Across Brazil, home cooks put their own spin on this classic dish. This version of moqueca, featuring shrimp, tomato, peppers, and chiles bobbing in a broth enriched with coconut milk and dende oil, is a perfect entry point for the uninitiated. Traditionally slow-simmered in clay pots, the stew comes together in a Dutch oven and packs maximum flavor with minimal effort. Look for dedo de moça chiles and dendê oil in Latin grocery stores or online.

May 2019


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

2 hrs
1 hr




Make the shrimp stock:
  • Remove heads and shells from shrimp; set aside. Devein shrimp; place shrimp in a bowl, and chill, covered, until ready to use. Combine shrimp heads and shells, 4 cups water, onion, carrot, wine, celery, cilantro, thyme, garlic, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reduces to about 3 cups, about 30 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard solids. Set stock aside until ready to use. (Stock can be stored in an airtight container up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 1 month in the freezer.)

Make the stew:
  • Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil over high. Add tomatoes; cook until skins begin to loosen, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tomatoes to a bowl filled with ice water; let stand until cool, about 5 minutes. Remove from ice water; peel and discard tomato skins. Remove and discard seeds. Chop tomatoes into 3/4-inch pieces.

  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high. Add tomato pieces, onion, bell pepper, and dedo de moça chile. Cook, stirring often, until onion and bell pepper are softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring occasionally, until mostly evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in shrimp stock; bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, until mixture reduces by half, about 40 minutes. Reduce heat to low; stir in 1/4 cup coconut milk and 1 teaspoon salt.

  • Remove shrimp from refrigerator; sprinkle with black pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over high. Add shrimp; cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

  • Stir dendê oil and remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk into stew. Reduce heat to low, and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in shrimp and chopped cilantro. Serve over rice with lime wedges; garnish with cilantro leaves.