Cod and shrimp make for a nice balance of flavor and texture in this soup, and balancing the richness and sweetness of a coconut milk base with the bright, fresh flavor of aromatics, onion, tomatoes, and cilantro elevate this stew to something bright, something Brazilian, and something utterly delicious.
Moqueca – Brazilian Fish Stew
Pepper Sauce: 3 oz. pickled banana peppers 1/2 white onion, chopped 1/4 cup spicy pepper olive oil 1/8 tsp. sugar sea salt
Stew: 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed 1 lb. skinless cod fillets, cut into 1/2″ pieces 3 garlic cloves, minced sea salt and pepper 1 onion, chopped 1 14.5 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes 3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 2 Tbs. spicy pepper olive oil 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped into 1/2″ pieces 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped into 1/2″ pieces 1 14 oz. can coconut cream 1 cup water or fish stock 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
For the Pepper Sauce: Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and transfer to a separate bowl.
For the Stew: Toss the shrimp and cod with garlic, sea salt, and pepper. Set aside for about 30 minutes. Process the onion, tomatoes and juice, and 1/4 cup cilantro in a food processor until finely chopped – almost pureed. Heat the oil in a large pot and add bell peppers and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes. Add the onion-tomato puree and reduce heat to medium. Stir frequently and continue cooking until the mixture has reduced by about 50%. Increase the heat and stir in the coconut cream and stock (water) and bring to a boil. Once all surfaces are bubbling, add the seafood and lime juice. Cover the pot and remove from heat. Keep covered until the fish is cooked through, just about 15 minutes.
For Serving: Gently stir in 2 Tbs. Pepper Sauce and remaining 1/4 cup fresh cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the remaining sauce separately.