"This is one of my absolute favourite recipes, guaranteed to briefly bring a taste of South America to our wintry shores. If you enjoy the sweeter, milder type of Indian curries then you simply must give it a try. And if you've had the good fortune to sample the dish in its natural environment – beside an amazing beach somewhere in Brazil – you'll already know how delicious it is but may not realise just how easy it is to recreate back home. Unlike many other dishes associated with exotic destinations, moqueca doesn't really call for any unusual ingredients and is simple to make but totally satisfying.
"Technically this recipe is an 'ensopado', because the dish must contain palm oil to merit the better-known name of moqueca. However, as this is only added for colour rather than flavour, I've decided to dispense with it for the sake of ease. If you're on a January health drive, you could also omit the coconut milk for a healthier version.
- Prep: 20 minutes
- Cook: 50 minutes
- Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- Recipe serves: 4
- 8 medium tomatoes
- 1 yellow or red pepper, chopped into 2-3cm squares
- 4 fillets of firm white fish such as cod, haddock or sea bass, chopped into large chunks
- 3 medium white onions, roughly chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 200ml coconut milk
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Large bunch of coriander (about 15g), chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Boiled white rice to serve
- Heat a couple of teaspoons of oil in a large frying pan over a low-medium heat. Add the chopped pepper, onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper and fry slowly until lovely and soft.
- Meanwhile, heat a saucepan of water to boiling point and add the tomatoes (whole). Leave for around 5 minutes or until the skins of the tomatoes have broken. Remove the tomatoes, allow to cool and then remove and discard the skins. Roughly chop the flesh and reserve until the onions, pepper and garlic are ready.
- Add the chopped tomato, ground almonds and lemon juice to the frying pan and turn up the heat slightly. Cook for around 10 minutes, gently mashing the mixture with a wooden spoon to soften the tomatoes and blend the flavours together.
- Add the coconut milk and mix in (this will cool down the mixture so allow it to heat back up before moving on to step 5). Correct the seasoning if
- Add the fish and coriander. Cook for no longer than around 5 minutes to make sure the fish stays tender and doesn't break up too much.
- Serve with boiled white rice.
Try adding some fresh chopped chilli (at step one) if you like a fierier taste.