Moqueca Brazilian Seafood Stew

Moqueca Brazilian Seafood Stew



Shrimp Stock:

  • 1/2 to 1 pound shrimp, in shell
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 onion, roughly cut into 1” wedges
  • 1 carrot, washed, roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, leaves on, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 to 4 stalks cilantro or parsley
  • 2 sprigs of thyme (about 1/4 teaspoon of dried)
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 3 plum tomatoes or two standard (or several tomatoes from a can of whole tomatoes)
  • 1/4 cup 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced pole to pole
  • 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced, preferably one orange and one red
  • 1 jarred dedo de moça chile (substitute 1 Fresno or 1 jalapeno, chopped)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) dry white wine
  • 3 cups reserved shrimp stock (substitute a store-bought stock or chicken broth if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, more if desired (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons dendê (red palm) oil (substitute same amount of Annatto oil or 1/2 teaspoon of paprika plus 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric stirred into 2 tablespoons olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, parsley or thinly sliced green onion for garnish
  • lime wedges
  • 3 cups rice for serving


Shrimp Stock:

Peel and refrigerate shrimp until ready to use. Combine shells, 4 cups water, onion, carrot, celery, cilantro, thyme, garlic, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reduces to about 3 cups, about 30 minutes.

Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard solids. Set stock aside until ready to use. (Stock can be stored in an airtight container up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 1 month in the freezer.)


Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil over high. Add tomatoes; cook until skins begin to loosen, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tomatoes to a bowl filled with ice water; let stand until cool, about 5 minutes. Remove from ice water; peel and discard tomato skins. Remove and discard seeds. Chop tomatoes into 3/4-inch pieces. If using canned tomatoes, open each tomato, discard andy seeds and chop into 3/4 inch pieces. Extra tomatoes from the can may be frozen in their juices until another use can be found for them. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high. Add tomato pieces, onion, bell pepper, and dedo de moça chile (or substitute). Cook, stirring often until onion and bell pepper are softened, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add wine; cook, stirring occasionally until mostly evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in shrimp stock; bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, until mixture reduces by half, about 30 to 40 minutes. Reduce heat to low; stir in coconut milk, salt, and pepper. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir dendê oil or substitute. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve over rice with lime wedges; garnish with cilantro or parsley leaves or green onion.


  • This stew is much faster with purchased stock and canned tomatoes.
  • If your shrimp is large, it can be pan-fried in a bit of oil over hot heat, carefully until just done and it picks up a bit of color. With smaller shrimp just drop in the broth to quickly cook through.

Keywords: Alcohol, annatto, Bargain Meal of the Week, Bell Peppers, Brazilian, canned tomatoes, Carrots, celery, coconut milk, Fish and Seafood, Hot Peppers, Rice, Shrimp, Soup, Tomatoes, Wine

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