Fish in Coconut Stew
This is a popular Brazilian stew, rich with creamy coconut milk. An authentic ingredient is palm oil (dendê), which lends a distinctive flavor and color, but you can use more olive oil instead.
Prepare ahead: Prepare, cool, and refrigerate the stew up through step 1 up to 1 day ahead. When ready to serve, heat and add the fish. The salsa can be made up to 1 day ahead, but stir in the chopped parsley at the last minute.
Preparation Time15 min
Cooking Time35 min
Total Timeunder 1 hour
Make Ahead RecipeYes
One Pot MealYes
Recipe CourseMain Course
Taste and TextureCreamy, Herby, Rich, Sharp
Type of DishFish Soup, Soup
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 3 ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded, and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 cup canned coconut milk
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1¾ lb (800g) firm white fish, such as cod and snapper, cut into large chunks or strips
- 3 tbsp palm oil (optional)
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1 ripe tomato, skinned, seeded, and chopped
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tsp hot pepper sauce
Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, until tender but not browned. Add the tomatoes and the peppers. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, until the vegetables have softened and released their juices. Stir in the coconut milk and tomato paste and return to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, make the salsa. Mix all the ingredients together and spoon into a serving bowl. Set aside to allow the flavors to blend.
Add the fish to the coconut milk mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes, until the fish is opaque throughout. Do not overcook. Stir in the palm oil, if using.
Transfer the stew to a heated serving dish and sprinkle with the cilantro. Serve hot, with the salsa passed on the side.
Farofa de Dendê: To make this traditional side dish, heat 2 tbsp dendê oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add 1 chopped onion and cook 5 minutes until tender. Add ½ cup manioc flour and 15 soaked drained, and finely chopped dried shrimp. Cook, stirring, until the flour is toasted, about 5 minutes.
2008 Dorling Kindersley