Moqueca de Ovos is a vegetarian Brazilian Egg Stew, where hard boiled eggs replace the seafood in the original version. It's easy to make in 30 minutes and tastes amazing.
When it comes to traditional Brazilian dinners, Moqueca is often at the top of the list. It is usually a seafood stew with either fish or shrimp with tomatoes, onions, garlic, lime and cilantro. I first created my version of Coconut Shrimp Stew ~ Moqueca de Camarão but was so inspired when I heard of different variations. This Moqueca de ovos, or a coconut egg stew recipe, is one such popular variation!
It may seem strange to put slices of hard boiled eggs into a stew, but I'm telling you it's pretty amazing. First, the texture is creamy with only a slight chewy bite from the egg whites. But the flavor of the creamy yokes is what is fantastic. It softens the bite from the peppers and onions giving the stew a more silky feel and taste.
The eggs also provide the important protein component of this dish! This makes it a terrific vegetarian option!
While Moqueca is certainly a traditional Brazilian dish, it originates from Portuguese and African influences. From my research, it's roots start more with Nigerian stews and over time has evolved and been adapted by Portuguese and Brazilian cultures. Moqueca Baiana, from the Brazilian state of Bahia, is an adaptation of the recipe where coconut milk is added. And the eggs, well, I'm not exactly sure where those come from. However, I will say that eggs are a very popular addition to many savory dishes. I recently published a Farofa stuffing recipe that also has hard boiled eggs. You can also find eggs and ham added to rice, called Arroz Maluco.
Ingredients and Substitutes
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- Eggs, hard boiled - The eggs in this recipe are traditional and such a fun addition, but you can certainly leave them out. There is plenty of flavor and texture from the other ingredients. You can use large eggs or extra large.
- Extra Virgin Olive oil - Olive oil or Coconut oil, which adds even more fantastic coconut flavor. You can also use vegetable oil.
- Fresh Garlic cloves, minced – Fresh is best when it comes to garlic, but you can buy pre-minced garlic to save time or mince it in bulk and freeze it for use when needed!
- Onion - You need 1 onion and I love lots of onion, so I use a large onion. You can substitute with white onion, red onion, shallot, or even scallions.
- Green bell pepper - Green pepper is a common ingredient in Brazilian stews, but you can substitute any bell peppers, such as red bell pepper. Other mild peppers, such as poblanos would also work. Or hot peppers, such as jalapeno or red chilis.
- Diced Tomatoes - I used canned diced tomatoes. I like the chunks of tomato that you get with diced. However, you can substitute in pureed, crushed, diced, or whole tomatoes that you crush with your hands. Tomato sauce will work too. You can also add a tablespoon of tomato paste for more deep flavor.
- Fresh cilantro chopped - In my personal opinion, there is no substitute for the vibrant flavor of fresh cilantro. However, if you do not have it, you can use parsley for the color or basil leave for the herby flavor.
- Coconut Milk, unsweetened - Not all coconut milks are created equal. Some brands will give you a grainy consistency and texture that is not appealing. I used A Taste of Thai, First Pressing, which is smooth and creamy and blends into the sauce evenly. If you don't have coconut milk, you can substitute in half and half or heavy cream.
- Vegetable broth or Chicken broth - You can also use vegetable stock or chicken stock or of course seafood stock if you have it!
- Lime Juice juice from 1 lime - The fresh lime zest gives such wonderful brightness to this dish. However, if you absolutely cannot get a lime, you can use lime juice or zest and juice from half of a lemon. Last resort, you can add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
- Cornstarch - This is the thickener in the sauce and is great because it can be mixed into cold liquid (water in this recipe) to dissolve and create a slurry. Then add it’s added to hot liquid to thicken it. It’s much easy than making a flour roux and saves lots of time and fuss!
- Ground Cumin - Cumin gives a wonderful, subtle smoky flavor. If you don't have cumin, you can substitute in smoked paprika or ground coriander.
- Paprika - Sweet or Smoked Paprika brings a peppery and smokey note without the heat. You can also use red pepper flakes for heat or cayenne if you want. You can substitute in your favorite hot sauce or red pepper flakes.
- Salt and Ground Black Pepper - I use coarse salt, such as Kosher salt, and grind black pepper fresh. Any salt and pre-ground black pepper will work.
Simple Equipment and Tools
I made this Moqueca Egg stew in a dutch oven, but any large bottom deep pot will work. Separately, you need a medium pot with a lid for boiling the eggs.
