Chef John's Brazilian Fish Stew


My interpretation of Brazilian seafood stew (or moqueca) uses just fish, so I'm calling it the weeknight version. It's ready to serve in less than 30 minutes.

Prep Time:
12 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
32 mins
6 servings


  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup uncooked white rice

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 4 cloves minced garlic

  • 2 teaspoons paprika

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • cayenne pepper to taste

  • 1 (14 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, halved and thinly sliced

  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and thinly sliced

  • ¼ cup chopped green onion

  • 1 ½ pounds sea bass fillets, cut into chunks

  • 1 pinch salt

  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice


  1. Bring water and rice to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes.

  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook and stir just until onions start to get soft, 3 or 4 minutes. Add tomato paste, garlic, paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Continue cooking about 3 minutes. Pour in coconut milk and add soy sauce. When mixture starts to bubble, let it simmer about 5 minutes.

  3. Increase heat to medium-high. Stir in bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, and green onions. Let mixture come back to a simmer. Transfer fish to skillet; stir. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until fish starts to flake, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add salt, cilantro, and lime juice; stir carefully to avoid breaking up the fish. Serve with rice.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

399 Calories
19g Fat
33g Carbs
26g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 399
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 13g 67%
Cholesterol 47mg 16%
Sodium 600mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 33mg 163%
Calcium 56mg 4%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 657mg 14%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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