Recipe: Moqueca Baiana

(reposted from The Salty Cod)
Moqueca is a Brazilian fish stew usually served with rice and a panko like garnish called farofa. There are many varieties of moqueca, but my particular favoirte is one inspired by moqueca from the state of Bahia. The key ingredient for this moqueca is dende oil, also known as red palm oil. This recipe below is made using ingredients found inside the US. 


Moqueca Baiana
Serving: 4

Ingredients:
Two cans coconut milk
Four quarts stock (or water)
One pound large shrimp (if you can find with heads and skin, better)
One large red onion
One large red bell pepper
1 tsp red chili flakes or 1 fresh hot red chili
4 cloves garlic
Dende oil (known in the US as Red Palm Oil)*
1.5 cup farofa (or panko)*
Shredded unsweetened coconut
Fresh cilantro
Limes
Salt, pepper
Prepared rice (brown or white) for serving

*Red palm oil can be found in most grocery store (Trader Joe's has). It usually can be found solid in a jar (similar to coconut oil) and runs anywhere from five to fifteen dollars a jar.
*Farofa is made from a roughly ground tapioca flour. It is possible to find at international import stores, but if it's not available in your area regular panko works just as well.

Method:
1) Prepare the shrimp. If you can find whole shrimp with their heads still attached, get them. They will add an extra flavor dimension to your moqueca. If you can't find, no sweat, but you will need to make sure you use a stock such as fish stock or chicken stock. If using shrimp heads, remove all heads, legs and shells from the shrimp meat and throw (heads) into a pot. Add four quarts water (or stock) and bring to a boil. Strain the liquid into a Medium stock pot and discard the heads and shells. Set shrimp bodies aside.

2) In a saute pan, heat 2 tbsp dende oil (red palm oil) and add sliced onions, bell pepper, garlic and chili pepper. Heat until fully sweated. Add to the stock. Over medium heat, stir the coconut milk into the stock/onion/pepper mixture. Set aside.

3) Prepare your rice.

4) Prepare your fried coconut. Heat 1 tbsp dende oil in a small frying pan. Once hot, add the shredded coconut. Stir until the coconut absorbs all the oil and begins to crisp (turn a darker orange color). Let fried coconut dry on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt.

5) Prepare the farofa. Heat 1 tbsp dende oil (see the pattern here?) in a saute pan. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add panko and stir until completely absorbed and the panko begins to crisp. Sprinkle with salt and take off heat.

6) Cook shrimp. In (another) saute pan, heat 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Saute shrimp for about two minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add cooked shrimp to Stock pot and stir. Taste moqueca and adjust salt and pepper levels.

To assemble: Start with rice, add a heaping scoop of moqueca (as much shrimp as you can scoop), sprinkle with farofa and fried coconut, garnish with fresh cilantro and for good measure drizzle a fresh squeeze of lime over the top.

Enjoy.