Brazilian Vatapá

In a recent episode of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain was thoroughly enjoying Vatapá, a classic Brazilian dish with African origins.  Vatapá is a thick pureed seafood stew with coconut, jalapeño and peanuts and then a few variable ingredients such as breadcrumb or cornmeal, fresh lime, cilantro, tomatoes and ginger. 
How could I not make this?
Little did I know how easy it would be to make.  For Mother’s day I had gotten a Vitamix blender so this would be the perfect recipe to try it out!
I whipped some up and what a treat! Salty briny seafood, hint of sweet coconut and spicy kick from jalapeño was such a welcome break from the norm.  I loved the creamy texture akin to polenta and the big chunks of fish and shrimp.
Originally I was going to simply use the shrimp but my dad had gone fishing and brought home some fabulous white flounder fillets (and a cobia which I am SO excited about. Recipe to follow.)  My husband and I loved the tender fish so much we even went back for seconds.
Next time I will try adding 1 tablespoon of ginger and 1 to 2 cups of chopped tomatoes.  I can’t wait to make it again soon.
Brazilian Vatapá
Gluten, Egg, Dairy, Sugar Free
Makes 7 cups
2 Tbsp coconut oil or EVOO
2 onion, chopped
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, divided
2 – 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons of turmeric (for color. Palm oil is traditionally used.)
1/3 cup peanut butter or cashew butter
Zest and juice of 1/2 lime
1 1/2 to 2 cups veggie stock or water
1 cup cornmeal
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 14.5 oz can light coconut milk
1/2 pound white fish fillets such as flounder or cod
A few dashes of hot sauce
Handful fresh cilantro
1.      Place the onion, 1/2 cup shrimp, garlic, turmeric, jalapeño, nut butter, lime zest, cornmeal and broth in food processor or blender and puree well. 
2.      Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion-shrimp mixture and sauté until cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes adding more broth as needed.
3.      Pour in coconut milk and simmer for 2 minutes.
4.      Stir in the remaining shrimp, fish and lime juice and simmer another 5-6 minutes, or until seafood is almost cooked through.
5.      Remove from heat, stir in cilantro.


Nutrition Facts
7 Cups
Amount Per Cup
Calories 291.5
Total Fat 12.2 g
Saturated Fat 5.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 120.5 mg
Sodium 268.1 mg
Potassium 312.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 18.6 g
Dietary Fiber 2.5 g
Sugars 1.0 g
Protein 25.0 g
Vitamin A 4.1 %
Vitamin B-12 26.1 %
Vitamin B-6 11.6 %
Vitamin C 6.9 %
Vitamin D 24.6 %
Vitamin E 6.6 %
Calcium 5.1 %
Copper 11.5 %
Folate 3.3 %
Iron 14.2 %
Magnesium 16.7 %
Manganese 8.2 %
Niacin 15.3 %
Pantothenic Acid     4.8 %
Phosphorus     27.4 %
Riboflavin 6.0 %
Selenium 66.2 %
Thiamin 8.1 %
Zinc 8.6 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
 Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

About DHCooks

I’m Dawn – My mission is to cultivate your wellbeing in mind, body and spirit through drool-worthy plant-based recipes and a special offering - my revolutionary, 100% real food, diet (and life!) reset program.

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14 thoughts on “Brazilian Vatapá

  • Roxan

    This soup looks great, Dawn! It seems very thai in a way, doesn't it?
    You take the best pictures… I'm going to have to get some photography advice from you!

  • Dawn

    Ok so everyone visit Roxan at the link on the second comment!

    It does seem sort of Thai now that I think about it. It is amazing how many elements the different cultures share when it comes to food.
    Thank you so much. Shoot I wish I could give more advice but I feel like I’m still learning! I use a macro lens and have a Canon 30D and a Lowel Ego light. I put a white poster board on the other side to reflect the light and make sort of a teepee with the lamp and poster board which is held with a plastic lion to keep it from slipping off the table. My daughter keeps stealing it and toppling my teepee. Although technically is IS hers. Maybe she will let me have it if I bribe her.

  • Tasha

    Dawn, this soup sounds awesome!

    I love that you've shared with us the very technical clamping device you use while photographing. Too cute.

    And I'm not only jealous of the vitamix, but also your fisherman dad. I'd love someone to bring me fresh caught fish.

  • janet

    Totally jealous of your Vitamix – even moreso that you scored it for $100!

    I have made Simply Recipes' Brazilian Fish Soup and it is great. Similar with the fish and coconut milk, but it also has tomatoes. No nut butter, but that sounds heavenly. :)

  • megi

    Just yesterday I was thinking how fabulous it would be to have a vitamix but it would be even better if I found it for a $100. The soup looks fantastic!

  • Dawn

    Joanne I think you would love it! I had never heard of it either until I saw that episode. Just wait till I make this chickpea Bailia I had at my favorite Mediterranean restaurant. I think I could have bathed in it.

  • Maria

    This is such an interesting recipe and it sounds incredibly fragrant and tasty! I'll save this, I think we'll be needing lots of warming recipes like this one during the cooler months here in Sydney!