I tasted moqueca for the first time along the Brazilian coast south of Rio de Janeiro, and I was instantly hooked. Brazilian seafood stews of this type will blow your mind. Every time I cook this dish for friends and family, even on Food Network’s All-Star Academy, the reaction is the same: amazement. I’ve used halibut, mussels and shrimp in this recipe, but feel free to use whatever seafood you’d like.


  • 1 lb. skinless halibut fillet, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 serrano chiles, seeded and minced (2 1/2 tablespoons)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups bottled clam juice
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 lb. mussels, scrubbed
  • 2 tablespoons natural cashew butter
  • Salt


1. In a medium bowl, toss the fish with 1 tablespoon of the lime juice. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Drain and pat dry.
2. In a large pot, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the fish in a single layer and brown on one side over moderately high heat, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
3. Add the onion, chiles, garlic and the half of the chopped cilantro to the pot. Season with salt and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another couple minutes. Add the clam juice and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to moderate and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and simmer until thickened slightly, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the shrimp and the mussels into the stew, cover, and cook until the mussels have opened, about 3 minutes. If all of the mussels are submerged in the liquid, then you do not need to cover the pot.
5. Whisk the cashew butter with 1 tablespoon of hot water, then stir it into the stew. Return the fish to the pot. Stir and cook for a minute to heat through. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of lime juice, cilantro and season with salt. Transfer the stew to bowls, garnish with additional cilantro and serve.


Andrew Zimmern


4 servings