1 lb Codfish Fillets, boneless and skinless
  • 2 dried serrano chilies, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2 cups of whole tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 1 can of coconut milk

Shrimp mixture:

  • 1/4 cup of small dried shrimp
  • 1 cup of unsalted toasted cashews
  • 1 cup of coconut milk, finely ground peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons of reddish-colored, thick-skinned palm oil, mashed into a paste

The ingredients listed above are enough to create six servings of this delicious Brazilian seafood stew.

The Recipe How-To

 Vatapa: the perfect comfort food for seafood lovers
Vatapa: the perfect comfort food for seafood lovers

Now that you have gathered all the ingredients, it’s time to get cooking. This Brazilian Seafood Stew, also known as Vatapa, is a dish that combines shrimp and salt cod in a flavorful coconut and nut sauce. Here’s how you can make it:

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

  • Soak the dried salt cod in water for at least 24 hours to remove excess salt; change the water 2-3 times.
  • Peel and devein the shrimp, set aside.
  • In a blender or food processor, pulse the cashews, peanuts, and dried shrimp into a smooth paste.
  • Thinly slice the onion and garlic cloves and chop the serrano chilies. Set aside.

Step 2: Cook the Stew

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.

  2. Add sliced onion, garlic, and serrano chilies. Sauté for 3 minutes until soft.

  3. Add the smoothed nut paste to the pot and stir for about 5 minutes.

  4. Add diced tomatoes, coconut milk, paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, and sliced onions to taste.

  5. Add soaked salt cod to pot and bring everything to a boil. Cook both over low heat about 20 minutes until soft.

  6. Lightly pan sear seasoned slices of cod fillet prior to adding them into stew.

  7. Separately cook half of the shrimp in a couple teaspoons of palm oil until pink then mash gently into a paste.

  8. Add mashed shrimp paste to stew with cooked whole shrimp (the shrimp sets it lightly with moisture).

  9. Cook additional 10-15 minutes until everything is heated through.

Step 3: Serve

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with rice, moqueca or bread.

Enjoy the delicious taste of this classic Brazilian dish that is perfect for special occasions, holidays, or any day.

Substitutions and Variations

 The taste of Brazil in a single dish
The taste of Brazil in a single dish

Substitutions and variations can make a recipe more versatile, and cater to individual preferences. In the case of the Brazilian Seafood Stew-Vatapa, there are a few substitutions and variations that you can try.

Instead of cod fish fillet, you can use any firm white fish that’s available in your area. Halibut or Mahi-Mahi would work particularly well. You can also add additional seafood such as scallops or mussels.

For raw shrimp, you can substitute cooked shrimp or prawns that have been peeled and deveined. This can help reduce cooking time and increase convenience.

If you don’t have palm oil, you can substitute with vegetable oil or coconut oil. However, palm oil helps give this dish its authentic flavor and color.

Similarly, instead of whole tomatoes, canned tomatoes without seasoning can be used. This can save time on preparation as well.

If serrano chilies are not available in your local market, you can use jalapeños or other red chilies as a substitute.

You may also add additional ingredients such as bell peppers, green beans or potatoes, to add variety to the dish. Adjusting the amount of spices like paprika and crushed red pepper flakes, will change the heat level of the dish.

Finally, if you are a vegetarian or vegan, you could experiment with replacing seafood with tofu or vegetables such as eggplant or zucchini to create a flavorful vegan stew similar to Vatapa known as “Moqueca”.

However, with any substitution please remember to taste along the way while cooking to ensure that the flavors have not become unbalanced unintentionally in your variation.

Serving and Pairing

 Let the flavors of coconut, chili, and peanuts dance on your tongue
Let the flavors of coconut, chili, and peanuts dance on your tongue

The Brazilian Seafood Stew, Vatapa recipe is an explosion of flavors that will take your taste buds on a journey to Brazil. This stew is rich and creamy, with a perfect balance of salty and spicy flavors. The texture is velvety smooth and leaves a pleasant aftertaste in your mouth. It’s perfect for a chilly evening or for entertaining guests.

The Vatapa recipe goes well with rice or any other grain you choose. For a full Brazilian experience, serve it with white rice, which will complement the creaminess of the stew perfectly. You can also serve it with crusty bread, which can be dipped into the stew to mop up all the goodness.

If you want to add some crunch to the Vatapa recipe, consider serving it with Farofa. Farofa is toasted cassava flour made with ingredients like garlic, onions or bacon. It is a popular side dish in Brazil that pairs well with stews and seafood dishes.

For pairing, I recommend pairing this stew with a cold beer or a crisp white wine. A cerveja (beer) can balance out the heat of the dish while simultaneously cleansing your palate for every new bite. If you prefer wine, I recommend Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.

