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Brazilian Seafood Stew (Vatapa)

This is a hot and spicy codfish and shrimp stew which comes from Bahia, a coastal region, where foods have been influenced by Africans who were brought to Brazil as slaves.

Ingredients

  • 1 (5 ounce) package dried shrimp (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 to 5 Serrano chiles, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 1 (16 ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, shelled and de-veined
  • 1 pound cod fillets, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Cover dried shrimp with warm water. Let stand 15 minutes; drain. Finely chop shrimp; reserve.
  2. Cook and stir onion, chiles, garlic, paprika and red pepper in 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until onion is tender.
  3. Stir in coconut milk, tomatoes, salt and reserved dried shrimp. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in bread crumbs and peanut butter until well blended and mixture is consistency of thick sauce; keep warm over low heat.
  5. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in skillet until hot. Cook and stir raw shrimp in oil over medium heat until pink, about 3 minutes.
  6. Remove shrimp to sauce mixture with slotted spoon. Add more oil to skillet if necessary. Cook and stir fish until it flakes easily with fork, 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Gently stir fish into sauce mixture. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve with salsa if desired.

Yield: 8 servings


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