Moqueca Capixaba with Pirão

Capixaba is the name by which people from the capital of the state of Espírito Santo, which is Vitória, are called. And there, no mistake is possible, the typical dish of the state of Espírito Santo is the Moqueca Capixaba! This dish is easy to make, it has few ingredients, is very healthy and has a colorful presentation that will bring life to any table, especially when it is served in clay pots, which is the way Moqueca is meant to be served...

It is proven fact: sometimes less is more: best not to add ingredients to the traditional capixaba stew. It is simple and perfect as it is, but yes maybe ... shrimps are allowed. That’s all... To accompany the stew, serve it with rice and some Pirão - this is made with manioc flour and a bouillon made with the heads of the fish.

The traditional Moqueca Capixaba

* 2 pounds of fresh fish (whiting, bass, dogfish, red snapper);
* 4 to 5 branches of fresh cilantro;
* 4 packs of chives;
* 2 onions,
* 2 red tomatoes, to taste;
* 2 lemons;
* olive oil;
* paprika;
* salt;
* Pepper to taste;

For the manioc polenta (Pirão):
* Fish heads
* 1 onion
* 3 cups water
* 1 cup Manioc flour for the manioc polenta (the Pirão)

* White rice


1) Place the fish prepared as square filets, leave them in a pan with salt and the juice of one lemon for at least an hour. Remember to separate and reserve the heads for the fish sauce.

2) In a large clay pot, put two tablespoons of oil, a tablespoon of olive oil, the chives, onion, coriander, all finely chopped. Add the sliced tomatoes, in a way to cover the bottom of the pot, and paprika to taste.

3) Arrange the slices of fish and top with some more chives, onion and chopped cilantro. Do not add water or salt (here, the first time moquequeiro usually gives in to temptation and put water, but do not need it). Cook over low heat and when it boils, add a few drops of lemon. Cover the pan and cook for about ten minutes. Only then correct the salt, if required.

4) For the manioc polenta, just place the reserved fish heads in a pan and cook them, with one chopped onion. When cooked, put everything in boiling water, and boil them to the point when they will come apart. Remove the bones, adjust salt and gradually add the manioc flour to the polenta stirring constantly to avoid making lumps. Be careful not to put too much; while your polenta might seem too light, keep in mind it will thicken when it starts to boil. I have provided a more detailed recipe for Pirão here.

Moqueca Capixaba is served with the Moqueca in one bowl, one bowl of white rice and one bowl of manioc polenta - Enjoy your meal!

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