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The Hirshon Brazilian Shrimp Stew – Vatapá

  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale
  • 6 oz. dried salt cod
  • 1/2 cup small dried shrimp
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup Brazil nuts (TFD change – original recipe used peanuts)
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 dried chiles de arbol, stemmed
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 1″-piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 5 oz. white country bread, thinly sliced
  • 1 14oz. can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup dendê (palm oil) – dendê oil can be purchased at most African or Brazilian markets or on Amazon. If unavailable, add enough turmeric powder to the recipe to turn the dish a goodly shade of yellow.
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 canned whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1/8 tsp of freshly-grated nutmeg
  • 3 cups shrimp stock (preferred) or fish stock
  • 8 oz. raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tsp. finely minced tarragon (TFD addition, not in original recipe – omit for classic version)
  • Thinly sliced red bell pepper for garnish
  • Parsley or Cilantro, as you prefer, for garnish
  • A few pitted black olives for garnish
  • Cooked rice, for serving


  1. Place cod in a 2-qt. saucepan; cover by 2″ with cold water. Boil for 20 minutes; drain. Repeat process twice more; finely shred and set aside.
  2. Purée dried shrimp, cashews, Brazil nuts, nutmeg, scallions, chiles, garlic and ginger in a food processor; set shrimp paste aside. Combine bread and coconut milk in a food processor; let sit for 20 minutes. Purée; set bread paste aside.
  3. Heat dendê oil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat (or use peanut oil with a few teaspoons of turmeric mixed in). Add onion; cook until soft, about 13 minutes. Add shrimp paste; cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook until broken down, about 6 minutes. Add cod, bread paste, and stock; boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium; cook until reduced by one quarter, about 30 minutes. Add shrimp and minced tarragon; cook until shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; add garnishes and serve with rice.
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours


  • Calories: 953.87 kcal
  • Sugar: 6.53 g
  • Sodium: 3997.26 mg
  • Fat: 62.94 g
  • Saturated Fat: 23.98 g
  • Trans Fat: 0.13 g
  • Carbohydrates: 49.41 g
  • Fiber: 6.0 g
  • Protein: 52.85 g
  • Cholesterol: 168.07 mg