MOQUECA is a typical dish from Bahia and Espírito Santo that incorporates Brazilian native Indian, African and Portuguese cuisine. MOQUECA is a 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 Big House sugar plantation kitchen, 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 seasoned with tomatoes, cilantro, onions, and sweet peppers. Coconut milk, dende oil – palm oil – or zest of hot sauce (if you dare) can also be 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.
Maria de Fatima Langa (also known as Fafá), owner of Restaurante Muqueca, was born in Espírito Santo, on the southeast coast of Brazil.
Since she was a little girl, she has always been fascinated with cooking and preparing dishes. Fafá spent much of her childhood in the kitchen, helping her mother prepare meals. Later, she moved to the US as an adult and worked as a tour guide in the New York area and Canada.
Over time, Fafá's passion for cooking led her, along with her ex-husband, to open Muqueca in Inman Square, which at the time was just a pretty small restaurant. From then on, business got better, and Restaurant Muqueca's popularity grew. The need to have a space to better serve guests also increased, and the opportunity to move just a block away happened.
According to Fafá, owning a restaurant requires a lot of time and demanding work. Still, she couldn't imagine her life any other way.
Host Marcus Samuelsson - NO PASSPORT REQUIRED - goes to the greater Boston area to learn more about Portuguese, Brazilian, and Cape Verdean food traditions.
The clay pots used in the Muqueca Restaurant come from Vitória, Brazil. Watch the video and learn more about this 400-year-old tradition. (English Captions)
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.
Interview with Antonio Gomes, Fatima Langa's ex-husband and Muqueca restaurant cofounder.
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 is still hot, the sap is re-applied; this seals and blackens the clay and makes it water-resistant.