Chicken and Plantain Moqueca

This is a tame version of the traditional seafood moqueca. The plantain brings a soft sweetness and plenty of starch to the stew. This is a straightforward braising dish that takes a bit longer than the fish version, but when you taste the dynamic combination of chicken and plantain, you will experience comforting flavors and textures that make this moqueca worth the wait.

The Brazilian Kitchen by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz; Kyle Books (2010)

Chicken and Plantain Moqueca

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    1 whole chicken (about 3 pounds), with skin, cut into 8 pieces 1 small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
    kosher salt 3 cups chicken stock
    freshly ground black pepper 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
    4 tablespoons dend oil 3 tablespoons tomato paste
    1 medium onion, thinly sliced 2 bay leaves
    2 scallions (white and green parts), sliced on the diagonal 1 pound ripe plantains (look for yellow and black-speckled skin)
    1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced 3 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and sliced
    1/2 cup white wine 4 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
    4 cloves garlic, finely minced


    Prep: 35 min Total: More than 60 min
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    • 1

      Place the chicken pieces in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons of the dendê oil. Rub the chicken all over with the oil making sure it is well distributed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.

    • 2

      Pour the remaining dendê oil into a large Dutch oven and swirl around so the entire bottom is covered. Add the chicken pieces, skin side down, and brown them lightly, over medium heat, for 3 minutes per side.

    • 3

      Using a pair of tongs, transfer the chicken pieces to a clean bowl and cover with aluminum foil, making sure no steam can escape.

    • 4

      Add the onion, scallions, and bell pepper to the pan and cook them in the leftover dendê oil, stirring often, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the white wine and reduce by half, while using a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits that stayed in the pan. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, tomato paste, and bay leaves and bring to a boil.

    • 5

      Reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Add the chicken and any remaining juices that accumulated in the bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, until the chicken starts to get tender, about 1 hour.

    • 6

      Meanwhile, trim the ends off the plantains and cut 3 to 4 vertical slits in the skin, making sure not to cut deep into the fruit. Peel and cut the plantains into 1-inch chunks.

    • 7

      Add the plantains to the moqueca after it has been simmering for an hour. Cover and continue to simmer until the plantains become soft but not mushy, 10 to 15 minutes. If the liquid seems too runny, uncover the pan and continue to simmer, allowing the steam to evaporate and thicken the stew. Season with salt and pepper.

    • 8

      Just a few minutes before serving, add the tomatoes. Garnish with the fresh cilantro and serve over white rice or farofa.

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