1905 Grand - Moqueca 1140x760

Food in my family has always been sacred

When Carolina Miranda was about eight or nine, she announced that one day she would move to a country more than 9,000 kilometres from her Brazilian homeland – Canada.

“I just remember a growing feeling. My parents always bought us magazines like National Geographic, so I think I must have seen something,” recalls Miranda. “Rio is very similar in landscape to Vancouver, with its big, high mountains by the water. I remember quite clearly the exotic (Canadian) landscape and the wilderness are what attracted me.”

[continue reading this article and get the recipe for Carolina Miranda’s Moqueca and Rice]

Carolina Miranda's Moqueca and Rice

Jasmine Mangalaseril
Moqueca is a Brazilian fish stew, developed by enslaved peoples and named for the earthenware pot used to prepare it. As azeite de dendê (red palm oil) can be difficult to find, turmeric creates a warm yellow hue. This dish is a good first dish for those who’ve never cooked fresh seafood before. Just remember: To avoid overcooking the shrimp, you’ll need to remove them from the marinade before cooking the rest. Return the shrimp to the stew for the last few minutes of cooking.
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

For the marinade

  • 4 thinly sliced green onions, green and white parts
  • 2 heads of garlic, crushed or finely minced
  • ½ bunch finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • ½ bunch finely chopped coriander leaf, to taste
  • 125 ml olive oil (½ cup)
  • 10 ml salt (2 tsp)
  • 7.5 ml turmeric powder (1½ tsp)

For the stew

  • 700 g firm white-fleshed fish, fresh or thawed cut into 5 cm (2-inch) lengths (approx. 1½ lbs)
  • 500 g shrimp, fresh or thawed, shelled and deveined
  • 2 large tomatoes, halved and sliced
  • 2 red, orange, or yellow capsicums, sliced
  • 1 large onions, sliced

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 200C (400F).
  • Mix the marinade. Place the fish, shrimp, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions in an oven-safe dish. Pour the marinade over the fish and vegetables and turn them so they are well-coated. Marinate for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the shrimp and let them rest in the fridge. Lid the dish and cook in the oven until the peppers are soft, about 25 minutes. When soft, add the shrimp on top of the stew, recover, and cook for another 5 minutes or until the shrimp is cooked. Serve over rice.

Notes

How to tell when the fish and shrimp are cooked
  • The fish’s flesh will be opaque and will flake when a fork is inserted into the thickest part and then turned.
  • The shrimp is cooked when the flesh has just turned opaque with pink or red on the outside, and they’ve curled into a “C” shape. They will likely be overcooked if they are bright white with pink or red and curled into a tight “O” shape.
  • Shrimp placed in the centre of the dish sometimes take longer to cook than those placed closer to the edges. Check the shrimp for doneness after five minutes. If some need more time, keep them on the stew, remove any cooked ones, and returning the dish to the oven until the rest are done.
This dish tends to take longer to cook if made in a lidded cast iron pan than if made in a Pyrex lasagne pan or ceramic baking dish covered with tin foil.
 
A version of this recipe appeared in my profile of Carolina Miranda, for my World of Food column for Grand Magazine (May-June 2019).

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