I was in my local market the other day, picking up a porterhouse from the butcher. The cat behind the counter is a guy who I had talked to a while back, during football season. He’s a Bears fan, poor guy. At any rate, when I first met him, I was grabbing about 2 pounds of shrimp as they were on sale. He had asked what I was going to do with them and I broke down the recipe to him. Fast forward to a few days ago, he says to me, “I’m so glad it’s you, I made that recipe and man, it was amazing.” Little recognition felt pretty darn good. Plus this is at least 2 months later. Apparently, he got put on late shifts and missed my shopping window.
Today we’re going to look at a soup, traditionally called Moqueca de Camarão. Moqueca is a traditional Brazilian stew like soup, based off of salt water fish, coconut milk, and a number of other ingredients. Brazilians have been making this soup and different variations, for the last 300 years. I love making this soup because it fits with my minimalist cooking aesthetic. I loathe doing dishes, so anything I whip up in a single pot is pretty keen in my eyes. Cooking this meal will typically take about 30 minutes. The longest part of the process is cleaning the shrimp. This is a straight up comfort food that is warm and spicy enough to feel good in winter, yet light enough to make during summer. It tastes even better the next day.
This is what you need:
- One large pot. I use a 5 qt. pot from Ikea. (I didn’t even have to put it together.)
- 2 lbs. of shrimp (you can use more or less depending on your tastes.)
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1/4 cup Olive oil
- 3-4 cloves of garlic. Smash them with a knife, wait 5 minutes, then dice them
- 1/2 cup of roasted red peppers diced (more or less depending on your tastes)
- 14 oz or a single can of diced tomatoes. Get the ones with chiles if you can find them.
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- juice of two limes, or about 1/4 of a cup
- Sriracha or the chile pepper sauce of your choice
- 1 can of coconut milk (14 oz.)
Here’s how we do it:
I find it easiest to prep the ingredients prior to cooking, so I have them all on hand and ready once the heat is on. Firstly, we’re going to heat our olive oil in our pan on medium heat. Next, throw your diced onions into the pot and cook them until they are translucent. Do be careful not to burn them. Next, throw your diced garlic, red roasted peppers in and cook for around 4-5 minutes. Please don’t burn the garlic. Then take your can of tomatoes, about a 1/4 cup (more or less depending on your tastes) of diced cilantro, and your shrimps and toss them in that bad boy. You’re going to cook these guys until the shrimp turn from translucent to opaque.
Once that is done, we’re on the home stretch. Add your coconut milk and as much sriracha as you’d like. I eye ball it because I love spicy food, but you can play with it. At this point, we just want to heat the coconut milk through, you don’t want to boil it. Once that is heated, we’re pretty much done. Add some salt and pepper to taste, and mix in your lime juice. Server this garnished with some cilantro, and prepare to have your taste buds knocked into orbit. This is some good stuff.
If you can’t eat shrimp, or find shrimp, and I only buy it when it’s on sale, you can sub in any white fish instead. Crawfish would probably work, even chicken. But as Joshua the butcher said, “the coconut milk just seeps into the shrimp and it is so tasty.”