Ever heard of Moqueca?
That’s pronounced Mo-KECK-ah. It’s a fish stew from Bahia, Brazil. I actually lived in Brazil (in Campinas, near Sao Paulo) for 3 years during my teen years in the seventies, and have been back below the equator many times since. But I had never tried a moqueca until about five years ago. I had my first taste of this fantastic dish while I was on a little surfing vacation in Itacare, Bahia. (Btw, if you’re thinking about going somewhere to learn how to surf, I highly recommend the Easydrop surf school there in Itacare. They will take great care of you!). I found myself in one of Itacare’s cool little rustic restaurants (I’m not positive, but I think it was the Berimbau), and decided to try their moqueca, even though at the time I probably had no idea what it was or even how to pronounce it.
That moqueca sure left a lasting impression-I sometimes find myself daydreaming about how much I had liked it. Recently I started to wonder if I could make it myself, and if I could, could I make a reasonably low carb version of it?
After a quick bit of googling, I can report to you the answer to both questions is a resounding YES! It’s quite easy to make and none of its ingredients are particularly high sugar or starch. Well, except for the rice it’s usually served with – but you can easily do without that, or use it in small quantities. Or replace it all together with shredded cauliflower.
I know its always better to go with fresh ingredients, but if you’re kinda lazy in the kitchen like me, you can do a pretty damn good moqueca using mostly stuff from jars and cans, heh heh.
You can google yourself for some recipes, they’re are dozens out there, and even some good videos showing how to make it. The main ingredients are fish (any white fish is best, any kinda fish at all is good), onions, garlic, cilantro, hot peppers (I used jalapeno), and coconut milk.
Here’s how I made my moqueca:
- Put the chopped up fish in a bowl, drizzle with bottled lime juice, add salt and pepper, let it rest like that for a bit.
- Saute some chopped onions in a pan with olive oil.
- Add in some of that chopped garlic that comes in a jar.
- Add in a can or so of diced tomatoes.
- Chop up some jalapenos (also from a jar!), add that to the mix.
- After everything is nicely sauteed, drop the fish into the mix.
- Add a can or so of coconut milk, and let it cook for 10 – 15 minutes.
Here’s what my version of moqueca looked like:
I can’t wait to get back to Itacare to sample the real thing again (and get some surfing in too!), but for now, this is a pretty good substitute.