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Spiced Fish Stew with Peppers and Swiss Chard

Kanchan Koya's fish stew
Kanchan Koya's fish stewMike Smith / TODAY
Cook Time:
30 mins
Prep Time:
5 mins


  • 1 lime, juiced
  • pounds firm fish (like halibut or salmon)
  • 1 tablespoon avocado or coconut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 pinches cayenne, plus more for dusting (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup pureed tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 orange and red bell pepper, sliced into rings
  • 2 cups finely chopped swiss chard or other leafy greens
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste or lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

Chef notes

This dish, inspired by the Brazilian fish stew called moqueca, is the ultimate comfort food. The creaminess of the coconut milk, the vibrant spices (that don't necessarily have to be hot or spicy) and the tangy tomato hits all the flavor notes on a cold wintry day. The protein from the fish and the fiber from the vegetables are satiating and satisfying. This is a classic example of a healthy recipe that tastes decadent. Serve it with plain rice or turmeric scented cauliflower rice for a lower-carb option.

Swap option: You can use shrimp, mussels and clams in addition to the fish or mixed vegetables of your choice for a plant-based option.



Sprinkle the lime juice over the fish and set aside.


Warm the oil in a pot on a medium flame until it shimmers. Add the garlic, garlic and ginger, and sauté for a minute until fragrant. Add the turmeric, paprika, coriander, black pepper, cayenne (if using) and sauté for a minute. Add the tomato paste and sauté for 2 minutes until well integrated with the spices. Add the pureed tomatoes and the coconut milk and stir well until warmed through. Add the peppers and the greens. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are softened.


Add the marinated fish and stir in the tamarind paste or lime juice. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Adjust the salt to taste.


Plate the stew in a shallow bowl over steamed rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice or as is. Top with fresh cilantro and a dusting of cayenne if you like things spicy.