Brazil has many delicious foods, so different from State to State that I sometimes feel we are a lot of countries in one. One of my favorite cuisines in Brazil is the one from Bahia, with lots of seafood and fish, and also a ton of African influence.
With beautiful Bahia in my mind, and taking advantage of the amazing seafood offer Chile has, I decided to make a moqueca. Well, kind of, I I couldn’t find a crucial ingredient: dende oil.
For those who don’t know, dende is the fruit of a palm, base for a red and strong oil. Dende oil is the heart of the cuisine of Bahia.
As I couldn’t find dende in Santiago, let’s make the moqueca without it! The result was a lighter moqueca, with more presence of the coconut milk, but equally delicious.
Another adaptation was about coriander. Even though it is heavily used in Chile (so it is quite easy to find), I am a hater. So I decided to use parsley and basil and I won an incredibly perfumed dish!
I hope you like this Brazilian beauty. And a tip: make a little more! As any stew, moqueca is even better on next day, when all the flavors got concentrated!
Shrimp and Hake Moqueca – adapted to Chilean lands
1 yellow bell pepper
2 garlic cloves
½ cup boiling water
7 oz. coconut milk
15 oz. hake (or any firm and white fish)
15 oz. medium shrimp
Juice of ½ lemon
Cut the fish in medium pieces (about 4 fingers wide) and season, together with shrimp, with salt, white pepper and lemon juice. Set aside.
Cut half onion, half bell pepper and 1 tomato in cubes, and slice the rest of them. Chop the garlic.
In a heavy pot (if it is a clay pot, even better), put the olive oil and stir-fry the cubes of onion and bell pepper. When it starts to brown, add the garlic and also let it brown. Add the tomato cubes and a pinch of salt. In low heat, let the tomato release its juices. Pour the water and bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and mix well. Put the fish pieces and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Add the shrimps, the onion, bell pepper and tomato slices and cover (if your pot does not have a lid, you can cover it with aluminum foil).
After 5 minutes, the shrimps will be pink. Season with salt, black pepper and add chopped parsley and green onions. When you are ready to serve it, add the chopped basil.
Serve immediately, very hot, with white rice.
I hope this recipe makes a huge success in your home as it was in mine!