Moqueca Bahia Fish Stew

Updated May 09, 2016

Dende oil is a rich, orange-colored, palm oil and is used as a flavoring. It is high in cholesterol so use sparingly. You can find it at Brazilian and Latin American food stores.


Cooking Methodbaking, sauteeing, stewing



Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Five Ingredients or LessYes


Taste and Texturesavory


  • 2 pounds fish steaks, such as halibut, monkfish, tilefish, or swordfish
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, deveined, and chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded, deveined, and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 pound hubbard (winter squash) or pumpkin, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 cup fresh or canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality dende oil (palm oil) (see Note)
  • 2 green plantains, peeled and sliced into l-inch-thick rounds
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 scallions, chopped (include some of the green)
  • Boiled rice and hot pepper sauce, for serving


Season the fish with salt and pepper and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the lime juice. Set aside.

In an ovenproof casserole, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the red and green peppers and garlic and sauté until wilted, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and squash and bring to a simmer. Stir in the coconut milk and dende oil and bring to a simmer. Add the plantains and cilantro, season with salt and pepper, and bury the fish in the sauce. Bake for 20 minutes until the fish flakes easily. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice and sprinkle with the scallions. Serve with rice and hot pepper sauce.



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