December is finally here and week one of my Winter Warmers Series! This month I will be sharing dishes which will dazzle your taste buds and add a little spice to your month while warming you up! This week I am sharing my recipe for Brazilian Seafood Soup (Moqueca do Frutos do Mar). I spent possibly two of the most exciting years of my life living and working in Brazil and had a chance to travel all over this amazingly beautiful country: from Rio de Janeiro with its beautiful beaches (and people), breathtaking granite peaks towering over the city and vibrant nightlife to São Paulo with its modern architecture, restaurants and cafés to the Amazon with its warm humid weather, rivers teeming with piranhas, dense jungle and indigenous culture to the Pantanal, the largest wetland in the world with its swamps hiding curious crocodiles and fresh water lakes filled with colorful fish to Santa Catarina with its sand dunes and white sandy beaches, to the beautiful Island of Fernando de Noronha an Island off the Northeastern coast of Brazil, which can be adequately described in just one word – Paradise. Brazil is one of the most diverse countries I have ever visited in ethnicity, culture and cuisine.
Brazilian Seafood Soup (Moqueca de Fruitos do mar)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Ingredients (serves 4)
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion (1 cup), sliced into rings
½ red bell pepper (½ cup), sliced thinly
½ green bell pepper (½ cup), sliced thinly
0.9 lb/14 oz/400 g (1 can) whole peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh chilies, chopped finely
¼ teaspoon allspice, ground
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh or dried herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage), chopped finely
1 bay leaf
1 vegetable stock/bouillon cube and ½ cup water or ½ cup vegetable stock/broth
1 cup coconut milk
0l.5 lb /8 oz/227 g white fish (grouper, red snapper, sea bass), cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lb/16 oz/454 g mixed seafood (shrimp, squid, scallops)
Salt to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute, then add the onions and cook uncovered for 3 minutes.
Next add the bell pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, chilies, allspice, black pepper, fresh or dried herbs and bay leaf, then cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
Add the vegetable stock/bouillon cube and ½ cup water or ½ cup vegetable stock/broth and coconut milk, then cover and bring to a boil.
Add the fish and cook covered for 5 minutes, then add the mixed seafood and cook for 5 more minutes add salt if required. Remove from heat.
Serving suggestions: Serve with boiled rice, boiled beans, fried plantains and a refreshing caipirinha cocktail
Tips: The original recipe calls for palm oil instead of olive oil. I think olive oil is a great substitute sans the cholesterol. However, if you prefer to try the original version, substitute 6 tablespoons olive oil with 6 tablespoons palm oil.