A delightful stew brimming with bold and fresh flavors. Tangy tomatoes, sweet coconut milk and a hint of heat from the pepper create the perfect summer feel any time of the year.
This is especially popular in the dead of winter. I know, the folks who had to suffer -50°F weather this year will consider our winters to be mild, but believe me it is COLD! May be we are spoilt here – but for us the struggle for is real!
Let me be honest here – I don’t wait for winter to make this stew/soup. I will happily lap up a bowl of this on any given hot summer day.
There are a few reasons for me to love this dish. First and foremost, it is an easy dish to make. As the saying goes easy on the cook makes life easy for all at home. It is a ONE POT dish and the ingredients can be fresh or canned depending on the availability and season.
Usually, stews take a long time to create those complex flavors. But this tropically flavored stew is so easy and fast with the flavors developing in a very short time. Pretty much no ‘stewing’ – so maybe I should call it the coconut shrimp soup!
Meals like these are perfect whether the weather is -20°F or 110°F outside. Trust me, this will be on the dinner table at least one more time before it is officially spring!
The flavors of traditional Moqueca de Camarones are the ones that I grew up with – another huge reason for me to love it! There are coconut, shrimp and tomatoes, all ingredients that I can never have enough of!
Other seafood recipes
On to the ingredients
The traditional Moqueca de Camarones gets its beautiful colors thanks partly to red palm oil. This is not a regular in my pantry. Use it if you happen to have it, otherwise do use coconut oil or any neutral flavored oil.
You could use any shrimp you like in this dish, but I prefer to use slightly larger varieties. Not cocktail shrimp or paddy shrimp. Similarly you don’t need extra large or jimbo vaieties either. In fact cut to bite size pieces if you have only large variety of shrimp on hand.
Here I have used canned tomato sauce. If you have fresh tomatoes, blanch, peel, mash, and strain to remove seeds. Fresh tomatoes have a lot more flavor, but keep in mind that you may have to add a little sugar to adjust acidity. Also, remember to stew the sauce longer before adding the shrimp.
Peppers and chilies
In keeping with the color, I have used red peppers. These are sweeter than their green counterparts. If you prefer a splash of green use green pepper. For heat your favorite chilis – serranoes, Thai chilies, habaneros or ghost peppers if you are feeling really adventurous.
Here is how to make this Moqueca de Camarones inspired stew.
- Saute onions, garlic and chilies
- Saute bell pepper
- Add tomato and some coconut milk
- Add shrimp and cook
- Adjust with coconut milk and seasonings
- Bring to gentle simmer
The recipe as written has a light touch of heat – adjust the heat according to your taste.
Coconut Shrimp Stew
- 1 ½ lb Raw Shrimp Notes
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
- 1 Medium Onion Diced, Yellow/White
- 2 Cloves Garlic Minced
- ¼ Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 -2 Green chilies Optional
- 1 Red Bell Pepper Medium, Diced
- 14 oz Canned Crushed/ Diced tomatoes Notes
- 14 oz Canned Coconut Milk Regular, Unsweetened
- 1 – 2 C Water as needed
- 1 – 2Tbsp Lemon Juice Fresh Squeezed
- ¼ C Chopped Cilantro / Parsley
- Salt / Black Pepper To taste
- Cooked rice/ Crusty Bread
- Peel and devein the shrimp. If large cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and chopped green chilies to the hot. Stir and let the flavors infuse into the oil for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Do not let the spices burn.
- Add the onions to the pan along with a pinch of salt. Let it sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until the onions soften. Add the diced bell pepper and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pot along with the juices. Mix everything and let it come to a boil.
- Add 1/4 of the coconut milk, stir and bring the stew to a gentle simmer. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper. If needed thin the stew by adding water and bring back to simmer.
- Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp turns just opaque. Stir in the remaining coconut milk as per taste, bring to gentle simmer and turn off the heat. Taste and adjust with salt pepper and lemon juice.
- Transfer to serving bowls, garnish with cilantro/parsley and serve with rice or bread.
- I like to use medium shrimp in this recipe. Something bite-sized is perfect.
- Use green chilies per your taste. 1 medium serrano will make the dish hot, while one medium jalapeno will be much less spicy.
- When fresh tomatoes are available, blanch, crush and remove the seeds and add the puree to the stew. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes for the flavors to develop.
- Canned/jarred roasted red bell peppers can be used in this recipe as well.
Wondering what to serve with this stew ?
Serve this delightful stew with rice, as I did here or a variety of crusty bread like. Here are some options to try .