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Moqueca De Peixe (Bahian Style Fish Stew)

3 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 medium ripe tomato -- quartered
1/2 medium green bell -- pepper, seeded
1 medium onion -- quarter
salt and black pepper
2 pounds fish fillets -- (cod, scrod, haddock, or any firm-fleshed -- fish)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup thin coconut milk*
2 tablespoons dende*
2 tablespoons peanut oil


*Heat a coconut in a 350F oven for 10 minutes so it will develop "fault lines. Remove from oven and, holding it in a cloth (it will be hot) over a large bowl, hit it along the fault lines with a hammer or heavy mallet. The coconut will open. Reserve the liquid, remove the meat from the shell and take off the brown outer pieces with a pairing knife. Grate the coconut meat, either with a hand grater or in a food processor. Wrap in cheesecloth and pour 1/2 cup warm water over it while holding it over a bowl. Squeeze the liquid from the coconut into the bowl. This is thick coconut milk. Add the reserved coconut water and grated coconut residue. This is the only way to get the true Brazilian taste. Otherwise, you can buy a bottle of coconut milk from specialty stores (and it is pretty hideous). African markets in the United States. Chop the coriander, tomato, pepper, and onion in a food processor until you have a coarse paste.

Then place the mixture in a large, heavy skillet over low heat. Add the salt and pepper and cook for 15 minutes. Add the fish fillets to the mixture and continue cooking for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, stir and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve the moqueca hot with white rice and Farofa.




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