Brazilian Fish Stew aka Moqueca Baiana {GF, Keto, Paleo, Whole 30}

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This is quick and easy Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca Baiana). Everyday pantry staples like coconut milk, lime and fish are combined into making this Traditional Brazilian Seafood recipe. The recipe is suitable for gluten-free, Keto, Paleo and Whole 30 diets.

A Pot of Moqueca Baiana (Brazilian Fish Stew) with plates, spoons and straws around it

I am in a Brazilian kind of mood a lot and have spent the last few weeks getting my Brazilian groove on. So it has been all about samba, lambada, funk carioca, beach moments and vibrant colours.

Any excuse peeps, any excuse to visit Brazil without actually visiting Brazil. This groove also includes whipping up a lot of Brazilian treats such as Feijoada, Caipirinha, Acarajé and my current favourite Moqueca Baiana.

What is Moqueca Baiana

One of the things I love, so make regularly, is a Brazilian Fish Stew aka  Moqueca Baiana. This thick vibrant seafood stew is fragrant with garlic, chillis, coconut milk and lime. and originates from the Bahia region in Brazil. All the lovely flavours peeps, all the flavours.

It gives you the taste of the tropics, and while it is exotic and could have been a little rich and the lime and the coconut milk work together really well to give you the perfect flavour.

This dish does call for a little bit of palm oil which gives it a really distinct flavour. But if you don’t have palm oil just substitute in some coconut oil instead.

I have been meaning to share a recipe for this Brazilian Fish Stew here for the longest time but tend to eat it before I get round to photographing it. Luckily I had to make a rather big pot of it for one of our mini Brazilian gatherings, hence this post.

A Pot of Moqueca Baiana (Brazilian Fish Stew) with plates, spoons and straws around it with a blue napkin

I am trying to make smarter food buying choices. Which means small changes like using sustainable fish as much as I can. So for example, I decided to use mackerel in this fish stew, as it is on MSC “the fish to eat” list and is easy for me to get hold of. I love it and it works really well in the stew. So try it (or sub in another sustainable fish to your preference) and see what you think.

How to Make Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca Baiana)

  • Step 1. Season the fish with some lime juice and salt and chill. Make sure to do this in a ceramic mixing bowl.
  • Step 2. Sautee the onions followed by the peppers, garlic and chilli.
  • Step 3. Stir in the fish stock, chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, palm oil and minced coriander and cook for about 20 mins until the stew has reduced by a fifth.
  • Step 4. Add the fish and lime juice and cook till the fish flesh starts to flake, season with extra lime juice and serve.

Oh and the fun I have when serving up the Moqueca Baiana. I go seriously colour crazy throwing in as many bits of Brazilian colour as I can. If I can’t be there, I will make it here is my motto.

What To Serve With Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca Baiana)

This awesome fish stew is best served with some rice or plantains on the side.

A Pot of Moqueca Baiana (Brazilian Fish Stew) garnished with cilantro with plates, spoons and straws around it

Thank you for reading my Brazilian Fish Stew recipe post. And please come visit again as I continue dreaming up recipes, traditional African recipes, African fusion recipes, Sierra Leone recipes, travel plans and much more for you.

Get The Moqueca Baiana Recipe


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A Pot of Moqueca Baiana (Brazilian Fish Stew) with plates, spoons and straws around it
Print Recipe
5 from 9 votes

Brazilian Fish Stew aka Moqueca Baiana and Brabantia Love

Brazilian fish stew aka Moqueca Baiana
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Main
Servings: 6
Calories: 461kcal
Author: Bintu Hardy


  • 1 kg (2.2lb) mackerel cut into chunks
  • 2 limes juiced divided
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 red chilli deseeded and finely chopped
  • 500 ml (2 cups) warm fish stock
  • 400 g (14oz) tin chopped tomatoes
  • 250 ml (1 cup) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp palm oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp minced coriander cilantro
  • Rice and herbs like coriander, for serving


  • Put the fish in a ceramic mixing bowl, add in the juice of 1 lime juice and some salt, mix well and chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat, add in the onion cook for about 5 mins until softened. Then add in the peppers, garlic and chilli and cook for a further 5 mins.
  • Mix in the fish stock, chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, palm oil and minced coriander, bring it to the boil, then reduce heat and cook for about 20 mins until the stew has reduced by a fifth.
  • Add in the fish and lime juice and cook till the fish flesh starts to flake, up to 10 mins. Season with extra lime juice to your taste before serving with rice and herbs.
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I used Mackerel as I love it but you can use any firm white fish of your choice.


Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 512mg | Potassium: 1122mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 925IU | Vitamin C: 90.6mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 4.6mg




















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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This looks incredible. We are really in to Brazilian food at the moment, as we have had a couple of restaurants open up, but I need to try making it myself.

  2. 5 stars
    Loving your Brazilian Fish Stew Bintu and also loving the Brabantia Bins. I have a Brabantia pedal bin and it cheers up my kitchen no end:-)

  3. I’ve needed a bin for ages. Oddly, we’ve been making do in the kitchen with a bag because I can’t find one that I like. The pale green one looks like the perfect colour – thanks!!

  4. 5 stars
    Yummmm, there is just something super delish and satisfying about fish curry! I think because the fish soaks up all those gorgeous flavours and transforms into something completely new. Can’t wait to try this! Also, how cool are those herb scissors? Would love to have a pair of those on hand. They’d be so much easier than using a knife.

  5. Oh, my! That is a gorgeous photo and I am drooling all over the laptop! We don’t see much mackerel in this area but I am sure I can find a good sub. That sauce looks delicious!

  6. 5 stars
    You’ve got me salivating Bintu! I just had Brazilian beef stew for lunch with yuca thrown in the mix. I bet this fish stew taste wayyyy better than the take out one . YUM!

  7. This fish stew looks to die for and I wish I had a bowl of it right now for my dinner. Definitely pinning this one for later! BTW, you are definitely not ‘sad’ to be using cutting boards as a centre piece – they look great! And your photos – so stunning!!

  8. I love everything about this recipe — including the photos! Gorgeous! I’m also seriously coveting those herb scissors right now!! I love fresh fish in the summer time so this recipe seems perfect. I don’t think I’ve ever made a fish stew but there’s always a first time for everything, right? Going to pin for later! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Exactly, they are seriously stunning and now the New Icon pedal bin coming with such environmental credentials make me love them as a brand even more.

  9. 5 stars
    There is just something about summer, I always find that we eat more fish in summer. This stew is gorgeous Bintu. I love the colors and richness of it.