Moqueca de camarão (Shrimp Stew served with rice)

Moqueca de camarão (Shrimp Stew served with rice)

I love how food can be a vehicle for traveling to distant places. International cuisine is a way for me to learn about other cultures by way of my plate. At PCFMA one of our market managers, Lonny Meyer, lived in Brazil and travels there frequently with his Brazilian wife. Naturally I was curious about the dishes of Brazil and decided to collaborate with him on making one. He suggested Moqueca, a shrimp stew that is classically made at home and found in restaurants, and which originates in the state of Bahia. Bahia is known for being a unique place in Brazil for cuisine and culture and is the Afro-Brazilian cultural mecca. 



  • 1-2 lbs. large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 (14- to 15-oz) can diced tomatoes including juice
  • 1 medium red beef steak tomato
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 bunch of coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (Save a pinch for garnish)
  • 1 cup well-stirred canned whole fat coconut milk
  • 3-4 tablespoons dendê (red palm) oil
  • Cooked white rice (Brown rice works as well, or a 50/50 mix!)


Toss shrimp with black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, ¼ of sliced garlic, and lemon juice and marinate in fridge for 20 minutes. Cook onion, garlic and bell pepper in olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add cayenne, 2 tablespoons cilantro, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomato purée and simmer until mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes.

Stir in coconut milk and bring to a boil, add sliced tomatoes, and let cook for 2 minutes. Drain liquid from shrimp and add shrimp to stew, stirring, until shrimp are just cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in dendê oil, remaining cilantro, saving some for garnish, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.