How To: Cook a Portuguese cataplana seafood stew

Cook a Portuguese cataplana seafood stew

What's a cataplana? It's a delicious Portuguese dish and the cookware it's made in, shaped like a clam. So make sure you have a cataplana before you try out this recipe for Portuguese cataplana. It's super tasty, with lisbon sauce, stew, and seafood!

Traditionally, a copper cataplana pot is used to steam and serve this family-style meal but you can use whatever you have on hand. Assembled with a garlicy red pepper sauce, tomatoes, chorizo and an array of seafood, it makes an incredible presentation when you pop the lid to reveal the finished steaming stew. Watch this video and see how it is made.


Lisbon Sauce

* 1 charred red pepper, peeled and seeded removed*
* 4 cloves garlic
* ½ cup olive oil
* 1 tsp salt

Stew Base

* 4 tomatoes, rough chopped & seeded
* 1 large sweet onion, quartered & sliced
* 2 Portuguese chorizos, half minced, half sliced
* 16 oz clam juice or chicken stock
* 2 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1/8 + ¼ + ¼ cup olive oil (you'll need to add these separately)
* 2 bay leaves
* pinch of fresh chopped parsley
* ½ tsp red pepper flakes
* sea salt

Additional Ingredients

* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
* 1 lb mussels
* 1 lb clams
* 2 lbs squid tube, cleaned & chopped
* ½ lb conch, sliced (or scallops - but put scallops in last with shrimp if you substitute)
* ½ onion, quartered & sliced
* 1 cup white wine
* 1 lb shrimp, shelled and tails intact
* pinch of red pepper flakes
* ¼ cup store bought tomato sauce
* 4 fillets of sea bass
* chopped parsley
* 1 lemon, cut into wedges
* salt

Special Equipment

* copper cataplana pot, wok with foil cover, or pot with a lid

Cook a Portuguese cataplana seafood stew

Cook a Portuguese cataplana seafood stew Click through to watch this video on

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It is not "aluminum on the inside." The inside of the cataplana is traditionally lined with tin. The copper exterior assures evenly dispersed heat. And yes, it is very hot!
Thanks for making the video. I had never seen anyone else use a cataplana. I got mine without instructions 30 years ago and experimented, not knowing what it was for. It is practically impossible to produce a meal that is not delicious. I've cooked everything in mine, rack of ribs, turkey, roast. Put any kind of meat in the middle, surround it with vegatables, use imagination to add a juice that compliments flavor. I generally use a cup of the wine that I will be serving with dinner. No one ever told me not to use the cataplana in the oven, and by looking at it, it never occurred to me to use it stovetop-- it is a clumsy pot for stovetop unless you have a flat range surface-- and the clam-shell design just looked like it begged for the oven. And that is what I've done with mine-- giving it regular use over the past 30 years-- it still works as good as new. Mine's 13 inches, which I can load up with a meal for four to six people, close the cover, stick it in the oven at 300 degrees F and set the oven timer for a couple of hours. COme back up to three hours later, it will still be hot in the oven, and ready to take to the table and open up-- great for corned beef and cabbage with potatoes carrots and onions.
I know that mine has a tin lining, not aluminum. Also, I don't like to cook fish in aluminum-- just personal preference. And by the way, now that I've seen the video, I will try using the cataplana for what it was intended-- ha ha would have never thought of using it for seafood-- stovetop!

Just back from Portugal (loading my Jumbo Tiger Prawn recipe as we speak) and had plenty of these. Great work sharing, really nice recipe that I must try!!

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