MOQUECA is a typical dish from the states of Bahia and Espírito Santo that incorporates Brazilian native Indian, African and Portuguese cookery. MOQUECA is type of seafood ragout or stew made of any combination of fish and shellfish. The name of this dish is derived from the Indian word – POKEKAS – dishes wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over charcoal. Africans brought over to Brazil as slaves and working as cooks in the kitchen of the Big House sugar plantation, modified the indigenous dishes.
Today MOQUECAS are cooked on top of the stove in a clay pot. The seafood is poached in a rich broth which is seasoned with tomatoes, cilantro, onions and sweet peppers. Coconut milk, dende oil – palm oil – or a zest of hot sauce (if you dare) can be also in the sauce for flavor variation.
Families will feel right at home at this restaurant with its kid-friendly menu and atmosphere. Seating is readily available at Muqueca Restaurant for those with large parties. Gluten-free and low-fat eaters will enjoy the menu at Muqueca Restaurant.
Hello, my name is Maria de Fatima Langa, (shortly called Fafá ) I was born in Espírito Santo, on the southeast coast of Brazil. Ever since I was a little girl I was always fascinated by cooking and preparing dishes. I used to spend most of my childhood in the kitchen helping my mom prepare our meals. In my later years I moved to the U.S and worked as a tour guide around the NYC area and Canada.
Eventually my passion for cooking would guide my ex- husband and I to open up Muqueca at Inman Square, which at the time was just a really small restaurant. From then on, business picked up and eventually we moved to a bigger space a block away, where we have been operating up until now. Owning a restaurant requires an immense amount of time and hard work, but I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.
Host Margarita Martínez goes to Inman Square in Cambridge for a taste of Brazil at Muqueca. Chef Fátima “Fafa” Langa teaches her how to prepare three Brazilian favorites:
OUR CLAY POTS COME FROM VITÓRIA, BRAZIL and they have a 400 years old tradition.
Brazilian seafood stew in traditional clay pots is the main attraction at this bright, funky eatery.
They are made by the ‘Paneleiras de Goiabeiras’ – See Photos. The pots are made from a mixture of clay and mangrove tree sap. After the pots are shaped and dried, they are put through a bonfire. While it still hot, sap is re-applied, this seals and blackens the clay and it makes water resistant.
“…This is marvelous, distinctive food. The soups are excellent, especially fish soup thickened with yucca. Deep-fried red snapper, a whole fish with an olive in its eye socket, gets nicely gritty crunch from a cornmeal coating. Shrimp sauteed in garlic, olive oil, and cilantro makes an ideal light starter…”
“For “large, satisfying” portions of “Brazilian comfort food”, diners head to this Inman Square “treat” known especially for its way with “colorful, vibrant seafood dishes” like the eponymous stew served in a hot clay pot; the “festively decorated” space may be “small”, but it’s nonetheless a “nice”, “family-run place.”