Monday, February 11, 2013
Moqueca, the fish stew of Bahia
700 gr. cod
400 gr. coconut milk
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1 clove of garlic
2 sprigs of cilantro, and some chives
6 tablespoons olive oil
My first recipe fro the culinary culture of Brazil. A fish stew with over 300 years of history and roots in the native's folk tradition. A simple dish, quick and very tasty. Refreshing and fragrant. Easy on the palate and definitely suitable to persuade children to eat fish, given his inviting look, colorful and slightly creamy consistency of the coconut milk. It's a stew usually prepared in a terra cotta pot where you can perfectly put all the ingredients together from the start. But I started by frying the prawn's heads to accentuate the flavor. Its a dish that is suitable for any type of fish and shellfish. I chose cod for its pulp and prawns for the strong and sweet flavor.
There are two main versions of this dish: the moqueca Capixaba from Southeast and the Bahian moqueca (north-east). The basic difference: in the first you do not use coconut milk and neither the sweet palm oil called "Dende", but olive oil and urucum (a natural color).
I made the Bahian but has i haven't not found the Dende, I used olive oil with the addition of a bit of paprika.
Season the slices of cod and put them in a bowl with the juice of one lime and let marinate for at least 30 min. . Heat the oil in a terra cotta pot and add the heads of three prawns crushing them to pull out all the juice of the head. Just browned, add the finely chopped garlic, sweet paprika and immediately after the grated tomato. Toss ans place a layer of sliced onions and peppers, half of the chopped herbs, the slices of cod with its released water, another layer of vegetables, the rest of the herbs, coconut milk, a pinch of salt and cover. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. .A few minutes before switching off, add the prawn’s tails. If you prefer add the prawns whole especially if you like to suck the head, leave them whole.
Serve with steamed rice, basmati or any long grain type.