Bahian Seafood Stew with Coconut and Tomato


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. More Seafood Recipes

Bahian Seafood Stew with Coconut and Tomato
Photo: © John Kernick
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 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


  1. 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.

Serve With

Steamed white rice and thin lime wedges.

Suggested Pairing

Rich Chardonnays from Argentina's Mendoza are just the thing for this rich and complex shrimp dish.

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