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Information about Cataplanas and Cataplana Recipes



Speciality Dish - Portugal





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Much like the word Tagine, Cataplana is the name for both the recipe and utensil in which you cook it.  Cataplanas are a feature of many Algarve kitchens and are often used as a centrepiece dish at social gatherings.



Cataplana - The cooking vessel


This is a broad domed dish, much like two woks placed together which is traditionally made of copper..  It is of Moorish design and was introduced to Southern Portugal during  their occupation from the 8th Century AD.  The food is placed in the bottom half of the dish then the hinged lid is closed enabling the ingredients to simmer together and the flavours develop. It can be used in the oven but is most often is used on the stove-top.  


Buy cataplanas here at Cataplana Stockists



Cataplana - The recipe


With Southern Portugal being three quarters surrounded by sea, it is not surprising that fish and seafood featured heavily in their diets. Originally Cataplana was an entirely seafood dish, utilising items such as clams and mussels. It was the ideal way to steam shellfish to perfection.  Today some people use meat or fowl as additions to seafood,  however it should not be confused with a stew as the tradition of a relatively quick cooking time is upheld by way of cutting the meat or fowl into small pieces and some sort of seafood is usually included. Whatever the main ingredients, it is seasoned with herbs or spices and often cooked with tomatoes, onions and wine.


Below are three Cataplana recipes but experiment and use whatever you have to hand. The same effect can be achieved in an ordinary saucepan with a close fitting lid.

Happy Cooking!


Seafood Cataplana     HT  MC  Portuguese  15mins

Chicken and Clam Cataplana    HT  MC  Portuguese  25mins

Pork and Mussel Cataplana     HT  MC  Portuguese  30mins plus marinating

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