Brazilian Moqueca

Fish, Shrimp and Mussel Soup


Tito Alejandro Alarcón Pradena

This is a traditional moqueca that has the cashew butter added. To some this makes it a vatapa, but to others that is splitting hairs. There are as many ways to make this as there are fish in the sea. This recipe serves 4-6.


1 lb. whole shrimp (16 count work great)

1 lb. mussels -- big fat plump New Zealand Green Lip mussels or Mediterranean black mussels work best

1 lb. halibut, grouper, snapper or cod filets or steaks

2 tbs. lime juice, plus more for seasoning

2 tbs. vegetable oil

3 Thai bird chilies or 1 habanero chili

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 onions, sliced thin

2 tbs. tomato paste

1 cup coconut milk

2 tbs. cashew butter

4 tbs. minced cilantro leaves

2 cups shrimp or shellfish stock


Marinate the fish for 1 hour in half the lime juice.

Pat dry and lightly brown over high heat in the oil in a large pot.

Add the vegetables, herbs and spices.

Saute briefly and, when glassy, add the tomato paste.

Stir, and add the shellfish stock and bring to a boil.

Remove the fish and let rest on a plate; continue to boil the stock.

After stock has reduced by 1/3, add the coconut milk and simmer until soup has thickened.

Add the shrimp and cover, cooking for a minute or so to cook shrimp through.

Add the fish and mussels back to the pot, cook until mussels have opened.

Season with salt and lime juice, swirl in the cashew butter and serve.

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