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Friday, July 20, 2012

Moqueca Capixaba our native stew of mussels


Moqueca de Mexilhões / Sururu

**Se você quer ver a receita em português, clique aqui para visualizar.**

Moqueca is a kind of brazilian seafood stew people cook since , there are two kinds of moqueca in Brazil: the moqueca bahiana and the moqueca capixaba.  Capixaba is a name of someone that was born in Espírito Santo. This dish is native and ancient, one of the firts meals cooked by natives in south america - but of course, the true old recipe changed a lot, till these days....

I live in Vitoria - Espírito Santo, and in my town, traditionally, this dish is cooked in a clay pot, wikipedia call it capixaba pan. The capixaba pan-makers are very famous.

The moqueca can be made of different things, but it's always a seafood dish. 

Some may cook one type with bananas too, but, for what I know, it's only done in my town, so I guess, even if you asked in a brazillian restaurant speciallized with moquecas, you will only find it here. Unfortunally, this local exclusivety is very common in Brazil. To eat some dishes you have to travel around. 


No matter where you go, the capixaba moqueca will have some main ingredients: tomatoes, onions, cilantro,  chives,and urucum. Urucum is a plant which they extrat a type of natural food colloring (colorau) natives used to cook with and it's still commonly used in every day cooking in Brazil. It's highly red pigmented.

Natives also painted their skins and hair with it. I have to say that I already tried it when I was a kid.
Not that all kids do it, it's very exotic even here hahah. I just did it for fun. 

cilantro and chives

I tried to find some articles in english about colorau but I couldn't. Wikipedia says it's a kind of paprika. It is not! Has nothing to do with paprika, and by the way, we do not cook with paprika in Brazil.

Most of the seafood dishes have cilantro in it's cooking. It's considarated a good seasoning for fish as well.
Besides all the greens and vegetables there is always a fish or type of seafood at least in the moqueca capixaba. 

sururu collector cleaning the mussels and cleaned mussels ready to be seasoned and eaten!

The one in the first picture was made of mussels, which in portuguese would be translated as " mexilhões" but specially at my town people call them " sururus " as the native used to do! 

Most of the mussels dishes around the world are cooked with it's shell, but here, the "sururu collecters" remove it's shell before selling them. I don't think we can find mussels with shells anymore in our markets.

You can always eat in a restaurant not very cheap, but not that expensive either. Mussels usually are the cheapest kind of seafood here. But I recommend you to olny eat them in seafood speciallized restaurants.


I ate this one sunday with my folks. I love Sunday Lunch!

But It's a super easy recipe to cook at home! Shall we try?

Ingredients
  • 400g of mussels cooked without their shells
  • 1/2 tea spoonof salt
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tea spoon of olive oil
  • 6 small garlic teeth
  • 1 tea cup of chopped tomatoes 
  • 1  tea cup of chopped  onions
  • 1/3  tea cup of chopped  cilantro
  • 1/3  tea cup of chopped  chives 

How to do it
  • Clean the mussels very well and season them with salt, lemon, garlic and the oil.
  • In a big pan (clay is better), put all ingredients and let it cook for 10 - 20 minutos.
  • It would not be necessary watter, because of the tomatoes, but if it's too dry, put 1/2 cup of water.
  • Let it boil.
It serves 2 portions.

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