With chunks of tender white fish in a richly spiced coconut broth, Moqueca is a hearty and healthy keto soup recipe. You need to give this Brazilian fish stew a try as soon as humanly possible!
Trust me when I say that you want to become acquainted with Moqueca, if you aren’t already. This easy and healthy Brazilian fish stew is so full of flavor, you won’t be able to put your spoon down.
I was unfamiliar with it myself until I was researching recipes for Keto Soups & Stews. But the ingredients appealed to me and I gave it a try. One bite and I was hooked (like a fish… get it???).
This is one recipe that stood out for me from that cookbook. I couldn’t stop thinking about the bright, bold flavors and the rich, delicious broth.
Given the popularity of my Keto Seafood Chowder, I decided you might enjoy this Brazilian Fish Stew recipe too!
Why you will love this recipe
I would love to tell you that I magically ketofied a high carb recipe, but Moqueca is pretty low carb as it is. I simply cut down on the onion and peppers to reduce the carbs without sacrificing flavor.
When I developed this recipe, I tried to stay close to the authentic flavors while using easily accessible ingredients. I like to think I did an admirable job. All I know is that my whole family loved it and we’ve made it multiple times since.
It’s one way I can get all of them to eat fish without complaint. The coconut broth is silky and rich, the fish is tender, and the flavors meld perfectly.
Classic Moqueca is usually served with rice. I like mine just in a bowl by itself but you could easily serve it with some cauliflower rice for the full experience.
Ingredients you need
- White fish: Because the fish is simmered for a while in the broth, choose fish with firm flesh. I like to use cod as it holds up well and becomes incredibly tender. You can actually use shrimp in addition to or in place of the fish.
- Coconut milk: Full fat coconut milk makes the broth velvety smooth and rich.
- Broth: You can use fish, vegetable, or chicken broth.
- Red pepper: Many recipes call for red and yellow peppers but I kept it simple by using a single red pepper. Slice it thinly so you get good distribution throughout the stew.
- Tomatoes: Fresh diced tomatoes give it a fresher color and flavor but canned works too.
- Onion: I kept the onion to one quarter cup, for flavor.
- Jalapeño: You can use a number of different chilies for Moqueca but jalapeños are the easiest to come by. Scrape out the seeds if you prefer things more mild. You can also skip it if you need to.
- Lime: What South American dish doesn’t do well with a bit of lime squeezed in at the end? I think it enhances the overall flavor of the dish.
- Cilantro: A sprinkle of chopped cilantro over the finished soup adds color and flavor.
- Seasoning and spices: Salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, coriander
Step by Step Directions
1. In a large skillet, melt the oil over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the onions and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the bell pepper and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the vegetables are tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Add the jalapeno, garlic, paprika, and coriander, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Stir in the chopped tomatoes.
3. Layer the fish on top of the vegetables and pour the coconut milk and broth over the fish. Reduce the heat and simmer until the fish is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
4. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Stir in the lime juice and sprinkle with cilantro before serving.
There are actually several kinds of Moqueca, and this version is most similar to Moqueca Baiana (from Bahia). Most recipes call for palm oil but I used coconut oil because it’s easier to come by. But you could really use any healthy oil, like avocado or olive oil.
I call for full fat coconut milk because it’s more traditional and it gives the stew a richer, silkier quality. But if you’re looking to cut down on saturated fats, you can try light coconut milk. It won’t be quite the same but should still be delicious!
Frequently Asked Questions
Moqueca is a Brazilian seafood stew made with coconut milk, sweet peppers, and tomatoes. It features firm white fish and sometimes shrimp, and has a rich, flavorful broth.
Most recipes for this traditional dish are fairly low in carbs as it is. But I cut back on the onion and pepper to make it truly keto friendly. This recipe has 7.5g of carbs and 1.8g of fiber. So it has a net carb count of 5.7g per serving.
I don’t recommend freezing this recipe, because the fish and the peppers will change consistency in the freezing and thawing process. But you can store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Re-warm very gently in a pan on the stove or in the microwave.
More delicious keto fish recipes
Brazilian Fish Stew Recipe
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 1 medium red pepper thinly sliced
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 medium jalapeno minced, seeds removed if you prefer less heat
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ cup diced tomatoes
- 1 lb cod, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1 ½ cups full fat coconut milk
- ½ cup vegetable, fish, or chicken broth
- 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Chopped cilantro
- In a large skillet, melt the oil over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the onions and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the bell pepper and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the vegetables are tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the jalapeno, garlic, paprika, and coriander, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Stir in the chopped tomatoes.
- Layer the fish on top of the vegetables and pour the coconut milk and broth over the fish. Reduce the heat and simmer until the fish is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
- Adjust the seasonings to taste. Stir in the lime juice and sprinkle with cilantro before serving.
The ingredients picture shows a can of coconut cream, but the instructions say full fat coconut milk. Is there a difference? If there is a difference, which do you use? This is a great recipe!
you can use them interchangeably in this. I just didn’t have regular coconut milk when grabbing that photo.
Linda Fillion says
J’ai adorée ce plat, facile à faire et très bon.
Carol Liz says
The Brazilian Fish Stew is fabulous! I will be making it again soon. Thank your for the recipe.
Andrea Diaz says
This dish was fantastic! I am down south so I subbed tilapia and catfish filets for the cod. It came out amazing! My family sprinkled cajun seasoning on top for a little extra kick. Super fast, straight forward and delicious with flavors we had never had before.
This looks delicious! I have some salmon in the freezer I need to use…do you think that would work in this recipe?
Oh my gosh, Moqueca is one of my favorite dishes of all time! A friend of mine from Kenya brought a huge deep casserole dish of this to a potluck once, and she had cooked several whole fish (heads and all) in the stew. I had to look it up by the list of ingredients she gave me and came across the recipe for this Brazilian delight. Your recipe is almost identical to the one I use, but mine calls for red palm oil (responsibly sourced). I use that–and I put whole fish in it, even though that’s not traditional–but I don’t think the red palm oil makes much difference in the flavor. I’m five-starring your recipe, because if folks haven’t made this, they need to try it!
Shannon Lucas says
Very flavorful! Used shrimp instead of fish and added a bit of sliced avocado to finished product. My husband is on his second bowl. Next time, will leave more jalapeño seeds for more heat. Thank you for another amazing recipe!!!
This was amazing! The dish is simple to make and really did not involve a lot of prep time. I used 1/2 of a jalapeño bc my gf is not a spicy person. It had a little zing to it, but any more than a whole jalapeño might overpower the other flavors. This sauce/stew could be used with other seafood proteins like shrimp and scallops maybe even a Brazilian cioppino? (I par-roasted my cod in the air fryer bake setting 400/6 min the simmered for 4-5 mins to ensure the pieces remained intact so scallops definitely need to pan seared unless bay scallops). Thank you so much for this and all other recipes you work so hard to make low carb easier!
Jennifer Willard says
This sounds delicious! I know that coconut flavorings is what makes this dish Brazilian, but I am not a fan of coconut in any way, shape or form, so I will be trying an alternate milk substitute. I really appreciate the lengths you go to to accommodate all of our different likes/dislikes. Kind of like trying to make each kiddo in a family all happy at the same time. I truly enjoy reading your recipes and posts and watching the videos. You always make it look easy and always provide great info on where to get some of the different ingredients. Looking forward to warming up with a version of this soup. Again, thank you for all the work you put into each recipe.
Let me know how it turns out! Since this is similar to a curry, you could try yogurt for the coconut milk…