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Cataplana: The 5 best recipes

Cataplana: The 5 best recipes

In Portugal, there are almost as many recipes of Cataplana as there are cooks. Indeed, the principle is to mix vegetables, fish and meat and to cook the whole together.
From there, everything is allowed, it is what nature offers and the creativity of the cook that makes the difference. That said, there are some basic recipes. Here they are.


  1. Traditional Cataplana from Algarve
  2. Monkfish and shellfish Cataplana
  3. Clams Cataplana
  4. Shrimps Cataplana
  5. Octopus Cataplana
  6. Luisa Paixão Cataplana


Traditional Cataplana from Algarve

Traditional recipe of Cataplana mixing pork, shellfish and crustaceans.
There are many variations of this traditional recipe. Sometimes Portuguese chorizo is added, sometimes thick bacon or even presunto, the Portuguese smoked ham.
Feel free to vary the ingredients according to your taste and creativity, but keep the pork and clams that are the basis of this recipe.


Ingredients (4 people)
  • 500g pork meat cut into cubes
  • 800g of clams
  • 500g of pink shrimps (medium)
  • 1 green or yellow bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 0,2l white wine
  • 0,1l of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of chili pulp
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Slice the onion and mince the garlic cloves.
  2. Clean the bell pepper and cut it into strips.
  3. Season the pork with paprika, white wine, garlic, salt and pepper.
  4. Mix well and marinate for 20 minutes.
  5. Heat half of the olive oil in a frying pan.
  6. Add the drained meat cubes and let them brown on both sides.
  7. Add the marinade, simmer, remove from heat and set aside.
  8. Place half of the onion and the bell pepper in the catapillana,
  9. Then place the meat, clams, shrimp and remaining onion.
  10. Drizzle with the meat sauce and the remaining olive oil, close and cook for 25 minutes.
  11. Turn over halfway through cooking and shake the Cataplana from time to time.
  12. Serve at the table in the Cataplana


Obviously, the ideal is to use a  real Portuguese copper Cataplana. Firstly because copper diffuses the heat very well and allows a gentle cooking that does not alter the ingredients. Secondly, because the Cataplana used to prepare and cook the dish is presented at the table and adds authenticity to your creation.

Coper Cataplana - Luisa Paixão collection   


Monkfish and shellfish Cataplana

As with any Cataplana recipe, there is no list of ingredients or quantities to be strictly adhered to. Feel free to adjust this list according to your tastes and the availability of ingredients.

Ingredients (4 people)

  • 600g of monkfish
  • 400g of mussels
  • 400g of pink shrimps (or 4 Gambas)
  • 1kg of potatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 0,1l tomato pulp
  • 0,1l of olive oil
  • 0,5l white wine
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • Juice of lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Clean and wash the monkfish, cut it into pieces and place it in a bowl. Add the mussels and shrimp.
  2. Season with chopped garlic cloves, paprika, white wine, lemon juice, bay leaf, parsley, salt and pepper.
  3. Mix well and let marinate for 15 minutes.
  4. Peel the onion, cut it in half moons and put it in the Cataplana. Add the olive oil, heat and fry until the onions are golden.
  5. Add the tomato pulp, cook a little longer, add the drained fish and shellfish, stir and cook for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the marinade and 1dl of additional water
  7. Close the Cataplana and cook for 30 minutes on low heat.
  8. Peel the potatoes, boil them in water and salt
  9. Drain them, add them to the Cataplana
  10. Serve at the table in the Cataplana.
The Portuguese copper Cataplana work very well on gas, electric or glass-ceramic cookers. However, they are not compatible with induction cookers.
In this case, we recommend our  stainless steel Cataplanas, selected for their quality and durability.


Stainless Steel cataplana - Luisa Paixão collection   


Clams Cataplana 

Ingredients (4 people)

  • 1kg of clams
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A few coriander leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato pulp
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper.


  1. Start by washing the clams very carefully, removing any sand they may contain.
  2. If necessary, leave the clams for some time in a container with water and a little salt.
  3. Peel and cut the onion into half moons and the garlic into slices.
  4. Pour a little olive oil in the catapana and add the onion, garlic and bay leaf. Let the onions brown.
  5. Add the tomato pulp and cook for a few minutes.
  6. Add the flour and the white wine, mix and let the sauce boil.
  7. Add the clams.
  8. Close the Cataplana and shake it.
  9. Let it cook for a few minutes until the clams open.
  10. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Add the chopped coriander.
  12. Serve in the Cataplana

Our Cataplanas are available in copper or stainless steel. They are also available in several sizes from 2 place settings to 10 place settings.


Shrimps, mushrooms and rosemary Cataplana

Chef Vitor Sobral, author of this recipe, is a major reference in Portuguese gastronomy. Known for his unique way of interpreting and modernizing traditional Portuguese dishes, he is a master in the art of preserving the typical Portuguese spices and flavors.

Ingredients (4 people)

  1. 800g peeled carabineros shrimp with head and tail
  2. 350g of brown mushrooms
  3. 200g of dried tomatoes
  4. 5 cloves of garlic
  5. 1 teaspoon of rosemary
  6. 0.3 dl of tomato vinegar
  7. 0.5 dl of extra virgin olive oil
  8. Traditional sea salt
  9. Pepper


  1. Fry the tomatoes in 0.2 dl of olive oil and set aside.
  2. Add the rest of the oil to the Cataplana
  3. When it is hot, add the shrimps previously seasoned with salt.
  4. Then add the mushrooms, garlic and rosemary.
  5. Put the lid on and cook for 20 minutes.
  6. Serve with a little pepper and vinegar.


Octopus Cataplana 

For this recipe as well, you can let your creativity run free. For my part, I replace the potatoes by sweet potatoes whose sweeter taste goes better with the octopus.

Ingredients (4 people)

  • 800g of octopus 
  • 700g of potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 to 2 carrots
  • 1 to 2 red peppers
  • 1 red pepper
  • 250 g of peeled tomatoes
  • 1dl of olive oil
  • 1 sprig of coriander
  • Salt and black pepper


  1. Cut the onion into half moons. Chop the garlic. Remove the skin from the peppers with a vegetable peeler and cut them into strips.
  2. Put the olive oil in the Cataplana. Heat and add the onion, the chopped chilli with the seeds, the garlic and the bell pepper.
  3. Let it cook until the onion breaks down.
  4. Peel and slice the potatoes and carrots.
  5. Cut the octopus into small pieces.
  6. Using a hand blender, puree the peeled tomatoes.
  7. Add the octopus and carrot to the cataplana. Stir.
  8. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  9. Add the potatoes, octopus cooking broth and tomato puree.
  10. Sprinkle with chopped coriander.
  11. Close the Cataplana and cook for about 30 minutes on low heat.
  12. Serve in the Cataplana


Luisa Paixão Cataplana 

In fact, I don't use any of the Catapalana recipes. When I decide to make a Cataplana for family or friends, I start by going to the market to select ingredients.
Depending on what I find, I imagine and compose my Cataplana. That day, the big grey shrimps (the gambas) were still wriggling on the stall, the peppers were still beaded with morning dew... The basic ingredients of my Cataplana were obvious to me.
A few sprigs of fennel, a few potatoes, a large onion, a little white wine, olive oil and 30 minutes of gentle cooking, the dish was ready.


Hello Lydia
A cataplana closes tightly with hooks and is designed to diffuse heat so that food can be cooked at low temperatures.

someone gave me what they called a cataplana. it has the shape but it doesn’t snap shut. and it has what seems to be a steam basket. do you think it can be used as a cataplana thou it doesn’t snap shut as the other do

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