mmm... moqueca!

Despite being vegetarian for five years, ever since the small person came on the scene, I've eaten fish. I don't know if it's because I know I'll be giving it up again once he's weaned, but lately it seems like I just can't get enough. While I'd be happy having it lightly dusted with herbed flour and cooked in butter, I've also been trying to mix things up a bit.

Moqueca is a Bahian stew flavoured with lime and coconut. For an authentic version, you need dende oil, which I haven't been able to find. Apparently the dende can be replaced with African red palm oil, but I haven't been able to get that either. I also used my Le Creuset French oven to cook it in and not a clay pot. And finally, I used a red chilli paste, instead of the malagueta peppers the original recipe called for. Brazilian purists may well think I have no place calling this dish "moqueca" at all!

All the same, this totally inauthentic dish tasted magnificent, and will definitely be appearing on the menu again. Perhaps I'll have more luck finding the oil before my next attempt. I don't think I'll be lashing out on a clay pot to cook it in though.




Moqueca de peixe


850g white fish fillets
4 limes, juiced
1 tbspn olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tspn minced chilli
2 capsicum, seeded and diced
2 onions, chopped
3 cups crushed tomato
2 cups coconut milk

Method

Cut the fish into medium sized chunks and cover with lime juice. Marinate for at least one hour. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan. Saute the onion and capsicum until the onion is transparent. Add the garlic and chilli and saute until fragrant. Stir in the tomato and cook for around five minutes. Finally add the fish and coconut milk and simmer until the fish is cooked through. Serve with rice.

Note: For Brazilian style rice, saute two cloves of minced garlic in oil until crispy. Add 2 cups of long grain rice and cook until the rice is transparent. Add 3 cups of water, cover and simmer until absorbed. Delicious!

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