Hot and Spicy Brazilian Maxixada

This dish is eaten over rice or a mixture of rice and beans. Traditionally, it’s cooked with dende oil (red palm oil), but you can substitute olive oil if you can’t find dende.


  • 1/4 cup dende palm oil  ( or olive oil )
  • 2 cups onion, minced
  • 1 pound young, tender maxixe
  • 1 chayote, diced (peeled zucchini can serve as a substitute)
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 cups tomato, chopped
  • 8 ounces picked cooked crab meat
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 or 3 tbsp chopped cilantro, or to taste
  • Zest of half a lime
  • Salt and freshly chopped or ground hot pepper to taste (preferably malagueta)
  • Optional garnish: 4 boiled crabs cut in half


Heat oil in a large sauté pan or skillet and add onion, maxixe, and chayote or zucchini. Cover and cook 6 minutes over medium heat, then add garlic, tomato, picked crab and coconut milk. Stir and cook uncovered until the tomato is reduced and the sauce turns light orange (about 8 minutes). Add cilantro and lime zest, then season to taste with salt and hot pepper. Once the liquids are well combined and hot (about 5 minutes), serve over rice with hot boiled crabs as a garnish. Serves 4 to 6.