Bahia-style Moqueca prawn stew

Bahia-style Moqueca prawn stew

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(34 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 25 mins plus chilling


Serves 4
A Brazilian-inspired seafood casserole with creamy coconut sauce, coriander garnish and plenty of sunshine spice

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal398
  • fat28g
  • saturates22g
  • carbs12g
  • sugars8g
  • fibre3g
  • protein23g
  • salt0.6g
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  • 450g large, raw, peeled prawn



    There are thousands of different species of prawn, but tiger, king and North Atlantic are the…

  • 75ml lime juice
  • 3 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 spring onion, chopped
    Spring onions

    Spring onion

    sp-ring un-yun

    Also known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested…

  • 1 onion, sliced into half moons



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp paprika



    A spice that's central to Hungarian cuisine, paprika is made by drying a particular type of…

  • 3 plum tomato, deseeded and chopped
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • steamed rice, to serve



    Rice is a grain, the seed of a type of grass, which is the most widely grown and the most…


  1. Place the prawns in a bowl with 2 tbsp of the lime juice, 1 tsp of salt and 1 tbsp of the chopped garlic. Chill for 1 hr.

  2. Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan. Add the spring onion and onion and fry for 5 mins, then add the red pepper, chilli flakes, paprika and remaining garlic.

  3. Pour in the tomatoes, coconut milk and a little salt. Bring to a simmer and let reduce for 10 mins. Add the prawns, all the marinade and remaining lime juice. Gently simmer until the prawns turn white, about 3 mins. Serve with the fresh coriander and rice.

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Comments (25)

jcrawley's picture

Just had this for dinner and it was absolutely lovely! We used a little less chilli than suggested and also put some scallops in it. Didn't have coconut oil so just used some melted butter. Will definitely have again!

Irgeorgina's picture

I originally tried moqueca at Rainforest cafe in Florida and instantly fell in love. I'm sooo happy I've found this recipe, like falling in love all over again!

ale_kiri's picture

Fantastic recipe, cannot fault it!
I used some cod in addition to prawns and it worked very well :)

joktattie's picture

What a splendid idea!

KsenijaB's picture

Excellent dish. Also works with fish cut in small pieces. And fresh tomatoes can be substituted with a small can of peeled and deseeded ones - saves time.

lseastwood's picture

Delicious, easy and surprisingly light for a cream based sauce. Will make again

justhorses's picture

Absolutely delicious. Added some tomato puree but other than that I stuck to the recipe.

warvik's picture

Fantastic recipe, husband and I inhaled it far too fast. Only changes I made was to substitute the coconut oil for normal cooking oil and add a squirt of tomato paste to add a bit more depth to the sauce.

As a previous commenter suggested, we had it with the coconut toasted rice from the sidebar and it's a really great combination.

catie74's picture

Delicious. I halved the recipe as only 2 of us but also added a couple of scallops each. Great served with rice or cauliflower rice

lobsterpot1's picture

My partner loved this. I found it a bit heavy going.

missflops's picture

This dish is very, very good indeed. I had never used coconut oil before, so it was a new and lovely taste experience. I used two tins of coconut milk and upped the quantities of all the other ingredients to ensure there was plenty for the four of us ...... and there was!! Do give this dish a try, it is delicious. Will very definitely be making it again.

holly.dyson1993's picture

I haven't bothered to leave comments on any recipes prior to this but this one really was amazing. I made it for my mum and I; she doesn't normally have a lot to say about food other than that it's 'nice', but she absolutely raved over this. Delicious!

rachellejragasa's picture

I recently went to Las Iguanas and tried a bit of my friends Bahia Moqueca and i loved it so much so i thought id give it a shot in making it myself. I used this recipe to make dinner for my friends and it was a success. There was 4 of us so this recipe was perfect. I added 2 peppers, 1 red and 1 orange and also added sweet potato. I ran out of paprika so i used 1/2 a teaspoon of cayenne pepper which i found to be a good alternative and a decent amount as it just gave the recipe a bit of a kick but not too overpowering.

Sarahkw's picture

Loved this! Really yummy and fresh tasting, will add to the regular meals list!

MrsLB's picture

This was ok. Nothing special and I found the lime to be a bit overwhelming.

sirCampos's picture

Been to Brasil 3 times and had a lot of Moqueca there.
This is spot on, brilliant and simple.

joanna1972's picture

This was fabulous...didn't change a thing (apart from not being about to get coconut oil) very easy to put together too!

rachellejwood's picture

This was absolutely delicious! I made it with the toasted coconut rice but cooked that with and entire tin of coconut milk, reduced it right down and then added the water. It was delicious together! Will definitely make again!

AliceStewart's picture

super yummy, great! something different, and so easy to cook!

kathrynedgington's picture

I couldn't find coconut oil so used rapeseed, but it was delicious definitely will have this again really easy and loved the spicy kick


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Tips (2)

CCiaran's picture

Not a bad rendition but to be called Bahian this dish should include Dendé palm oil specific to the region which gives it a very distinct taste (I have found it in the back aisles of some Asian stores). Also, would not marinate the prawns in lime juice for an hour, they will be completely over cooked. 10 mins at most and add at the very end of cooking. The dish would be greatly improved with the addition of some white fish and is traditionally served with pirou.

Eduardo curi's picture

This recipe might taste good but definately is not authentic. Orange palm oil is mandatory in Bahia stews. In authentic brazilian cuisine we don´t use paprika either.

This is a truly authentic recipe for another style of moqueca that comes from Espirito Santo, a state neighbouring Bahia:

Moqueca Capixaba
Fish stew from Espírito Santo


1 seawater fish cut up transversaly in pieces 1'' thick (postas)
2 onions
2 tomatoes
1 tsp colorau
Salt and black pepper
Chile (optional)
Coriander for garnish
Juice of one lime

For the pirão

Fish´s head
2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper
Cassava flour


30 minutes before cooking, season fish with salt and lime

In a small sauce pan, stir fry the garlic, onion and colorau

Add salt and put the head in

Cover with boiling water and cook for 40/60 minutes

Take the head off the water, remove and reserve the meat from it

Strain the water and discard solids, returning the meat to the remaining liquid, reserve

In a clay pot or a heavy saucepan layer the sliced onion, tomato and fish until finished
Sprinkle with colorau, salt and pepper, turn on the heat, cover the pan and cook until fish is done

Boil the fish´s head soup and add cassava flour little by little, stirring constantly so it won´t lump until you have a creamy pirão (it hardens when cool, beware)

Serve with white rice