Moqueca is a traditional type of seafood stew originally from the state of Espirito Santo, on the southeast coast of Brazil. It was traditionally cooked in a clay pot. Moqueca can be made with a firm white fish, or a combination of fish, seafood, and shellfish, such as lobster, crabmeat, shrimp, mussels, or calamari. Typically, it is served with white rice and pirão, a kind of fish sauce made with yucca flour.
2 Tbs. annatto seed
1 cup olive oil
3-1/2 lb. fresh white fish, such as haddock, sea bass, roballo, or cod (reserve 8 oz. for the Pirão)
1/4 cup lime juice (2 limes)
Salt (to taste)
3 large tomatoes, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup green chives, diced
1 lb. shrimp
4 cups water
3/4 cup yucca flour
Prepare Urucum Color
Add the annatto seed and olive oil into a cooking pot. Place it over a medium-low heat. Keep smashing it until the oil incorporates the color. Turn the heat off before the oil starts to boil, then filter out the seeds and leave the liquid aside.
Cut the fish, place it in a dish, and add the lime juice and salt, leaving it resting for a few minutes.
In a clay pot, pour the urucum color and add half of the chopped tomatoes, onion, and cilantro. Organize the fish on top with care, so the pieces do not overlap. Cover the pot and let it cook on high heat for about 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat and add the chives and the shrimp. Cover the pot and let it cook for 5 minutes.
Prepare Fish Pirão
Put the reserved 8 oz. of fish (shredded), about a cup of chopped tomatoes, onions and 2 tablespoons of urucum color into a clay pot over a high heat.
Let it simmer for about 3 minutes, then add 4 cups of water, a dash of salt, and 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro. Let it boil then reduce the heat. Add 3/4 cup of yucca flour little by little, stirring constantly. Serve in a separate dish from the moqueca.
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