Brazilian Coconut Fish Stew

Colorful peppers and cilantro lend a confetti-like adornment to this typical Brazilian dish, flavored with lime, chile, and coconut milk. Serve over rice. Dendê is a Brazilian palm oil available in specialty food stores.

Country of Origin
Preparation time

1 1/2 lb. fillet of sole or other firm-fleshed white fish
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. fresh lime or lemon juice
1 tomato, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 to 3 sprigs cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh chile pepper or 1/4 tsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. dendê, peanut oil, or vegetable oil
1/2 cup coconut milk or coconut cream


1. Rinse the fish fillets and drain well. Cut each into 3 or 4 lengthwise strips and place in a nonreactive bowl. Combine the salt, black pepper, and 2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice. Rub the fillet strips with the mixture and set aside to marinate, unrefrigerated, for 20 minutes.

2. In a food processor or blender, combine tomato, onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and chile pepper. Process for several seconds to make a coarse paste.

3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add half the paste mixture and all the fish strips and cook for 5 minutes, using a spatula to turn over each fish piece carefully, for minimal breakage. Top with remaining paste mixture and the coconut milk. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.