Cataplana: Portuguese Fish Stew.

Well, it’s May everybody. Not only is it Labour Day, but it is my Parents’ Anniversary too!!!

As part of the plan, I decided to try to make this seafood stew, called Cataplana. We enjoyed it immensely during our visit there, so my brother and I tried to recreate the recipe. We adapted it from various recipes, including this one we found online. Click here for the link.


  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 small bottle of wine (we used Chardonnay)
  • Oregano (we used it from a bottle mix)
  • 4 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 400g (1 can) of tomatoes
  • 1 Capsicum
  • Pepper to taste
  • A pack of Frozen Mussels
  • 2 pieces of white fish (around 400g)
  • 200g worth of Frozen prawns
  • 4 small US russet potatoes


  1. Take out the frozen prawns, fish to thaw. Place them in a bowl of cold water around 30-40 minutes before starting the preparation.
  2. Skin and cut the potatoes in chunks. Place them in a bowl to set aside for later.
  3. Slice the onions into small bite sized pieces. Rough chopping would do. (Sidetrack: My brother and I were really suffering on this one. The onion juice is strong, so I kept tearing up due to the onion. The more I cut, the more juice got into my eye. My brother also teared up. Ah, onions..It is not a myth that onions do make people cry).
  4. Cut the garlic into small fine pieces. Take out the core of the capsicum and cut them into wedges.
  5. Pour 1/3 cup of olive owl into a sizeable large pan, and heat. When the oil is warm, add in the can of tomatoes, along with the onions, garlic and capsicum. Stir consistently, and add in the salt, pepper and Oregano as you stir. Keep it on medium heat.

    Look at all the bright colours.
    Look at all the bright colours.
  6. Heat for around 12 minutes. Then, add in the chicken stock, wine and continue stirring gently. Add the water bit by bit, and taste. Add more salt and pepper if you like.
  7. Simmer the mixture, and check on the seafood. Cut the thawed fish into bit sized slices.
  8. Add in the mussels. Cover the pot and simmer for around 5 minutes. Once they have opened, turn the heat to low and add in the fish and prawns. Stir the mixture carefully. Leave it for 10 minutes. For those mussels that have not opened, remove them and throw them away.
  9. IMG_8882Boil the potatoes in a separate pot with salt and water. Boil it for 10-15 minutes, till they soft enough to poke through.
  10. Gingerly drain the potatoes and add them to the stew, stirring it in and folding it into the layers of ingredients. Heat for another 15-20 minutes (lid on) Then turn off the flame and serve alongside crusty baguette.

Serving Size 4:

A feast for the eyes and the tummy.

We had a lot of fun with this recipe. I liked seeing all the bright cheery colours, and the stew was richer than we expected. It really reminded us of the time we spent in Portugal, and it was a trip down memory lane! My parents even opened up a bottle of Portuguese wine for the whole occasion. I was pleased with the outcome. Perhaps next time, I can cook it for my friends too, or try other recipes. On Labour Day, it is the real labour of work, working through onions (crying as we did), stirring in the hot soup, and waking up earlier to prepare it). This is one good recipe. We loved scooping the heaps of bread and eating it with the stew, perfect since the crunchy goes with stew. On a rainy day, it would be good too. I liked it. Fun, filling and fulfilling all at the same time. I was in Cloud 9 when I saw the WHOLE pot of it being devoured.  Nothing’s better than doing things for the ones you love. My mom stored this recipe into her recipe book since she liked it. Try it out with your family and friends. It’s gonna be a show stopper! 😀


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