The Brazilian-inspired shrimp stew is cooked in a rich broth to create this bright and fragrant 20-minutes stew also known as Moqueca de Camarão. A traditional recipe in Brazil, specifically Northern states, seafood stews are cooked on claypots with palm oil and local spices. For the sake of accessibility and because I can’t live without a good stew or moqueca, I found a simple recipe that is just as delicious and flavorful.

Shrimp stew in coconut broth sauce with tomatoes and fresh cilantro.

Traditionally known as Moqueca de Camarão or Brazilian Shrimp Stew, you will love the vibrant flavors of this seafood dish. Coconut milk and puréed tomatoes creates the base for the sauce. Colorful peppers and tomatoes dress up the dish while cilantro adds brightness and good flavor. Best part is, this Shrimp Stew recipe is ready in 20 minutes!

Shrimp stew is undoubtedly one of the most delicious traditional Brazilian dishes, which also happens to rank on the top ten best Brazilian foods and if you are from Bahia that number is much higher.

That’s because Shrimp Stew or “moqueca de camarão” is originated in Bahia with some influences from the African cuisine such as the addition of coconut milk and dandê oil (palm oil).

If you ever get a chance to travel to the northern coast of Brazil, particularly Bahia DO try the traditional moqueca de camarão with palm oil because it is simply amazing!

Brazilian inspired shrimp stew recipe in cast iron skillet with peppers, tomatoes and cilantro in coconut broth.

what is “moqueca”

Moqueca is a Brazilian seafood stew (pronounced “mo-KEH-kah”). The stew can be made with shrimp, fish or both.

Moqueca or fish stew is traditionally slow-cooked in a claypot. The sauce and base for the fish is made using puréed tomatoes, coconut milk, shallots, garlic and dendê oil.

The other elements to the moqueca are the colorful bell peppers, vine tomatoes, cilantro and “pimenta malagueta” which is heavily used in the state of Bahia.

how to make shrimp stew or moqueca de camarão

  1. start by heating the fragrant elements; shallots and garlic in oil. Traditionally we would use “oleo de dendê” or palm oil but you can use olive oil or coconut oil instead.
  2. create the base sauce by adding tomato sauce or marinara sauce and coconut milk.
  3. add the shrimp (or fish) and season with salt and pepper.
  4. top the seafood with colorful bell peppers, vine tomatoes and fresh cilantro.
  5. at this point you can spice up the dish if you like by adding a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or pimenta malagueta whole.
  6. let the seafood simmer until done. The delicate shrimp will cook in 10-12 minutes covered.
  7. when done add a handful of chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

As you can see this dish doesn’t require a lot of ingredients yet the flavors combined give this international dish a unique taste.

Ingredients for shrimp stew moqueca de camarão measured on a cutting board.

what is Brazilian oleo de dendê or palm oil

Oleo de Dendê is a bright orange strong flavored oil that is extracted from the red pulp surrounding the fruit of oil palms. This particular palm tree grows in Africa and Brazil.

In Bahia palm oil is considered essential for the proper color and flavor of many dishes such as acarajé, moquecas, vatapá and more.

While you may find palm oil at most store shelves these days, sadly these products are refined and deodorized, and therefore does no justice to the actual colors and flavors of a true virgin palm oil.

If you are lucky enough to live near a Brazilian store, they most certainly will carry a true version of the product. It comes in a small bottle and a little goes a long way 🙂

what to serve with shrimp stew?

Traditionally, shrimp stew is served over a Simple Rice but if you are looking to add even more flavor to the table, try this Mexican Rice or Cilantro Lime Rice. Also be sure to have some bread for dipping in that delicious sauce. This Artisan Crusty Bread is perfect but even a Soft Bread will work very well.

If you’re going low carb, serve it over cauliflower rice, cauliflower mashed potato or cauliflower salad.

shrimp stew (moqueca de camarão) in tomato and coconut milk sauce. Fresh tomato, bell pepper and cilantro are part of this dish.

Be sure to check out these amazing shrimp recipes:

Sheet Pan Hawaiian Shrimp

Shrimp Stir Fry

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Sheet Pan Mediterranean Shrimp

Cajun Shrimp Cauliflower Rice

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brazilian shrimp stew
5 from 2 votes

Easy Shrimp Stew

by Silvia Dunnirvine
This easy recipe for Shrimp Stew is based on the tradition Brazilian dish of "moqueca de camarão". Coconut milk and tomato sauce creates the base for the sauce. Colorful peppers and vine tomatoes dress up the dish while cilantro adds brightness and good flavor.
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • Cast Iron Skillet


  • 1.5 lb large shrimp
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot/ onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 14 oz tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 bell pepper (or slices from different colors) sliced
  • 1 bunch vine tomatoes whole
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • fresh cilantro
  • fresh lemon


  • In a large skillet heat oil. Add shallots (you can sub for yellow onion) and garlic, saute until soft and fragrant.
  • Add tomato sauce and coconut milk. Give the sauce a stir.
  • Add in shrimp and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Top shrimp with bell pepper slices and snuggle in vine tomatoes in sauce. Add the crushed pepper flakes or any whole hot pepper that you like (this is the time you add pimenta malagueta if using!)
  • Add a handful of fresh cilantro without chopping and cover. Let it simmer on medium low for 10-12 minutes. If needed give the shrimp a stir to make sure all is submerged in sauce and getting properly cooked.
  • Top dish with more cilantro and give it a squeese of fresh lemon juice. Serve with rice.


Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 214mg | Sodium: 1776mg | Potassium: 809mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1090IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 130mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Keyword: Brazilian Shrimp Stew, Moqueca de Camarão, Shrimp Stew
Course: Dinner/ Main Meals
Cuisine: Brazilian
Like this? Leave a comment below!
Brazilian shrimp stew in cast iron skillet with fresh peppers, tomatoes and cilantro.

Hi! I’m Silvia.

My goal is to make cooking simple and enjoyable.

Garden in the Kitchen is full of easy and balanced recipes for busy families. Classics get a healthier twist with additions of veggies or alternative ingredients.

I hope my recipes will inspire you to cook more home meals and above all have fun in the kitchen!

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Recipe Rating


  1. When you want a last minute healthy meal, I highly recommend this. Very Americanized version of this stew however it’s delicious! I cut up two medium tomatoes instead of putting them in whole.

    I also simmer the veggies a bit in the tomato and coconut milk mixture a bit to break them down and develop the garlic flavor before adding in the shrimp.

    So impressed! Serve with the rice and it’s a perfect weeknight meal.

    1. That’s great Amanda, I am so happy to hear! Thanks for trying my recipe and sharing your feedback too!