South American food is becoming more and more popular, and with the Olympics being held in Rio de Janeiro this year, there’s a particular interest in Brazilian cuisine.
Brazil is home to twenty-six states divided into five regions, which each have their own unique ingredients and signature style of cooking. It also has one of the most diverse populations in the world, which has produced an incredibly rich food culture that’s only now starting to be truly understood outside the country. There were thousands of tribes living in the country before the Portugese arrived in the 1500s, who combined their dishes with the indigenous produce around them. The slave trade then brought millions of Africans to Brazil, who further influenced the food culture, followed by large swathes of Germans and Italians in the nineteenth century. The country is now home to the second largest Japanese community outside Japan thanks to a large migration in the twentieth century. There’s even a well-established Syrian and Lebanese population.
All these different cultures have resulted in a very diverse Brazilian food culture, with huge differences between regions.
Embracing the Olympic fever at Rio de Janeiro let’s partake in their festivities with our little rendition of Brazilian food at home. Enjoy !!!!
- 50g of couscous, or bulgur wheat
- 1 tbsp of sunflower oil
- 450g of minced beef
- 2 pinches of salt
- 2 handfuls of parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp fresh mint, finely chopped
- 2 handfuls of fresh coriander, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 pinch of cumin seeds
- 1 lime, zest and juice
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 egg
- Place the couscous in a medium pan or bowl and cook according to the packet instructions.
- Meanwhile, place the sunflower oil and half the minced beef in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook for 5–10 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Preheat a deep fat fryer to 180°C
- In a large bowl combine the couscous, the uncooked beef, cumin, herbs, salt, lime juice and zest and mix well.
- Add the cooked beef, egg and raw garlic and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Divide the beef mixture into 30g portions and shape each one into an elongated sausage, slightly pointing the ends – this is the traditional kibe shape.
- Fry the kibe in batches for 3–4 minutes and leave to drain on kitchen paper.
- Place a mini wooden skewer through the centre of the kibe and serve.
Moqueca De Peixe E Camarao
You can adapt this Bahian fish and prawn stew by using any firm, white sustainable fish. Serve with white rice or crusty bread.
- 4 steaks bone-in steaks from a large, flat fish (halibut, plaice, turbot, etc), each weighing about 175g
- 3 garlic cloves, minced finely with a big pinch of salt
- 4 limes
- A big handful of coriander, chopped
- 120ml extra virgin olive oil
- 3 red onions, sliced
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 5 vine-ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 green peppers, sliced
- 1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
- 4 tbsp seasoned plain flour
- 300g raw king or tiger prawns, peeled (but leave the tail on) and deveined
- Salt and pepper
- Rinse the fish steaks and pat them dry.
- Put them into a dish with the garlic, the juice of 2 limes, salt, pepper and most of the coriander (saving a bit for the end) and leave to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge.
- Put half the olive and palm oil into a wide saucepan and fry two-thirds of the onion slices over a medium-high heat until softened and slightly caramelised – up to 10 minutes.
- Add half the tomatoes and half the peppers and cook for a few more minutes, until softened.
- Stir in the tomato puree, coat everything well and then tip in half the coconut milk.
- Simmer gently for 10 minutes, season, then blitz to a thick puree in a food processor or a blender, and set aside.
- 30 minutes before serving, heat the rest of the oil in a saucepan on a high heat.
- Put the flour on a plate and pat the fish steaks in it on all sides.
- Lower the steaks into the hot oil and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden.
- Lift them out, add a splash more oil (if it needs it) and tip in the last of the onions, peppers and tomatoes.
- Stir on high for about 5 minutes, then add the blitzed mixture and the rest of the coconut milk.
- Adjust the seasoning as it comes to a simmer, then slide the fish steaks back into the pan, just submerging them in the liquid, and cover with a lid.
- After 4 minutes, scatter in the prawns (stick the lid back on) and cook for another 3-5 minutes until the prawns are pink.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Finish with the rest of the chopped coriander, and serve with rice and lime wedges.
- 50g of desiccated coconut
- 265g of caster sugar, plus extra for coating
- 275g of milk
- 15 egg yolks
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1/2 lemon, juice only
- 1 knob of butter
- Mix 50g of the sugar with 150ml of the milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Once boiling, remove from the heat and pour over the coconut. Set aside for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 215g sugar before adding the salt, remaining 125g milk and lemon.
- Grease the dariole moulds with the butter and sprinkle over some caster sugar to coat.
- Tip out any excess sugar, then place a small layer of the soaked coconut into each mould.
- Preheat the oven to 140 c
- Pour the liquid custard mix over the coconut bases – roughly 40g of mix in each mould, place in a bain marie and cook in the oven for 45 minutes, or until set.
- Remove from the oven, set aside to cool then run a small, sharp knife around the custards.
- Turn out onto plates and serve.