How to make a moqueca and Cook in Rio cooking class

On my holiday in Brazil, which I know you are all thoroughly sick of hearing about, I became completely obsessed with moquecas, the amazing Brazilian seafood and coconut stew. I tasted some excellent moqueca’s in Bahia at Paraiso Tropical and Panela de Barro, however it was in Rio that I learnt how to make one.
Curing the fish
MTV boyfriend and I spent an afternoon of our holiday at the Cook in Rio cooking class. We were the only students so we got lots of personal attention from the hilarious Simone who runs the classes and learnt a great moqueca recipe along with some other traditional Brazilian dishes. Most importantly we discovered the secret to a Brazilian caprihini (it is all in how you slice the lime). The class was not as organised as some other classes I have been to, and it would have been nice to get copies of the recipes on the day, but it was lots of fun and highly alcoholic which is always a plus.
Preparing the onions and peppers
I thought I would share my take on the moqueca we made. This recipe may sound exotic but it is actually quite a simple seafood stew. Most of the ingredients are pretty easy to come by, with the exception of palm oil for which you can substitute olive oil if required. The trick is to cure the fish before cooking in the mixture of lime and seasoning which will add a lovely zesty tang to the dish.
Cooking the onions and peppers
2 limes
2 tsps cumin
2 onions, sliced into rings
1 yellow pepper, sliced thinly
1 red pepper, sliced thinly
2 tbsp palm oil
200ml coconut milk
Salt and pepper
600g firm white fish such as cod.
150g prawns, shelled
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
The finished moqueca
1. Mix together juice from the limes, salt and pepper and cumin and pour it over the fish. Leave to marinade for about 10 mins.
2. Heat a heavy based pan or wok over a low heat, add the palm oil and then the sliced onion and peppers. Cook for about 10 mins or until the onion starts to brown and soften.
3. Add the coconut milk, fish and prawns. Bring soup to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 mins.
4. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add a squeeze more lime here if you want. Garnish with coriander
Serve with rice or crusty bread. Serves four.
Detail: Cook in Rio, Rua Ronald Carvalho 154, Suite 7, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Ph +55 (21) 8761 3653)
Damage: Reasonable, $75 a person
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my tips on where to eat in Rio or for another cooking class experience while travelling this is my review of an Umbrian cooking school.


  1. I didn’t come across this dish on my trip to Sao Paulo – looks fab! I have to say, I’m really getting into Brazilian food!

  2. looks delicious, you’re a great cook! 🙂

  3. I love cooking classes while on holidays! I miss the kitchen and it’s always a good way of extending the holiday mood when back at home 🙂

  4. Amazing! Moqueca got me really weak in the knees when in Brazil.. Where did you get palm oil in London?

  5. Mr Noodles – I know it’s great

    Campari & Soda: Thanks!

    Lorraine – Exactly my view as well

    Hanna – you can get it online at this site:

  6. you can get palm oil at brazilian shops in London, there is one inside queen’s market in bayswater.

  7. Anon – Thanks for letting us know.

  8. Oh I was in the cook in Rio class in Copacabana twice and I’ll go back again. I am also taking a culinary tour to Peru in 3 weeks. See the tour here.

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