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Brazilian Prawn Stew/ Moqueca

Moqueca is a stew, native to the northern state of Bahia in Brazil. It is made with fish, onions, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, red peppers and coconut milk.
Servings: 4



  • 250 g prawns

For marination

  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne/ red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste

For gravy

  • 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 5 garlic cloves minced/ 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1/2 of red bell pepper/capsicum cut lengthwise
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cayenne/ red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 1/2 to matoes pureed
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  • Cilantro/ coriander leaves



  • Marinate prawns with the ingredients listed under marination and keep for 1/2 an hour.
  • Shallow fry in coconut oil and keep aside.
  • To make gravy, add more oil to the same pan in which you fried the prawns and put in the chopped onions.
  • Once the onions turn nicely soft and brown, add in the garlic. Sauté for a minute.
  • Add in the red bell pepper, stir well and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Put in the cumin, paprika, red chilli/ cayenne powder and sugar. Sauté for a minute under low flame.
  • Pour in the tomato puree. Cook for 5 minutes till oil separates from it.
  • Pour the vegetable stock to it.
  • Add in the prawns and salt. Cover and cook on low for 10 minutes.
  • Pour in the thick coconut milk and bring it to a boil.
  • Add in chopped coriander leaves. Turn off the heat and drizzle a tsp of coconut oil on top of the curry.


* You can make this with any firm white fish.
* If you like the flavor of fish stock, go ahead and replace vegetable stock with it.
* If you want more gravy, add 1/2 cup of water while cooking with prawns.