Cataplana Recipe from the EsquiNa Restaurant in Burgau, Portugal

cataplana recipe image

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In this article, I present the original Cataplana recipe from the Esquina restaurant in Burgau, located on the Algarve coast in Portugal.

It has become a rarity for restaurant owners to share their cooking secrets.

Because it is a very traditional recipe, I am particularly happy and happy to share the information.

The fish stew is a classic of Portuguese cuisine.

It is prepared in a wok-like pan with a domed lid. The lid can be closed with clips, this enables a slight pressure cooker effect and gentle preparation.

In earlier times, the pot was simply placed in the campfire.

Today, the cooks like to use the gas stove or even the electric stove.

Let us show you how to prepare it and visit the restaurant with committed, friendly hosts when you have the opportunity.

1. Recipe Cataplana

You need fresh seafood for this dish.

Please plan some time the day before to prepare the secret sauce.

Feel free to contact us with cooking questions and kitchen gossip at the end of this page using the comment function.

I’m happy for you!


Discovered, photographed and written down by chef Thomas Sixt.

Servings 2
Calories 492
Total Time 45 Min.
Preparation Time 30 Min.
Cook Time 15 Min.

Recipe for Original Portuguese Fish Stew from Restaurant Esquina in Burgau, Algarve.

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cataplana recipe image
Cataplana Recipe Image © Thomas Sixt


Secret spice sauce

1 tbsp. tomato puree
100 ml cold water
4 pinches brown can sugar
1/4 tsp. corn starch
2 Splash Soy sauce
2 pinches Cayenne pepper


400 g Fish and seafood (including mussels and shrimp)
1 pc glove of garlic
1 pc Shallot
2 pc bell pepper red
150 ml dry white win
150 ml fish stock (Alternatively water with vegetable stock cubes)
1 pc fresh lemon
200 g Potatoes (Variety Agria)
500 g Sunflower oil
3 pinches primal salt
4 pinches black ground pepper
1/4 bunch fresh parsley
2 pc bay leafs
2 pinches brown can sugar
1 tbsp. Olive oil


tomato paste

Secret sauce

Mix the tomato paste with cold water, sugar, cornflour, soy sauce and cayenne pepper.

Bring to the boil on the stove while stirring with a whisk and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Allow the sauce to cool and pour into a glass.

Fresh mussels
Fresh mussels while watering.

Water the mussels

Soak the live mussels in cold water for 2 hours.

Mussels in the sieve
Mussels in the sieve

Strain mussels

Place the mussels in a sieve.

Wash the mussels in a colander
wash the mussels in a colander

Wash mussels

Rinse the mussels under cold running water.

shelled shrimp
shelled shrimp

Prepare shrimp

Remove the shells from the shrimp to make them easier to eat later.

peeled potatoes
Thoroughly peel the potatoes. It is better to put peeled potatoes in cold water, then they will not turn brown!

Prepare potatoes

Wash the potatoes, peel and cut into even pieces of 2-3 cm in size.

Fry potatoes
Fry potatoes

Fry potatoes

Blanch the dried potato pieces in the fryer at 160°C.

Lift the potatoes out of the oil in the basket and let them cool for 10 minutes.

fried potatoes
fried potatoes

Finish potatoes

Finally, fry the blanched potatoes at 175°C until crispy and prepare them for further preparation.

Red pointed peppers
Red pointed peppers are less fleshy and therefore less bitter and dominant than a standard, round and fleshy pepper.

Prepare peppers

Halve the peppers, deseed, wash and dry.

Optionally remove the peel with the vegetable peeler.

Cut the pepper halves into small strips or cubes and place in the pot.

dice shallots
Finely dice the shallots

Prepare shallot

Halve the shallot, peel, cut into fine cubes and place in the pot.

Garlic cloves
Garlic cloves

Prepare garlic

Halve the garlic cloves, peel, cut into very fine cubes and place in the pot.

Cataplana ingredients
Cataplana ingredients in pot

Add seafood

Put the fish and seafood in the pot.

You can buy mixed seafood or:

–> 4 pieces of monkfish fillets, approx. 200 g

-> 20 pieces of shells

–> 4-6 shrimp

Season the seafood with chopped parsley, bay leaves, a little lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Cataplana with wine
Cataplana with wine

Add liquid

Fill the preparation with cold wine and broth.

Cataplana with secret tomato sauce
Cataplana with secret tomato sauce

Add secret sauce

Add the prepared secret sauce and heat the pot.

Cataplana on the stove
Cataplana on the stove

Add potatoes

Add the prepared potatoes to the pot and stir gently once.

Cataplana on stove with lid
Cataplana on stove with lid


Cook the fish stew on the stove with the lid on for 12 minutes.

Cataplana close-up finished on the stove.
Cataplana close-up finished on the stove.


Remove the lid and finally season the sauce with olive oil, some sugar, salt and pepper.

Cataplana on the table closeup
Cataplana on the table closeup

Serve the cataplana

Present the fish stew at the table and have the lid ready to keep warm.

Cataplana recipe image
Cataplana recipe Image © Thomas Sixt


Arrange the fish stew in hot, deep plates and serve.

I wish you a good appetite!



2. Calories and Nutritional Values

3. Tips for Making Cataplana at Home

I have prepared a few tips for you to make your recipe sure to succeed at home:

–> As an exception, the Cataplana pot can be replaced by the domestic wok.
–> Prepare the secret sauce the day before and let it mature overnight.
–> Get fresh seafood and prepare it on the same day.
–> Soak the mussels in water for at least 2 hours because of the sand.
–> Prepare the vegetables and aromatics for the base conscientiously and cut them evenly.
–> Cut the peeled potatoes into equal pieces.
–> Frying the potatoes instead of boiling is recommended. Tastes better!
–> Use a high-quality, dry white wine so that the sauce does not taste sour.
–> Add sugar to the sauce later to taste for a harmonious taste experience.
–> You can add herbs or enjoy concentrated tomato flavor.
–> When it comes to herbs, oregano, thyme and parsley are suitable.
–> For an authentic experience, place the fish stew directly on the table.

Cataplana emotion picture
Cataplana emotional image © Thomas Sixt

4. Restaurant Esquina Burgau, Book your Cataplana Meal

The Kitchen Story was created directly in the Esquina restaurant.

The restaurant is in Burgau:

Restaurant EsquiNa, Rua da Praia, 8650-117 Burgau
Telephone reservation: +351 282695545
Reservation by SMS: +351 918188704

You can recognize the owner Jorge by the fashionable shirts that are his trademark.

The good mood and excellent hospitality in the restaurant has given us great pleasure on several occasions.

Owner Jorge Restaurant Esquina Burgau Portugal
Owner Jorge Restaurant Esquina Burgau Portugal

Cook Isabell is at the stove with other colleagues. You can see the joy in her work on her face.

Chef Isabell Restaurant Esquina Burgau Portugal
Chef Isabell Restaurant Esquina Burgau Portugal

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