How to Make Brazil’s Famous Moqueca

How to Make Brazil's Famous Moqueca

Originating in the state of Bahia in the northeastern part of Brazil, moqueca is an Afro-Brazilian stew consisting of saltwater fish and/or shrimp cooked in coconut milk and dende—a Brazilian palm-based oil.

Moqueca is traditionally seasoned with fresh ingredients, including cilantro, coriander, tomatoes, onions and garlic, and can be intensely spiced with hot peppers, depending on your taste. The technique of slow cooking in clay pots has been used for centuries, and it ensures the melding of flavors, making moqueca one of Brazil’s tastiest dishes.

Shrimp Moqueca

1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
Juice of one lime
1 medium yellow onion, diced, plus 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into rings
1 large garlic clove, minced
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 serrano chili, seeded and sliced (use rubber gloves)
Pepper, to taste
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk

Marinate the shrimp in lime juice, diced onions, minced garlic and a pinch of salt for 30 minutes.

In a large saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Pour in the shrimp and marinade. Add tomatoes, cilantro, chili and rings of onions in layers. Season with black pepper, to taste. Pour coconut milk over the layers and simmer over medium-low heat for 10–15 minutes, or until the shrimp is cooked. Serve with rice, Brazilian if possible. Serves 4.

Recommended Wine: Pair with a Brazilian sparkling wine like Casa Valduga’s NV Gran Reserva Brut 130.

Guide to Brazil

Published on February 17, 2015
Topics: Brazilian Pairings, Recipes
About the Author
Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen
Entertaining and Lifestyle Editors

Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen are Wine Enthusiast's Entertaining and Lifestyle Editors. DeSimone tastes wine from Israel and the Mediterranean Basin, while Jenssen tastes wine from Eastern Europe, including the former the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Both co-authored Wines of California, Wines of the Southern Hemisphere, and The Fire Island Cookbook. Wine educators and presenters, both gentlemen serve as frequent guests on national and local television. Email:

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