This seafood stew from Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, dates back hundreds of years and reflects the region's diverse population and history. It merges the African ingredients of dendê (red palm oil) and coconut milk with indigenous traditions of preparing seafood in clay pots over coals. Dendê is traditionally used for its rich flavor and beautiful red color, but you can use canola oil instead, as the tomato paste will still lend the dish a vibrant hue. Read more about the author's connection to this recipe in Soup—and Life—Lessons From My Grandma.

EatingWell Magazine, January / February 2021


Credit: Leigh Beisch

Recipe Summary

30 mins
30 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine crab, shrimp and lemon juice in a medium bowl.

  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add red peppers, green peppers and onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add cilantro, garlic, tomato paste, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add coconut milk and clam juice (or fish stock) and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until the peppers are softened, 8 to 10 minutes.

  • Add the crab and shrimp and return to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook until the shrimp is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more. Serve the chowder over rice. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.


Tip: Dendê (red palm oil) gets its vibrant color from the pulp of the fruit of the oil palm tree. It is not the same as palm kernel oil, which is made from the seeds, not the pulp. Choose cold-pressed, unrefined red palm oil that bears a Palm Done Right seal of approval.

Nutrition Facts

1 ⅓ cups chowder & ½ cup rice
485 calories; fat 26g; cholesterol 112mg; sodium 686mg; carbohydrates 39g; dietary fiber 5g; protein 28g; sugars 5g; saturated fat 20g.