Close up view of fish stew with a cilantro garnish with halved limes and a black spoon.
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4.81 from 42 votes

Brazilian Fish Stew

Flavorful stew with marinated tilapia, bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions in a coconut milk broth.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Brazilian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 260kcal
Author: Kristin


  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1.5 tablespoons cumin
  • 1.5 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 2 pounds tilapia fillets, cut in half (they can be frozen, just thaw slightly to cut)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces frozen pepper and onion strips (1 bag)
  • 14 ounces diced tomatoes, drained (1 can)
  • 14 ounces light unsweetened coconut milk (1 can)
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)


  • Combine the lime juice, cumin, paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Add in the tilapia and mix until coated.
  • Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 20 minutes or so.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or casserole over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onions and cook until they begin to thaw, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and marinated tilapia and mix them in.
  • Pour the coconut milk over everything, mix and cover, and simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • In the last few minutes, stir in the cilantro (optional).
  • When the tilapia is cooked through, garnish with additional cilantro (if desired) and serve.



  • Make the marinade and coat the tilapia ahead of time (even the night before!) and store in the refrigerator. This will save time when you are ready to cook. 
  • Marinating time is optional. Marinating results in the best flavor, but the times that I have skipped that step because of time constraints, the stew still turned out delicious.
  • If you want to use fresh peppers and onions, use 2 large bell peppers, cut into strips, and 1 medium onion, chopped.
  • The coconut milk may be a little lumpy when you first add it, but as it cooks it will combine with the rest of the stew.
  • The fish is done when it starts to flake as you stir. It is best to not overcook, so pay attention and remove from heat when that happens.


Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 232mg | Potassium: 744mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1985IU | Vitamin C: 86.7mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1.8mg