Fish stew

Fish stew

This dish, fish stew, which originates in the northeastern coastal state of Bahia, is very popular throughout Brazil. White fish varieties, such as snapper, cod, sole, haddock, or flounder, work well for this stew.


  • 2 lb. skinless white fish fillets
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 fresh hot pepper, minced, or 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)*
  • 4 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. dendê or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

* Be careful when working with hot peppers or chilies. The oil on the skin of the peppers can burn you, so wear rubber gloves while cutting the pepper, and be sure to remove all the seeds. Wash your hands well when you are done.

fish stew white fish

Fish stew is very popular throughout Brazil.


  1. Rinse fish under cool running water and pat dry. Cut into roughly 2- inch-square pieces and place in a large mixing bowl or baking dish.
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine garlic, hot pepper (if using), cilantro, salt, black pepper, lemon juice, and half of the tomatoes and onion. Process until smooth.
  3. Pour the tomato mixture over the fish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Heat dendê or olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add fish, processed tomato mixture, remaining tomato and onion, and half the coconut milk.
  5. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add remaining coconut milk. Cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, or until fish is cooked through. Serve hot with rice.


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