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10 unforgettable Brazilian dishes you never heard of

November 14, 2009
Brazilian food - tacacá

Selling tacacá in Belém

You most certainly heard of, or even tasted, churrasco (barbecue) and feijoada (a complex meal that includes a stew of black beans with pork and several side dishes, including rice, collard greans, pealed orange, cassava flour, red pepper sauce and our national distilled beverage, cachaça).

Now, can you tell me what a buchada de bode is? Or pato no tucupi?

Here I list 10 classics, not necessarily easy to digest, but amazing windows to Brazilian culture. The links lead to recipes, whenever possible in English:

  1. Cuscuz – Despite having the same origin as the Moroccan couscous, it looks and tastes way different. In São Paulo, where I come from, it is made with corn flour, olives, tomatoes, eggs, peas, sardines and has the look of a decorated cake.
  2. Barreado – Typical of the coast of the southern state of Paraná, it probably originates from the Portuguese Azores islands. This meat stew served with rice is  prepared in a very peculiar way. It is cooked in a clay pot for around 20 hours – the time needed for the meat fibers to be dissolved in a thick sauce. The pot is layered with banana leaves and its outside is covered with hardened manioc flour paste, in order to avoid the heat to escape.
  3. Brazilian food - tacacá

    Tacacá

    Tacacá – This numbing yellowish cassava soup includes goma (a cassava based transparent gluey substance) , dried shrimps and jambu, a plant that causes a weird anesthesia effect on the mouth. Very hot, it is served in a cuia, a bowl made of a local fruit. Omnipresent in Manaus, it is typical of most of the Amazon region.

  4. Pato no Tucupi – This duck dish is made with tucupi, a broth of scalded cassava and the same jambu used in tacacá, which means it also has a weird numbing effect. It is typical of Belém, by the Atlantic coast of the Amazon region.
  5. Buchada – This one is not for the faint of heart. Made with the billy goat’s internal organs, that are cooked and used to stuff the animal’s stomach. It is typical of the Northeast region.
  6. Moqueca capixaba – A hearty fish stew with tomatoes, onions, pepper and bell peppers. It has a side dish of fish puree. Typical of the state of Espírito Santo, in the Southeast region.

    Brazilian food - Acarajé

    Acarajé

  7. Acarajé – You cannot visit Bahia and miss the acarajé. Originally from Nigeria, this cake made of peeled black-eyed peas is deep fried in palm oil (dendê). It is split in half and stuffed with shrimp, cashews and different pastes, namely vatapá.
  8. Tutu à mineira – This is one example of the very traditional cuisine of the state of Minas Gerais.  It is a cooked black bean puree mixed with cassava flour. It is served with boiled eggs, sausages, rice and collard greens
  9. Canjica – This porridge made of white corn, milk, cinnamon and sugar is particularly popular in June, during the big festivals for Saint Peter, Saint John and Saint Anthony (festas juninas).
  10. Brigadeiro – This huge hit is always welcome in children birthday parties. It is a type of  chocolate truffle covered with chocolate sparkles, named after Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes, an air force brigadier that was a candidate in two presidential campaigns in the late forties.

Good luck in case you try this recipes at home!

I found a few books on Brazilian cooking published in English , in case you feel adventurous. These two seem above average:

Eat Smart in Brazil: How to Decipher the Menu, Know the Market Foods & Embark on a Tasting Adventure

The Art of Brazilian Cookery (Hippocrene International Cookbook Classics)

If you try any of these recipes, please, tell me how it worked out. And bom apetite!

Postscript – You may want to check a related post: 10 Brazilian Drinks as Cool as Caipirinha

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3 comments

  1. The quality of the info is what keeps me on this site, thanks!

    Wish You a Merry Christmas. :)


    • Thank you so much, Elizabeth. This is a very new project and your feedback is really appreciated!


  2. […] that you have all you need to be an accomplished Brazilian barman, check my post on great Brazilian dishes.  After all, you don’t want to drink on an empty […]



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