Brazilian Salmon and Sweet Potato Stew

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5 from 1 vote

Moqueca is a traditional Brazilian fish stew. It combines many of my favorite flavors, including tomato, peppers, coconut milk, and cilantro, and I’ve been wanting to make it for a long time.

Some recipes call for cod, striped bass, or snapper, but because these fish are considered “moderate mercury” fish by the National Resources Defense Council, they are best eaten only occasionally. So in this stew, I used wild Alaskan salmon (as it is low in mercury, is sustainably harvested, and let’s not forget about all those awesome omega-3s).

The sweet potato is not a typical moqueca ingredient, but yams are used in Brazilian cooking, so I felt they would fit in just fine. I like how they balance the dish, adding a bit of healthy starch and additional color to what’s already a pretty gorgeous stew. I adore coconut and found that the 3/4 cup of coconut milk in the recipe adds extremely subtle flavor; if you are looking for a more pronounced coconut taste, feel free to add more…

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A few more great looking recipes for Moqueca:
Recipe for Brazilian Fish Stew at Leite’s Culinaria
Moqueca from Elise at Simply Recipes

This post is linked to Real Food Wednesday over at Kelly the Kitchen Kop!

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Recipe for Moqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew)

use local/organic ingredients whenever possible


For the fish and the marinade:

  • *1 1/2 pounds wild salmon fillets
  • *one 28 oz. can of peeled whole tomatoes undrained
  • *1 onion peeled and roughly chopped
  • *1 cup cilantro chopped
  • *2 garlic cloves cut in half
  • *1 Serrano chile pepper stemmed and cut in half (use the seeds, too, if you want your stew to be pretty spicy)
  • *1/4 cup lime juice or brown rice vinegar
  • *1 tablespoon olive oil
  • *1 teaspoon Himalayan or sea salt

For the stew:

  • *1 tablespoon organic coconut oil or olive oil
  • *1 large sweet potato peeled and diced
  • *1 zucchini chopped
  • *1 green pepper chopped
  • *1 red pepper chopped
  • *1/2 cup water or fish stock
  • *3/4 cup organic whole coconut milk
  • *1/2 cup chopped green onion bottom parts only- for garnish
  • *1/2 cup cilantro chopped- for garnish


  • 1. Place fish in a shallow non-reactive (non-metal) bowl. Combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic, chile pepper, lime juice, oil and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal blade (or a blender). Process until smooth and pour over fish. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • 2. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced sweet potato and cook for 10-15 minutes, adding a little water if needed so it doesn't burn, until softened. Add zucchini, green and red pepper and continue to cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes, again adding water to the pan, if needed. Add water or fish stock and stir in coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 2 to 3 minutes.
  • 3. Add fish and marinade and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Just before serving, stir in green onion and cilantro. Serve over brown rice, quinoa, or another healthy whole grain, if desired.

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