Moqueca, which originates from the state of Bahia in Brazil, is a light fish stew in a coconut broth flavored with herbs, ginger root and some tomato. The hearts of palm makes it a wonderfully different dish.
1 green onion, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 small piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons dendê oil (or substitute extra-virgin olive oil, which I did, but stew won’t have the vibrant Bahian hue)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 1/4 pounds sea bass or halibut, cut into 2-inch chunks
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1 1/2 cups fish stock (or substitute clam juice)
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup jarred hearts of palm, drained and chopped
2 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
1. To make the marinade for the fish, mix together half of the green onion, half of the onion, half of the ginger, and half of the garlic. Add 2 tablespoons of the dendê oil, all of the olive oil, and half of the cilantro. Place the pieces of fish in a resealable plastic bag and add the marinade. Pressing the bag to evenly coat the fish. Seal bag and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
2. Remove fish from refrigerator 30 minutes before using.
3. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.
4. Place the remaining 3 tablespoons of the dendê oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the remaining green onion and onion along with the green and yellow bell peppers. Cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
5. Add the remaining ginger and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring to combine, for another minute. Add the fish stock and bring to a boil. Add coconut milk and tomato paste and return to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and allow sauce to simmer.
5. Meanwhile, place the fish and marinade in a baking dish. Pour the lemon juice on top and season with salt and pepper. Bake until fish is almost cooked, 10 to 12 minutes.
6. Transfer fish to the sauté pan with the gently simmering sauce. Add any juices left in the baking dish. Cover the sauté pan, reduce heat to low, and cook until the fish is tender, 5 to 8 minutes.
7. Uncover the pan, add hearts of palm and tomatoes, and stir until hot, about a minute or two.
8. Taste the stew, season with salt and pepper then sprinkle with the remaining cilantro.
This is new from Porto Alegre, Brazil-based band Não Ao Futebol Moderno (maybe). Perfect with some Fish Stew.
Check out Não Ao Futebol Moderno (Now, I’m not going to pretend that I know this is the band’s name, but I DO know the release is on Umbaduba Records) on the Umbaduba Records Bandcamp page, where you can buy the music.