In Bahia, cooks prepare endless variations of this traditional stew: with shrimp, with fish and shrimp, with lobster. What's constant is the coconut milk and the dish's freshness and robust simplicity. All you do is sauté aromatic vegetables, then add seafood and coconut milk and simmer briefly until cooked through.
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2 tablespoons canola oil
2 shallots, minced (1/2 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 stalk of lemongrass, tough outer leaves discarded and stalk smashed
3 tomatoes—halved, seeded and cut in 1/4-inch dice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
12 cilantro leaves, plus 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 pound skinless grouper fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
How to Make It
Heat the oil in a medium enameled cast-iron casserole. Add the shallots, garlic, onion, bell pepper, ginger and lemongrass and cook over moderate heat until the vegetables are softened, about 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add them to the casserole along with the coconut milk and cilantro leaves. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Season the grouper with salt and pepper; add to the casserole, cover and cook for 3 minutes. Discard the lemongrass. Add the lime juice and season the stew with salt and pepper. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve.
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