Moqueca (Brazilian Seafood Soup)


This tangy, buttery, gorgeous soup — bright red with dendê oil — is Daniel Boulud's riff on a recipe by French chef Claude Troisgros.

Brazilian Seafood Soup (Moqueca)
Photo: © Stephanie Foley
Active Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 30 mins


Marinated Seafood

  • 3 pounds large shrimp—shelled and deveined, shells reserved

  • 3 pounds mahimahi, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 2 pounds cleaned squid—bodies cut into 1/4-inch rings, tentacles halved

  • 3 tablespoons finely grated ginger

  • 6 garlic cloves, minced

  • 3 tablespoons dendê oil (see Note) or peanut oil

  • 3 pounds large shrimp—shelled and deveined, shells reserved

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Shrimp Stock

  • Reserved shrimp shells

  • 2 quarts water

  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh ginger

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar

  • Stems from 1 bunch of cilantro

  • 3 thyme sprigs


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • Three 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk

  • 2 tablespoons dendê oil or peanut oil

  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped

  • Salt

  • 1 pound plum tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped

  • Leaves from 1 bunch of cilantro (1 cup)

  • One 14-ounce can hearts of palm—drained, rinsed and thinly sliced

  • Coconut-Cashew Rice, for serving


  1. Marinate the Seafood: In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the shells and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

  2. Meanwhile, Make the Shrimp Stock: In a large saucepan, cover the shrimp shells with the water. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes. Let cool. Strain the stock.

  3. Make the Soup: In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour; whisk over moderately low heat until foamy, about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk; whisk over high heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and keep warm.

  4. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 1 tablespoon of the dendê oil. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes. Add half of the tomatoes and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the marinated seafood and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in the soup and simmer until the seafood is just cooked, 6 minutes. Stir in the cilantro.

  5. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of dendê oil. Add the hearts of palm and the remaining tomatoes, season with salt and cook over high heat until warmed through, 1 minute. Spoon the Coconut-Cashew Rice into shallow bowls and ladle the soup on top. Garnish with the hearts of palm and tomatoes and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Given its resemblance to Provençal bouillabaisse, Boulud poured a Provençal rosé.

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