Oh, and mincing garlic is made super easy with a Garlic Press.
How to Make Recipe
Hard boil the eggs by putting them in a pot of water and then bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for 7 minutes. Once cooled enough to handle, peel the eggs and then slice into ¼ or ⅓ inch slices.
Peel and mince the garlic. Dice the onion. Dice the green pepper. Chop the cilantro. Cut the lime in half and juice it. Mix the cornstarch and water.
Pre-heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the coconut or olive oil, then the onion, garlic, and the green pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent.
Add the broth, diced tomatoes, coconut milk (shaken vigorously in the can or whisked to mix the liquids and the solids before adding), cornstarch slurry, Ground Cumin, Cayenne pepper, lime juice, and Fresh cilantro.
Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook for 6 to 7 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened.
Finally, add the sliced hard boiled eggs to the stew and warm through for just 1-2 minutes.
Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. Enjoy!
What to Serve with Moqueca de Ovos
For starters, Moqueca, like any stew, is fantastic served with something that can soak up the delicious sauce. I love to serve it with Brazilian Rice, with Onions and Garlic, but a plain white rice is just fine too.
For a vegetable side, I recommend a simple salad or another cooked green, such as Sauteed Kale with Bacon and Garlic, or Couve a Mineira.
And of course, you need a dessert! My Brazilian Carrot Cake with Chocolate Sauce Topping, known as Bolo de Cenoura, is the perfect dessert.
Can I use any other milk in the Creamy Coconut Sauce?
The traditional Brazilian Moqueca dish uses coconut milk, but you can substitute with regular cows milk, plain unsweetened almond milk, half and half or heavy cream.
Can I make this Moqueca Ahead and Reheat it?
You can absolutely make Moqueca de Ovos ahead! This dish reheats beautifully and is a great meal prep option for enjoying several days during the week! To reheat, you can place it in a microwave safe bowl and warm it for 1-2 minutes. Or you can place it back in a pot covered on the stove and warm it on medium heat. It will take about 10-15 minutes. You can either add the eggs before you reheat or after if you want make sure they stay intact in nice slices.
Can I freeze Moqueca de Ovos?
You can freeze this Moqueca for up to 4 months in an airtight container or freezer bag. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then warm on the stove. Or place the frozen stew in the oven at 400 F degrees for 30-40 minutes until warm.
Is this Moqueca Gluten Free?
This Moqueca de Ovos recipe is gluten free with the ingredients listed. Check all packaging ingredient labels to ensure that it does not contain gluten.
Is this Moqueca de Ovos a Low Carb recipe?
In terms of low carb recipes, please consult your medical professional with any specific dietary needs. I can tell you that there are no very high carbohydrate ingredients included in this recipe. That said, if you are using canned tomatoes in any form, please check the labels as some may contain added sugars, which are of course, carbohydrates.
Moqueca de Ovos ~ Vegetarian Moqueca
- 6 Eggs large or extra large
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 Cloves Garlic minced
- 1 Large Onion, chopped
- 1 Green bell pepper, chopped
- 14-15 ounces Diced Tomatoes (1 can)
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- ½ teaspoon Sweet Paprika (or smoked paprika)
- ¼ cup Fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup Coconut Milk, unsweetened (I used A Taste of Thai, First Pressing)
- ½ cup Vegetable broth or stock (Chicken or Beef broth can be used too)
- 2-3 tablespoons Lime Juice juice (from 1 lime)
- 2 teaspoons Cornstarch
- ¼ cup Cold Water
- Hard boil the eggs by putting them in a pot of water and then bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for 7 minutes. Once cooled enough to handle, peel the eggs and then slice into ¼ or ⅓ inch slices.
- Peel and mince the garlic. Dice the onion. Dice the green pepper. Chop the cilantro. Cut the lime in half and juice it. Mix the cornstarch and water.
- Pre-heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the coconut or olive oil, then the onion, garlic, and the green pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent.
- Add the broth, diced tomatoes, coconut milk (shaken vigorously in the can ir whisked to mix the liquids and the solids before adding), cornstarch slurry, Ground Cumin, Cayenne pepper, lime juice, and Fresh cilantro. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook for 6 to 7 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened.
- Finally, add the sliced hard boiled eggs to the stew and warm through for just 1-2 minutes. Serve with Brazilian Rice or by itself and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. Enjoy!