chapter V

when baking, follow directions.. when cooking, go by your own taste.. ~ Laiko Bahrs

made in MyKitchen | moqueca / Brazilian fish stew

stews seem to be a repetitive feature in the menu for most of this week’s home cooked dinners so far, and today i prepared another one.. :mrgreen:

  last Monday it was a Korean stew.. Wednesday, a fusion Asian.. and today, we’re going BRAZILIAN~

i came across this recipe while browsing through a cooking website recommended by my friend Kay.. it’s been months since i last made it and i was craving for it this morning..

the original recipe can be found here .. moqueca is a Brazilian fish stew that contains coconut milk as its base, with sour notes from lime or lemon juice, and sweetness from cubed vegetables and seafood.. i love the fact that it’s sourish in taste, unlike most other cream based stews.. it makes the broth not too overwhelming and hubs and i were practically slurping it up by the spoonful before we realized it.. it was that yummmmm~ :mrgreen:

however, a fair warning to anybody out there who happens to hate.. or dislike, to put it mildly, the wonderfully aromatic cilantro, you might want to steer clear of the recipe below.. though it’s a huge loss on your part if you do, i believe.. you CAN’T omit cilantro from the ingredients, nor can you substitute it with anything else.. trust me, it WON’T work.. cilantro is part of the crucial, magic ingredient that’s a MUST in this moqueca recipe.. it makes the dish into what and how it should be.. oh, and don’t mistake parsley for cilantro now.. although they’re both from the same family, parsley is really bland in aroma and flavor..

besides cilantro, lime or lemon juice is also a major ingredient in making moqueca.. the amount needed really depends on how sour you want the broth to taste in the end.. the sourness helps cut the rich creaminess from the coconut milk..

the first few times i made moqueca, i used just fish, and i sauteed the cilantro with the other veg before putting the fish in.. this time around, i added clams, to add more flavor to the broth.. as for the cilantro, instead of sauteeing it, i added it in together with the fish.. and i find that i like the overall taste of the stew better when i did that.. the flavor from the cilantro is stronger and more prominent, making the broth even more fresh tasting.. if you prefer a milder cilantro taste, saute it with the veg instead..

MOQUECA / BRAZILIAN FISH STEW

Ingredients :

  • fish of choice, cut into big pieces
  • lala/Manila clams (or other shellfish), rinsed to get rid of sand and other bits of impurities

  • tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped into cubes
  • red capsicum, seeds removed and chopped into cubes
  • yellow capsicum, seeds removed and chopped into cubes

  • big onions, finely cubed
  • spring onion, chopped
  • cilantro, chopped
  • lemongrass, slightly crushed

  • garlic, minced or crushed
  • limes/lemons, squeezed to get the juice
  • coconut milk mixed with a bit of water
  • pepper flakes (i used gochugaru/Korean red pepper flakes)
  • coarse sea salt
  • ground black pepper

Method :

  • marinate fish pieces with garlic and lime juice for about 15 minutes

  • in a heavy bottom pot, heat up some oil and saute onion until fragrant. let it sweat for a while in the pot
  • when the onion turns translucent, add in red and yellow capsicums, stir well for a few minutes until the capsicums soften a little
  • add in chopped tomatoes and spring onion and stir for a bit

  • turn the heat off, scoop out half the veg mixture into a bowl. set aside for a while
  • spread out remaining veg in the pot evenly. arrange marinated fish pieces on top of the veg layer
  • sprinkle chopped cilantro all over the fish

  • spread the other half of the veg to form a layer on top of the fish and cilantro
  • pour in coconut milk to just about cover everything

  • turn the heat on and bring the stew to a boil
  • lower the heat down and let the stew simmer until the fish is fully cooked. try not to stir too much to avoid breaking the fish pieces apart
  • taste as you cook. add more salt or lime juice if needed
  • when the stew is almost done, add in clams and put the lid on. let the stew boil slowly for 1-2 minutes. don’t let the clams cook for too long or the meat will turn tough and rubbery

  • turn the heat off
  • serve hot, and enjoy

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