Brazilian Chicken Moqueca & Salad with Avocado Dressing

Chicken, Latin American, Main Course, Salad

Oi Francine!

Como vai você? Tudo bem??

While we lived in Oxford, we had some really memorable times, and the best part was that we made some wonderful friends. One of the couples we became friends with are from Brazil, who upon leaving to return to their home country, gifted me a beautiful moqueca pot and some dende oil (brazilian palm oil), among other things. So even though we no longer have their physical company, we have a beautiful ceramic cooking pot to explore their cuisine and remember our wonderful times by!

My first attempt at using my newly inherited pot was this Moqueca. Simone had made it once for one of our famous international dinners with seafood and it was aboslutely magical! The flavour combination of the hot chillies, the coconut milk, tomato and the distinctive flavour of dende oil… were simply to die for! So naturally, the first dish I was going to prepare was moqueca.

As I started to do some research, and I found all kinds of versions of moquecas, some with  seafood, some with fish and even some with chicken. One of the recipes I ran across was a really nice spin on moqueca from Nando from Cuca Basurca: Moqueca Ceviche Fish Recipe, it is a really nicely done video that will have you drooling for more!

The recipe I ended up going with was inspired by Emeril’s Moqueca, which I made with chicken. Although moqueca is mostly made with fish, i already had some chicken that I wanted to use up in the fridge. The result was very very delicious, for my first 🙂 It really helped to highlight all the tastes that the sauce included, with a nice neutral meat. However, the fish would have been even better, adding the contrast of the fish flavour to the rest of the dish. We ate this with rice and a fancy Brazilian inspired salad with a lemony spicy avocado dressing! All in all resulting in a whole lot of sunshine in one plate!!!

Chicken Moqueca

6-8 servings


  • 1 kg (2 1/2 lbs) chicken (with skin and bone)
  • 2 large onions (1 roughly chopped + 1 julienned)
  • 2 cups roughly chopped tomatoes, plus 2 tomatoes sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 2 cloves garlic, plus 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 5 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Piri Piri, recipe follows
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp dende oil


  1. Marinate the Chicken: Cut chicken into large bite size pieces (around 4cm, 1.5 in). Place the chicken in a water-tight sealable bag (or bowl). Place the chopped onion, the chopped tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon of cilantro, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the lime juice in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour directly inside the bag with chicken, remove excess air and seal. Once the bag is sealed, ensure the marinade is evenly distributed over the chicken and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Prepare the Piri Piri Sauce (below).
  3. Bring it all together to make the moqueca: Heat a large ceramic moqueca pot (dutch oven or large pan) gradually, until it is thoroughly hot. Add the olive oil to the pot and the julienned onions to the pot, stirring often until translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic, and saute for an additional 30 seconds. Pour the chicken and the marinade into the pot and sauté until starting to brown.
  4. Add the remaining teaspoon of salt, the Piri Piri, and the coconut milk and stir to combine. Once the liquid comes to a boil, dot the top of the pan with the sliced tomatoes and cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until its starts melt off the bone.
  5. Remove the cover from the pan and sprinkle with dende oil and the remaining 4 tablespoons of cilantro over the chicken. Serve accompanied by steamed white rice.

Piri Piri:

3/4 cup sauce


  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 chile peppers, ribs and seeds removed, roughly chopped (or substitute other hot red peppers)
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Heat a small saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and peppers to the pan. Saute, stirring often, until the edges of the garlic start to turn brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the lemon juice to the pan, and remove from the heat.
  2. Place the contents of the saute pan in a blender and add the salt. Puree the peppers and garlic in the blender until mostly smooth. Drizzle the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil through the feed tube of the lid of the blender. Let cool before using, and store refrigerated in an airtight container.


Brazilian Salad With Spicy Avocado Dressing

Serves 4 (Adapted from Fat & Happy: Brazilian Mango and Jicama Salad)



  • 1 semi-ripe mango (julienned)
  • 1 Sweet Heart Cabbage (shredded) (- use any cabbage or salad you prefer)
  • 1 green apple (thinly sliced)
  • 1 red pepper (julienned)
  • 1/4 small red onion (julienned)


  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper (roughly chopped)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro (roughly chopped)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 red onion rough chopped
  • juice from 2 limes
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 2  tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • water (roughly 1/4 cup)
  • salt and pepper


  1. Prepare all the vegetables and fruit as indicated, place in a large salad bowl.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a blender except for the olive oil and water. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture starts to turn into a thick sauce consistency. Drizzle in a little bit of water until a medium sauce consistency is reached (almost a thick whipping cream).
  3. Drizzle desired amount over salad (I used about 2/3 of total dressing), toss and serve!

One thought on “Brazilian Chicken Moqueca & Salad with Avocado Dressing

  1. The Brazilian salad was out of this world! I haven’t anything like it, but I must also say that the entire dinner was beyond yummy!

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