Vatapa is another classic authentic Brazilian recipe-
- 1 cup unsalted dried shrimp
- ¼ cup dendé oil, plus 1 tbsp. (a must ingredient, no substitutes, please)
- 2 Spanish onions, peeled and diced small
- 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and rough chopped
- 1 large fresh jalapeno, seeds left in, chopped fine
- 1 cup unsalted raw cashew nuts, chopped fine
- 1 cup blanched almonds, chopped fine
- 1 cup fish stock or clam stock
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut cream
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tbsp. yellow curry powder
- 6 oz. large, pitted black olives
- 1) 10 to 12 oz. Chilean sea bass fillet, chopped into bite-sized pieces (you could substitute halibut, which comes close, but nothing quite compares to this particular sea bass for the true authentic Brazilian vatapa)
- 1 lb. large prawns (shrimp), shelled and deveined
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into long strips
- Some fresh squeezed lime juice
- Salt, to taste
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more, rough chopped, for garnish
- In a mixing bowl full of warm water, soak the dried shrimp for 10 to 12 minutes, until well rehydrated. Drain the shrimp, put them in a blender or food processor and puree them. Then set aside.
- In a large saucepan or skillet over medium high heat, heat the ¼ cup of dendé oil and sauté the pureed rehydrated shrimp, garlic, onions, cashews, almonds, and jalapeno for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Now make your vatapa sauce by adding the coconut milk, coconut cream, and fish or clam stock, stirring in the yellow curry, and adjusting the heat so the dish is simmering, and simmer-cook for 5 to 6 minutes.
- Put the sea bass into the vatapa mixture, and poach it for about 12 minutes, or until the fish is flaky. Add the cilantro and cook for another 4 minutes.
- While the sea bass is poaching in the vatapa sauce, steam your bell pepper strips and the peeled and deveined large prawns until the prawns turn white with pink veins and are cooked through. The bell peppers should be done at the same time – you don’t want them mushy. Remove the prawns from the steamer (leave the bell peppers in with the lid on, to keep warm), and season the prawns with salt to taste, then drizzle them with fresh squeezed lime juice. If your vatapa is not yet fully cooked, place prawns in a covered bowl and keep warm in the oven.
- To serve, ladle a generous portion of your vatapa into single serving sized bowls, arrange some bell pepper strips in an attractive fashion on top, place a few of the steamed prawns and a couple olives on top as well, and lastly place a little mound of rough chopped cilantro in the center. Drizzle the remaining dendé oil over it all, and enjoy!