This Brazilian seafood stew, Vatapa recipe is an excellent choice for dinner parties, special occasions or just for impressing your family members during dinner time. It’s easy to prepare, versatile and packed full of flavor!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A seafood extravaganza in a pan
A seafood extravaganza in a pan

As much as I love preparing this Brazilian Seafood Stew-Vatapa recipe fresh, I understand that it takes time and effort. That’s why it’s great to know that you can prepare it ahead of time, store it, and reheat it later without losing any of its delightful flavors. Here are some tips to keep in mind:


One of the secrets to achieving the perfect flavor of Brazilian Seafood Stew-Vatapa is allowing the ingredients to marinate in the broth for an extended period. If you’re planning on making this ahead of time, stop cooking and let the stew cool down to room temperature before storing. You can even freeze it for future use.


The best way to store Brazilian Seafood Stew-Vatapa is in a covered container in the refrigerator. It can last up to four days if stored properly.


To reheat, transfer the stew into a pot over medium heat and add water or coconut milk until you reach your desired consistency. Don’t forget to stir occasionally to ensure even heat distribution.

Remember that when reheating seafood, you should always be cautious not to overcook it because it could result in rubbery and dry seafood pieces. Follow these steps, and you’ll have a warm serving of hearty and delicious Brazilian Seafood Stew-Vatapa.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A burst of colorful ingredients in every bite
A burst of colorful ingredients in every bite

To achieve a delicious and authentic Vatapa experience, there are some tips that I suggest considering. Here are some of the things I’ve learned after cooking this dish for years.

First, it’s fundamental to use fresh seafood whenever possible. Seafood is the star of this stew, so you want to make sure it shines. For best results, use fresh shrimp and codfish fillets from a reliable source.

Another important tip is to be patient while cooking the stew. This isn’t a recipe that you can rush. Allow each ingredient to cook thoroughly to bring out its best flavor, and let the flavors develop even further as the stew simmers.

When preparing the palm oil paste, make sure to mash it well for a smooth consistency. The paste should have no lumps so it can fully incorporate into your stew.

Using high-quality ingredients like whole canned tomatoes will dramatically improve your stew’s overall taste. You may find yourself overwhelmed by the vast array of canned tomato brands and varieties out there! So experiment with different brands until you find one you love.

To get the most aroma from herbs, such as cilantro, chop them finely before adding them to the pot.

Finally, keep in mind that Vatapa tastes even better when served at least one day after it has been cooked. The flavors mature over time, making it even more delicious!

By keeping these tips in mind while cooking your Vatapa stew, you’ll surely achieve perfect results every time.

Bottom Line


In conclusion, Brazilian seafood stew, also known as vatapá, is one of the best Brazilian dishes you can try. This delicious stew made with shrimp, cod fish fillet, and coconut milk is a perfect representation of Brazilian cuisine. With its unique flavor and texture, this stew will take you on a culinary journey to the northeast coast of Brazil where it hails.

Don’t miss the chance to try this classic Brazilian dish for yourself. Use the recipe outlined in this article and try different variations and substitutions to suit your preferences. And don’t forget to follow the tips for perfect results provided in this article.

Whether you are a fan of seafood or not, this stew is sure to win you over with its rich and flavorful taste. So what are you waiting for? Get cooking and enjoy the taste of Brazil in the comfort of your own home today!

Brazilian Seafood Stew-Vatapa

Brazilian Seafood Stew-Vatapa Recipe

This is a hot and spicy codfish and shrimp stew which comes from Bahia, a coastal region, where foods have been influenced by Africans who were brought to Brazil. Recipe from Recipegoldmine.
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Brazilian
Calories 620.4 kcal


  • 1 (5 ounce) package dried shrimp (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 -5 serrano chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 1 (16 ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup soft breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup natural-style peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 lb raw shrimp, shelled and de-veined
  • 1 lb cod fish fillet, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cupfresh cilantro, minced


  • Cover dried shrimp with warm water. Let stand 15 minutes; drain. Finely chop shrimp; reserve.
  • Cook and stir onion, chiles, garlic, paprika and red pepper in 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until onion is tender. Stir in coconut milk, tomatoes, salt and reserved dried shrimp. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 15 minutes. Stir in bread crumbs and peanut butter until well blended and mixture is consistency of thick sauce; keep warm over low heat.
  • Heat 3 tablespoons oil in skillet until hot. Cook and stir raw shrimp in oil over medium heat until pink, about 3 minutes. Remove shrimp to sauce mixture with slotted spoon. Add more oil to skillet if necessary. Cook and stir fish until it flakes easily with fork, 3 to 4 minutes. Gently stir fish into sauce mixture. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve with salsa if desired.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 329gCalories: 620.4kcalCarbohydrates: 23.7gProtein: 34gFat: 46.1gSaturated Fat: 22.3gCholesterol: 110.8mgSodium: 654.4mgFiber: 5.7gSugar: 12.6g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Brazilian, Easy, South American
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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.