Bahian Fish and Shrimp Moqueca – Moqueca Baiana de Peixe e Camarão


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Com o seu sabor autêntico, a moqueca de peixe e camarão baiano é um prato ideal para servir numa refeição completa, celebrando toda a riqueza da cultura gastronómica brasileira.

About Moqueca Baiana
Moqueca is a Brazilian dish that originated from the immersion between indigenous, European, and African culinary legacies. The native Brazilian people had a dish called pokeka, which was a slow cooked fish wrapped in a sheet. The cooking method used was known as moquém.

With the Portuguese colonization, the tradition of European “cozidos” came to Brazil. Soon, there was a mixture between native and European traditions and tropical fish started to be used in the preparation of the stews, giving rise to moqueca.

In the Bahia region, the African immigrants added their own ingredients and preparation methods to the dish. Thus, the Bahian moqueca was created, which, in addition to fish and seafood, takes dende oil and coconut milk.

If you want a milder version of moqueca, be sure to check out our Moqueca Capixaba recipe.

To learn more, we talk about the history of moqueca in Brazil and the main types.

Essential Ingredients for Traditional Bahian Moqueca

Fish is the main protagonist of Bahian Moqueca. For this recipe it is essential to choose fish with a firmer consistency that doesn’t fall apart during cooking. Among the most recommended fish to make the moqueca are: cação, robalo, badejo, pintado, dourado, namorado, filhote, dentão, papaterra, and garoupa.

Another important ingredient in this moqueca baiana recipe is shrimp. Because it is a seafood that requires more delicate cooking, it is essential to add the shrimp at the end of the preparation.

Palm oil
Palm oil is one of the main African heritages in the preparation of Bahian moqueca. Also known as palm oil, this ingredient is responsible for the reddish color of the moqueca sauce and for its slightly sweet taste. It is easily found in supermarkets and emporiums throughout the country.

Coconut Milk
Resulting from the African influence, coconut milk is an essential ingredient in the preparation of Bahian moqueca, bringing creaminess to the dish. Give preference to the homemade coconut milk, which preserves all the flavor of the fruit.

Tips for making a delicious Bahian Moqueca
How to make homemade coconut milk
Coconut milk can be prepared by hand. To make coconut milk you must blend dried coconut pieces in a blender with hot water for about 4 minutes. Then simply strain the milk through a fine sieve or cotton cloth.

Marinate the fish before
To ensure that the fish used in the moqueca incorporates the flavor of the seasonings it is essential to marinate it beforehand. In this step, the seasonings must be beaten in a processor or blender until they form a paste. Then just add this marinade to the fish cut into slices, cover with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

What is the ideal pan for moqueca baiana?
Although it is possible to make the recipe in aluminum or iron pots, the ideal pot for cooking Bahian Moqueca is made of clay. This material allows for a uniform cooking of the ingredients, perfectly harmonizing the seasonings with the flavor of the fish and seafood. Furthermore, the clay pot keeps the heat in for longer, keeping the dish warm during the whole meal.

Be careful when cooking the shrimp
The shrimp require less cooking time and therefore should be added at the end of the moqueca preparation. This way the shrimp doesn’t get hard.

Variations in Bahia’s Moqueca

There are several ways to vary the preparation of moqueca, adding new flavors or adapting to dietary restrictions:

  • Other seafood can be used in the preparation of moqueca baiana, such as squid, octopus, shellfish (sururu) or crab;
  • The fish can be replaced by other proteins such as chicken and carne-seca;
  • Egg moqueca is a very popular vegetarian option;
  • For a vegan recipe, you can replace the fish and shrimp with plantains, heart of palm, or mushrooms.

How to serve the Bahian Moqueca

Moqueca Baiana is usually served with white rice, pirão de peixe (fish stew), and farofa (manioc flour). For drinks, the suggestion is a tropical fruit juice or caipirinha.

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