moqueca (mo-ke-ka), brazilian seafood stew

i have always been a fan of hot or clay pot cooking & things served to me in heavy black pots or large bowls full of fish and big hunks of vegetables and spicy/flavorful broth continuing to marinate the dish as you work your way through it.  case in point:  cioppino, pho, paella, moqueca.  this dish, passed down over centuries in brazil, is another great, painless to make and high marks for taste and presentation/solid contribution for a pot luck or something you will want to eat off for a couple of days if made for yourself.  and colorful food means healthy food– remember that– so as soon as this arrives to the table smelling amazing you don’t have to feel guilty for devouring it–lots of good protein & vitamins from the veggies.  recipe below:

mix of white-fleshed fish cut into chunks and shrimp– 1 1/2-2  lbs
juice of two limes
1 tsp salt
2 onions, diced
1 red and one yellow or orange medium-large bell pepper
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-3 hot red peppers, minced (traditionally, malagueta)
tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced — 3 cups
coconut milk — 2 cups (substitute 1 cup water or broth, if you want to lighten)
dendê oil — 2 tablespoons (can substitute olive, if necessary)

Toss the fish, lime juice and salt together in a large, non-reactive bowl and set aside to marinate for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile heat the oil in a medium-sized pot over medium flame. Add the onions and peppers and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and chile peppers and sauté for another minute more.

Stir in the tomatoes and simmer for about 5 more minutes to cook them down somewhat.

Stir in the coconut milk and the fish with its marinade. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.

Adjust seasoning, stir in dendê oil and serve in bowls alone or over rice.

***i like to serve it with a bowl of rice on the side so people can add what they want to soak up the broth.

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