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Samba stew.

Samba stew

Colorful and tropical, moqueca is Brazil's popular party dish. You make it with fresh seafood

Like a samba, the Brazilian seafood stew called moqueca (moh-keh-ka) has a tropical beat. Delicate, fresh seafood and smooth coconut milk--with hints of musky dende palm oil and fiery chili--mingle to form a festive syncopation in this popular dish. Hilza da Silva, raised in Brazil, now cooks moqueca for friends and for catering clients in the Los Angeles area. She serves this version for eight with fried white rice, as well as a savory topping called farofa and an intensely flavored banana dessert. The meal reflects Africa's and Europe's culinary impact on Bahia, a state on Brazil's Atlantic coast. Bahian dishes are distinguished by a strong African influence on their combination of European and native ingredients--chilies, coconut, palm oil, manioc root (in farofa). You start moqueca by cooking elements separately to make a flavorful broth. Then put the stew together with an assortment of seafood and a touch of brightly colored palm oil, and simmer briefly. Spice shops and stores catering to Latinos sell ingredients for the authentic version of this meal: coconut milk, dende palm oil, Brazilian hot chilies (called pimienta or malagueta) in oil, fresh Mexican cheese, and manioc (also called farina, cassava, or gari). Or use alternatives suggested. Many supermarkets have coconut milk and Oriental chili oil. Dende palm oil ranges in color from orange to deep red and may be liquid to solid (cold firms it up). Since the oil has no flavor substitute, omit it if you can't find it; the stew and farofa will be different but still good. Brazilians ordinarily use only the oil from the preserved chilies because the chilies themselves are so incendiary. But sensation seekers can add chili bits to their portions of moqueca.

Flavors of Bahia

Though salad isn't typically Brazilian, you may want to add it to the menu. Moqueca

Fried Rice Green Salad

Farofa with Dende Palm Oil Banana Sweet with Fresh Cheese and Fruit Mineral Water or Beer Cook rice while moqueca simmers. Farofa goes together quickly a the last minute. The banana paste dessert takes about an hour; you can make it up to a week ahead.

Moqueca
 1/3 cup minced garlic
 1 medium-size yellow or white onion,
 cut into slivers
 1 cup sliced green onions
 1/4 cup olive oil
 1 pound medium-size (43 to 50 per
 lb.) shrimp, shelled (reserve
 shells) and deveined
 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
2 1/4 cups regular-strength chicken broth
 1 can (14 oz.) canned or thawed
 frozen coconut milk
 3/4 cup lemon juice
 2 dry bay leaves
 1 each medium-size green and red
 bell peppers, stemmed, seeded,
 and chopped
 1/4 cup dende palm oil (optional)
 2 teaspoons oil from preserved
 Brazilian chilies, or 4 teaspoons
 Oriental chili oil
1 1/2 pounds boned and skinned
 swordfish, cut into 8 equal
 pieces
 1 pound small clams in shells
 (suitable for steaming), scrubbed
 1 pound New Zealand green mussels
 or domestic blue mussels in
 shells, scrubbed, with beards
 pulled off
 1/2 pound (at least 8) large sea
 scallops, rinsed
 1/2 pound bay scallops (or sea
 scallops), rinsed


In a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium heat, cook garlic and yellow and green onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil until very limp, stirring often, 12 to 15 minutes. Scrape out of pan and set aside. To pan, add remaining olive oil and shrimp shells (set meat aside). Stir often until shells turn opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce and chicken broth; bring to a simmer on medium-high heat, then simmer, stirring often, for 10 minutes longer. Pour broth mixture through a fine strainer into a bowl, pressing shells to extract liquid; discard shells. Return liquid to pan with onion mixture, coconut milk, lemon juice, bay leaves, and bell peppers. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; simmer, stirring often, until bell peppers are tender to bite, about 10 minutes. (At this point, you can cover and chill broth and seafood separately for up to 1 day.) Add palm and chili oils and bring to a boil. Gently stir in shelled shrimp, swordfish, clams, and mussels. Return to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Gently stir in sea and bay scallops; simmer until shells open, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Serves 8.--Hilza da Silva, Sherman Oaks, Calif. Per serving without palm oil: 433 cal.; 42 g protein; 24 g fat; 13 g carbo.; 488 mg sodium; 129 mg chol. Per serving with palm oil: 493 cal.; 42 g protein; 31 g fat; 13 g carbo.; 488 mg sodium; 129 mg chol.

Fried Rice
 1/4 cup salad oil
 1 tablespoon minced garlic
 1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
 3 cups long-grain white rice
 5 cups water
 Salt


In a 3- to 4-quart pan over medium-high heat, stir oil, garlic, and onion until garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Add rice and stir until it's slightly opaque, about 5 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Add salt to taste. Serves 8. Per serving: 317 cal.; 4.8 g protein; 7.1 g fat; 57 g carbo.; 3.9 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

PHOTO : Brilliant colors of seafood, peppers, and palm oil accent coconut-rich broth

PHOTO : Fresh fruit and cheese accompany spoonful of sweet brown banana paste dessert
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Apr 1, 1990
Words:906
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