Cataplana: How to Make Portuguese Cataplana de Marisco

Cataplana is a Portuguese seafood dish from the Algarve’s southern region of Portugal, and it’s about as typical as you can get when it comes to a Portuguese meal. It uses a cooking tool made out of copper, also called a Cataplana, unique to the Algarve region.

This recipe is a blend of different tasty kinds of seafood, such as prawns, littleneck clams, and chorizo sausage. Cataplana is perfect for making this dish because it combines the flavor and heat of the contents in the bowl to provide a delicious meal that is aromatic and fragrant.

Portuguese cuisine has many influences from the Mediterranean. Portuguese cuisine is known for seafood, and Portugal is one of the world’s nations that eats the most fish. Also noteworthy is the impact of the former colonial possessions of Portugal, especially in the full range of spices used.


  • Author: Romae Chanice B. Marquez
  • Recipe Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Portuguese

Portugal is a maritime country with a well-developed fishing industry, expressed in the amount of fish and seafood consumed. The whole preparation and cooking time is 1 hour. This recipe serves at least four people. 

Cataplana de Marisco

Portugal is known for its wide option of seafood. Photo credits to: @natgeopl.

Cataplana de Marisco Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red sweet pepper, diced
  • 6 large peeled tomatoes, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch of piri piri flakes (or red pepper flakes)
  • 3 ¾ cups (890ml) of vegetable broth
  • ¾ cup (180ml) of white wine
  • 2 cups (475ml) of Carolino rice (short grain white rice)
  • 15 large whole shrimp
  • ½ pound (225g) of mussels, cleaned
  • ½ pound (225g) of clams, cleaned
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 lemon
  • Fresh cilantro

Cataplana de Marisco Instructions

Step 1: Heat olive oil over medium heat in the cataplana. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 5-10 minutes or until the onion is translucent, stirring frequently. Attach the diced pepper and tomatoes to the saucepan and cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Pour in the pan the broth and white wine, mix well, and bring to a boil.

Step 2: After boiling the water, add the rice and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and cover with the top of the cataplana, allowing it to cook for about 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked but there is still plenty of liquid. Sample the rice and add salt as needed.

Step 3: Open the cataplana and put in the rice the shrimps, mussels, and clams. Let it cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the shells open and the shrimp turn bright pink.

Step 4: Squeeze on top some fresh lemon juice and sprinkle with the leaves of coriander. Serve right away.

Cataplana de Marisco Additional Information

  • Per serving has 80 calories, 3g of carbohydrates, 2g of fat, and 9g of protein.
  • Other more straightforward seafood dishes are often flavored using virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar.
  • This dish takes 1 hour to cook/prepare.
  • This dish serves four people.

About Cataplana de Marisco Recipe

The Cataplana de Marisco dish is one of the most famous dishes in Portugal. However, aside from shellfish, Portugal is also known for its fish industry.

Here, fish is served grilled, boiled, fried or deep-fried, stewed, roasted, or even steamed.

Foremost amongst these types of dishes is bacalhau, or cod, which is the type of fish most consumed in Portugal.


Portugal’s wide array of options for spices and unique dishes is one of the reasons why their cuisine is making a name in the global arena. For more international recipes, click here.

Featured Image: @restaurantessa / Instagram, @six_ecco / Instagram