Moqueca is a signature dish from Bahia, Brazil. The ingredient that makes it stansd out is red palm oil. It gives the dish a sweet, nutty flavor and rish red color. You can find red palm oil in African grocery stores or online. Believe me, it's worth the search!
· 1– 1 1/2 pounds firm white fish- Halibut, Black Cod, Sea Bass (thicker cuts are best)
· ½ teaspoon salt
· one lime- zest and juice
· 1 onion- finely diced (red, white or yellow)
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1 cup carrot, diced
· 1 red bell pepper, diced
· 4 garlic cloves- rough chopped
· 1/2 jalapeno, finely diced
· 1 tablespoon tomato paste
· 2 teaspoons paprika
· 1 teaspoon ground cumin (or whole seed)
· 1 cup fish or chicken stock
· 1 1/2 cups tomatoes, diced
· 1 14-ounce can coconut milk ( liquid and solids)
· more salt to taste
· ½ cup chopped cilantro, scallions or Italian parsley
· squeeze of lime
Place the fish chunks in a large bowl and season with 1 teaspoon salt.
Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime and toss to coat. Set the fish aside while preparing the sauce.
In a large, shallow Dutch oven or large, deep skillet, melt 2 tablespoons red palm oil over medium heat. Red palm oil has a VERY low smoking point, so be sure to turn on your exhaust fan. The smoking will stop once you add the other ingredients .
Add the onion, stir and cook, stirring until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant, 1 minute.
Increase the heat to high, add the peppers and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the peppers are softened and any liquid from the tomatoes is beginning to evaporate, 4 minutes.
Pour in the coconut milk, stir and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens and reduces to a creamy sauce, about 10 minutes. Taste, adjust the salt, if necessary, and stir in 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro.
Carefully place the fish in the sauce and cook until the fish is tender and just cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes.
Remove from heat, drizzle in the remaining 1 tablespoon red palm oil and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro. Slice the remaining lime into wedges. Serve immediately, with steamed rice and lime wedges for squeezing.