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 / Updated  / Source: TODAY
By Natalie Morales
Natalie Morales' moqueca (Brazilian seafood stew)
Vidya Rao/TODAY

Moqueca is like Brazil’s version of chowder or a bouillabaisse. This is a recipe that originates from the northeastern state of Brazil called Bahia, but it is now widely found throughout the country and is a signature Brazilian dish. I had the pleasure of having the real deal in Bahia when I was in Brazil most recently for the World Cup in 2014.

What makes this dish very unique is its hearty flavor deriving from Brazil’s African influence, namely the use of coconut milk and dende oil (an African palm oil) which are found in much of Brazil’s cuisine. I found dende easily on online. It is an orange-colored oil that gives the stew a rich golden hue. However, you can use peanut oil or olive oil as a substitute, you just won’t get that buttery color. The fish stew is fairly easy to make and a hearty meal that will surely satisfy and impress everyone. I serve it over white or brown rice, with cilantro, lime zest, and toasted coconut.

Get Natalie's recipe for feijoada, a Brazilian meat stew

Go inside Natalie's New Jersey kitchen