It's quite, quite delicious, and in a totally different way from feijoada. The flavor profile comes at you from several angles: there are strong hints of Southeast Asia and the Middle East in this dish, as well as a good dose of Mediterranean. When I was making the stew, and before I had added any seafood, I took a couple sips of the broth and was wowed by the flavor, which managed the feat of being loud, fresh, and complex. The end product, though, is something else: the spiciness of the peppers—and Korean peppers work fine as a replacement for South American chilies—is counteracted by the coconut milk and sweet tomato; the seafood, meanwhile, makes a great counterpoint for the vegetables. Even though this stew is filled to the brim with onions, I'm eating everything without complaint. Truly marvelous. Moqueca!
Criticisms: The not-quite-whitefish (I really need to learn my fish species) and the shrimp cooked perfectly (I cooked the seafood here in the office instead of pre-cooking and reheating; seafood can be difficult to work with), but the diver scallops (see above photo) cooked very unevenly: some were just the right amount of tender while others were downright chewy (but still tasty). That's probably just a matter of poor stirring and/or not stirring often enough, thus allowing the seafood closest to the gas-range burner to settle and cook too much. This doesn't explain why the shrimp turned out so well, though, but no matter: next time around, I may use tiny bay scallops instead. There's a whole school of thought out there that says it's insane to use diver scallops in things like soup or stew—save the big boys for your seared scallops! This same school of thought argues that bay scallops, while small, are more flavorful, and if they go chewy from overcooking, they're too small for texture to be a huge issue.
Overall, the harmony of flavors was easily as amazing as it was for the feijoada. I'm definitely growing in my respect for Brazilian cuisine as I learn about it from the inside, bit by bit, one succulent dish at a time.
And that's the last dish I'll be cooking for my office mates until after my May walk is done.
My thanks to Chef John for his moqueca recipe.