Brazilian Shrimp with Coconut Milk – Brazilian Shrimp Stew (Moqueca)


This easy Brazilian Shrimp with Coconut Milk (Moqueca) features fresh cilantro, tomatoes, chili, and bright lime juice. A low carb and paleo shrimp stew recipe with the perfect amount of heat and tropical flavor! Serve with rice or cauliflower rice.

overhead shot of a serving of Brazilian Shrimp Stew with Coconut Milk served with rice

With bright tomato and lime, plump and juicy shrimp, and creamy coconut milk, this Brazilian Shrimp Stew will warm you from the inside out without weighing your down! 

Try this Healthy Brazilian Shrimp Stew with Coconut Milk for a low carb and paleo weeknight dinner! 

This exotic Shrimp with Coconut Milk is inspired by a traditional Brazilian fish stew called Moqueca, which is usually flavored with coconut milk, coriander, tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Brazilian Moqueta uses a variety of fish, but I went with shrimp as it’s the perfect light and lean protein for summer. 

As exotic as this recipe may sound, you probably have most of the ingredients already in your pantry, and with prep, making a side like rice or cauliflower rice, the total cooking time is way less than an hour.

This exotic Coconut Milk Shrimp Stew has a vibrant red color that comes from Red Palm Oil or Dende. As it can be hard to find, I skipped it in this recipe.  Red Palm oil is available at most Asian or Caribbean grocery stores and on amazon so if you can get it definitely get it.

I used coconut oil in my easy version and it’s just as delicious as the original!  

overhead shot of a serving of low carb and paleo Brazilian Shrimp Stew Moqueta topped with fresh chili

Easy and delicious, paleo, gluten-free, and low carb – this Brazilian Shrimp Stew (Moqueca recipe) got it all. It comforts you like any stew or curry would, but thanks to the refreshing lime and the chili it also stimulates you! 

What does moqueca taste like?

 
Authentic Brazilian Moqueca tastes earthy from the Dende oil, with a nice coconut flavor in the background which is lightened and brightened from the citrus juice and fresh cilantro. This version is not fishy at all, but if you order this one at the restaurant, you might get a stronger taste of the sea depending on the fish and seafood added.

I love me some fiery heat and tropical flavor so this one is right down my alley! If you take a spoonful and close your eyes, I swear you can hear the ocean and smell the beach.

a bowl of creamy Paleo Brazilian Shrimp stew with coconut milk ( Moqueta ) served with a side of rice

Shall I use peeled or unpeeled shrimp for making shrimp stew with coconut milk? 

Generally speaking, you’ll always save money and have more flexibility when you buy frozen shrimp in the shell and thaw them yourself. Shrimp in the shell always give you better flavor and texture than peeled and deveined.

For this recipe, however, I use deveined and peeled.

How to Defrost Shrimp

Thaw shrimp slowly in the fridge for about 24 hours per pound or thaw quickly in a colander in the sink under cold running water. Never at room temperature. Never in warm water.

peeled shrimp with tails on in a bowl ready for being added to shrimp stew

Don’t walk away when preparing the shrimp stew! Shrimp cook so quickly that you can’t turn your attention to anything else! It only takes a few minutes for even large shrimp to start turning pink and curling up into that C shape. Once that happens, they’re pretty much done.

Brighten up your Shrimp with Coconut Milk by adding lime juice and zest! 

In my coconut milk shrimp stew recipe, I am using both lime zest and juice! While the traditional Brazilian Shrimp Stew only alls for juice, I just get more excited about the aromatic oils found in the skin of the fruit. It contains floral and tangy tones as well as a slight, sophisticated bitterness. I am guilty of ALWAYS adding a bit of zest even if a recipe calls for juice only and I recommend you citrus lovers out there to try the same.

In savory dishes like this shrimp with coconut milk, a sprinkling of grated lime zest does a great job at brightening up an otherwise pretty rich stew.

