We were enamored by the stories my sister-in-law returned with from her trip to Brazil.
The indescribable football frenzy.
The wilderness of the Amazon.
The gorgeous city panoramas from atop the Sugarloaf Mountain.
And of course the awe-inspiring Christ the Redeemer.
But what we could not stop discussing about, even weeks after she was back home, was Brazilian food.
And one lazy winter morning when my sister-in-law stirs up a rustic fish and shrimp stew for lunch, we are delighted.
Moqueca, that’s what it’s called, she explains once the bowls have been licked clean, and isn’t it stunning ?
The smiles say it all.
What a stark contrast, I muse, to the hearty Bengali fish stew that we all grew up loving.
Such incredible diversity and so much to explore in this vast universe of astonishing cultures and cuisines.
And ever since, the moqueca has been a regular fixture whenever we have craved for comfort food.
A piping bowl of the delicious stew. Some toast on the side.
And I am all set to snuggle under a quilt to binge-watch a show that’s been receiving rave reviews or to read the book that just arrived by post.
So when S and I plan seven different cuisines over seven days, I immediately know that one day has to be reserved for the hearty yet delectable moqueca, our favourite from the land of sunshine, samba and soccer.
Moqueca. A rustic cod and shrimp stew. The earthy sweetness of coconut milk. The heat of cayenne pepper. The freshness of green onions and coriander shoots. Comfort food at its best !!