Make moqueca, a flavorful Brazilian seafood stew, at home in your instant pot. Just make sure you have the secret ingredient, coconut oil.

From Bahia to Table

In 2014, a group of friends and I decided to drop everything for the near religious experience of watching the World Cup live in Brazil. Our pilgrimage to the mecca of futbol was life changing as we were electrified by the energy of the game and the spirit of Brazilian culture. As we journeyed through different towns to catch the group stage matches, one particularly memorable town was Salvador in the state of Bahia. A former slave trading port that boasts a beautiful coastline and a collision of African, European and indigenous cultures, Salvador can show you what it’s all about just through a bowl of soup, moqueca. A deliciously complex and hearty mouth feel that is all at once seafood soaked in tomatoes, toasted spices and rich coconut milk. We did our best to recreate this dish in one pot and bring you this taste of coastal Latin America. Enjoy.

Tips & Tricks

+ Coconut oil really gives the stew its distinctive taste

+ Can sub out fish broth with chicken broth + fish sauce

+ Try using canned tomatoes with green chiles if you like the heat

+ Toast your cumin seeds with other spices like paprika and black pepper before grinding

+ Include your favorite seafood (e.g. scallops, prawns, calamari)


Timing - Prep (15 min.) + Cook (40 min.)
Serves: 5
Calories: 330
Net Carbs: 7g


Stew Base
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 oz.) can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup seafood broth (or 1 cup of chicken broth + 1.5 tbsp of fish sauce)
¾ Cup of canned coconut milk (try not to use low-fat)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground cayenne

For Finishing
1.5 lbs. Fresh or thawed white fish (cod, halibut, tilapia)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Chop: 1 yellow onion (finely chopped), 1 red bell pepper (sliced), 5 cloves garlic (minced)
  2. Toast: Heat dry pan on medium, no oil, toast cumin seeds (1 tbsp), paprika (1 tbsp), black pepper (½ tsp), ground cayenne (¼ tsp) until cumin seeds darken. Periodically move spices around in the pan
  3. Add all stew base ingredients and toasted spices to the pressure cooker pot (I use a 6-quart Instant Pot), and stir until well-mixed. Secure and seal the lid. Cook for 10 minutes at high pressure
  4. Prep fish: Remove any skin and bones from the fish, and pat dry with paper towels if moist. Cut into roughly 1 inch pieces. Set aside.
  5. After pressure cooking has completed, let it naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. Then manually release remaining pressure.
  6. Uncover, and turn on the sauté mode on the pressure cooker for medium heat to bring to a boil. Let the stew boil for about 10 minutes to thicken into a stew-like consistency, stirring frequently.
  7. Stir in the fish and any other seafood until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork and is no longer translucent.
  8. Turn off the sauté mode. Stir in coconut oil (2 tbsp) and lime juice (1 tbsp) until combined.
  9. Serve in bowls, and top with chopped cilantro (1 tbsp). The soup will be very hot, so let it cool 10 minutes before enjoying.

Leftovers: Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or bring to a simmer on the stovetop (avoid overheating, which will overcook the fish). This stew often tastes better the next day, after the flavors have gotten acquainted with each other.


Makes 5 Servings
Amount Per Serving (1.5 cups):
Calories 330
Total Fat 18g 27%
Saturated Fat 15g 76%
Cholesterol 59mg 20%
Sodium 690mg 29%
Net Carb 7g
Total Carb 10g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Sugars 5.5g
Protein 28g
Vitamin A 37% · Vitamin C 72% · Calcium 5% · Iron 17%

Recipe inspired by @feastingathome