Brazilian Salmon Stew (Moqueca)

In Bahia in Northern Brazil, there is a savory fish stew called “Moqueca” that they make with local fish. Fernanda Guimaraes Rosa, who writes the Brazilian food blog Chucrute com Salsicha, brought a Vancouver friend’s salmon version of Moqueca to party a while ago, and it was wonderful, my favorite dish of the day.

Salmon Moqueca

The salmon is marinated first with lime juice, paprika, and cumin, and then simmered with onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers, in coconut milk. It was even better the next day.

  • Prep: 25 minutes
  • Cook: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8



  • The cloves from 1/2 head of garlic, peeled, crushed, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons of fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon of coarse salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of sweet paprika
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of dry cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of salmon, cut into 2-inch pieces (largish-bite sized pieces)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded, de-stemmed, and sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 14-ounce can thick coconut milk
  • 1 large bunch fresh cilantro, chopped, 1-2 cups


1 Marinate salmon: Mix together the marinade ingredients. Let the salmon marinate in this paste for at least 2 hours. The longer, the better.


2 Layer ingredients in a large pot: In a large pan (large covered skillet or Dutch oven), coat the bottom of the pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add a layer of sliced onions, and then a layer of sliced bell peppers, and a layer of sliced tomatoes.

salmon-moqueca-method-2 salmon-moqueca-method-3

Place the fish pieces, with the marinade, on top of everything, and start layering again—onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes.

3 Top with cilantro, coconut milk, olive oil: Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Add about half of your fresh cilantro to the top.


Pour coconut milk over the top. Drizzle generously with olive oil over the top (several tablespoons).

4 Simmer: Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, until the vegetables are cooked through.


Garnish with remaining cilantro.

Main Ingredients