Brazilian Coconut Milk Shrimp Stew served in a blue bowl with a spoon on the side

Tips for making Authentic Brazilian Shrimp Stew with Coconut Milk: 

  •  Lime zest’s essential oils are strongest just after zesting, so always try to use the zest right away. It’s much easier to zest a whole fruit than one that’s been cut, so zest before you juice.
  • Don’t marinate the shrimp for longer than 30 minutes – 20 should be enough. Any more than that and the acid will start to break down the delicate shrimp meat and make it mushy.
  • I actually zest the lime right into 1 tbsp of coconut sugar and rub it in, adding the sugar in the end. Sprinkle some of that sugar on top when serving. 
  • I used fresh garlic but if minced is all you have on hand, just keep in mind that 1 1/2 teaspoons equal one fresh clove.
  • Any white fish can also be added to this recipe alongside the shrimp and it’ll give the dish a thicker stew-like consistency. Use a firm white fish. I have used cod, which is barely firm enough but works. Halibut is probably the better choice.
  • Store leftover shrimp stew in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

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Brazilian Shrimp Stew Recipe with Coconut Milk & Lime - Moqueca

This easy Brazilian Shrimp with Coconut Milk is an incredibly delicious creamy stew that features cilantro, tomatoes, chili, and bright lime juice. A low carb Brazilian Shrimp Moqueca recipe with the perfect amount of heat and tropical flavor!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Brazil
Keyword Brazilian Shrimp Stew, recipe for shrimp stew, Shrimp with coconut milk
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinating time 30 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 459 kcal
Author Kiki Johnson

Ingredients

  • 400 g shrimps peeled and deveined fresh or thawed
  • 2 organic limes zest and juice
  • can diced tomatoes 14,5 oz
  • Tbsp coconut oil
  • onion diced
  • garlic cloves minced
  • 1 chili minced
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 2 red bell peppers diced
  • can coconut milk 13.5 oz - 400 g - full fat
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar or sweetener for low carb
  • 1/2  bunch spring onions sliced
  • fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper

For serving

  • rice or cauliflower rice for low carb

Instructions

  1. Zest 1 of the limes right into the coconut sugar and rub it in with your fingers. Zest the second lime and set zest aside. Toss shrimp with 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic, the entire lime juice and marinate, covered and chilled, 20 to 30 minutes. Purée canned tomatoes with juice in a blender until smooth.

  2. Heat the oil and fry the onion for 3 minutes, then add chili, and chili flakes and fry for another minute. Add the diced bell pepper and then the coconut milk and pureed tomatoes. Stir in 1 tbsps of the sugar or sweetener and let simmer, stirring once in a while until mixture is thickening up about 15 minutes. Now add the spring onions, the shrimp marinade (try to get the garlic pieces in there too.  Stir and season to taste. Simmer a couple of minutes, then add lime zest and shrimp. You might need more of the lime scented sweetener or salt to balance out the acidity. 

  3. Reduce temperature or take off the heat and let stand for a few minutes until the shrimps are just done - so cooked through and pale pink. They will cook in the hot liquid. No need to boil them. Stir in the cilantro and serve with rice.

  4. Bom proveito!

Recipe Notes

  •  Lime zest’s essential oils are strongest just after zesting, so always try to use the zest right away. It’s much easier to zest a whole fruit than one that’s been cut, so zest before you juice.
  • Don't marinate the shrimp for longer than 30 minutes - 20 should be enough. Any more than that and the acid will start to break down the delicate shrimp meat and make it mushy.
  • I actually zest the lime right into 1 tbsp of coconut sugar and rub it in, adding the sugar in the end. I also sprinkle some of that sugar on top when serving. 
  • I used fresh garlic but if minced is all you have on hand, just keep in mind that 1 1/2 teaspoons equal one fresh clove.
  • Any white fish can also be added to this recipe alongside the shrimp and it’ll give the dish a thicker stew-like consistency. Use a firm white fish. I have used cod, which is barely firm enough but works. Halibut is probably the better choice.
  • Store leftover shrimp stew in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.


5 Comments

  1. Kokosmilch UND Tomaten in der Sauce hat man ja nicht so oft. Also meist ja nur entweder, oder. Ich finds gut und koche es mal nach, Garnelen hab ich ja noch im TK:)

  2. Mir hat die Mischung sehr gut geschmeckt. Aber stimmt, habs so auch zum ersten Mal gekocht. So schön frisch mit der Limette. Farblich machts mit Tomaten einfach mehr her. Kokos-Curries sehen ja manchmal etwas blass aus. Bin gespannt, was du sagst. Liebste Grüße

  3. Ich habe es etwas abgewandelt, weil das Gefrierfach leer werden musste. Aber echt lecker! Mache ich nochmal:)

  4. Klasse ! Freu mich sehr wenns dir geschmeckt hat, Toni!

  5. Thanks so much for the link and I'm glad you liked the recipe! It is one of my favorites!

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