Moqueca de Piexe

IngredientsSeafood, Vegetables, Nuts, Fruits
Day PartDinner, Lunch
Menu PartSoup
Cuisine TypeLatin
Moqueca de Piexe

This Bahian fish stew features three ingredients key to Brazilian cooking: coconut milk, dende oil and farofa. Dende oil imparts a charactertistic yellow tint to the dish. The farofa is a grainy mixture made with flour ground from the starchy manioc tuber. It’s toasted in dende oil and served with the stew for added color and texture. Chef Lopez offers directions for making Moqueca de Peixe in both the traditional method and a reinterpreted method. The more modern reinterpreted method uses tapioca—also made from manioc—and plates the dish in a more refined style.


1 tsp. sea salt
2 garlic cloves
2 lb. sea bass or halibut, skin and bones removed
Dende oil, as needed
1 yellow onion, julienned
1 green bell pepper, peeled, seeded and julienned
2 tomatoes, sliced or julienned
2 ½ cups fresh coconut milk
3 cilantro sprigs
1 lime, juiced
1 cup Farofa de Dende


Traditional Methods/Steps:

  1. Mash salt and garlic cloves into a paste. Rub paste on surface of fish to season it; set aside.
  2. In Dutch oven or clay pot, heat 1/3 cup dende oil. Add onions and bell peppers; sauté over med. heat until translucent.
  3. Add fish, tomatoes, coconut milk and ½ cup dende oil. Bring to a boil; stir in cilantro. Cook 5 min or until fish is just cooked through. Season to taste with salt and freshly squeezed lime juice.
  4. Serve hot, with white rice; sprinkle with Farofa de dende.

Farofa de Dende
1/4 cup dende oil
3 cups farinha (manioc flour)
Salt, to taste

Heat dende oil in a sauté pan. Add manioc flour and stir constantly over med.-low heat. Gently toast the manioc flour for 3 to 4 min. Season with salt to taste and serve with moqueca.

Reinterpreted Methods/Steps:

  1. Fill a saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add ¼ cup tapioca pearls; boil for 10 min. or until pearls are translucent. Strain and cover with dende oil.
  2. Place freshly pressed coconut milk in a bain marie on low heat; do not boil. Froth the milk with an immersion blender just before serving.
  3. Season fish generously with salt on both sides, making sure the filet is completely dry. Heat 1/3 cup of dende oil in a saute pan over med. heat; sear fish on both sides until crisp, spooning oil onto fish to make the filet bright yellow. Transfer fish to a shallow bowl or rimmed plate.
  4. In same sauté pan, fry garlic paste until it begins to brown; remove and spoon over fish.
  5. Julienne the onion, green pepper, tomatoes and cilantro to use as a raw garnish. Season with lime juice and salt and place on top of fish.
  6. Spoon the frothed coconut milk around the fish and garnish with tapioca pearls marinated in dende oil.
  7. Sprinkle a pinch of farofa over vegetable garnish for texture. Serve immediately.

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