One of the best ways to get to know a new country and culture is through their unique cuisine. The food of Brazil is brimming with fresh ingredients and powerful flavors that you won’t find in many other places. Using ingredients and spices unique to Brazil, the Carioca people sure know how to make delicious food – from quick on-the-go street food, to hearty home-cooked entrees, to unlikely dessert pairings. While thousands of people from all over the world are enjoying this scrumptious cuisine in its birthplace right now, there’s no reason those of us watching from home can’t have our own taste of Brazil!
While this popular little delight isn’t the healthiest choice, it sure is delicious. The bite-size nugget is chopped or shredded chicken, covered in dough, battered and deep fried. There are many variations and additions to the filing (vegetables such as peas, carrots, etc.) but the dough is always molded to resemble a chicken leg, the signature shape of the Coxinha. Give it a try and make your own!
Rarely can you go wrong with the age old combo of cheese and bread. This snack is enjoyed by Carioacans at all times of the day, be it breakfast, lunch, dinner or late night. The bread is crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. It’s typically made with tapioca flour, eggs and cow’s milk cheese, then rolled into bite size balls. As with most snacks there are variations (often including cream cheese and meat), but the original is pretty hard to beat.
Originating from Bahia, where African roots are very prominent in cooking, the delicious Acarajé is more of a meal than a snack. This glutenous dish consists of twice deep fried patties made from crushed black eyes peas, sliced open and stuffed with shrimp and vatapa – a puree of prawns, bread, cashew nuts and other ingredients and spices. This indulgent dish is best made to order and served hot.
Pastel de Palmito
You’ll find these fried pastry pockets just about anywhere. They can be filled with a variety of delicious fillings, including cheese, meat, shrimp, and beans. They are just as tasty with no filling at all! Try these delicious veggie ones.
This hearty stew is one of the national dishes of Brazil and a favorite of the Carioca people. The stew is typically prepared with black beans, pork or beef products (mostly the trimmings like ears, etc.), bacon, pork ribs, sausage and jerked beef. In some cases vegetables and bananas will be added. It is customary to serve the dish with white rice and oranges.
This traditional Brazilian fish stew is more than just a “fish stew”, it is lovingly cooked slowly to perfection in a terra cotta pot, then unveiled with theatrics at the table. It traditionally includes salt water fish (swordfish or shark), coconut milk, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and coriander. It is commonly paired with rice and farofa and pirão.
Churrasco de Picanha
When you think of Brazilian food, chances are you think of Brazilian barbecue and we don’t blame you. Barbecue or Churrasco is a Brazilian specialty and one of the things they do best. The most popular cut of meat in Brazil is the Picanha, or the beef rump cap. The meat is seasoned with only coarse salt and grilled to perfection. More often than not it’s served up on a skewer. If Picanha is not your cut of choice, you can enjoy Churrasco of pork, sausage, chicken, lamb, etc.
This traditional and quick Brazilian dessert is made of Guava paste or jelly (known as goiabada) and soft white cheese, typically Minas cheese from the Minas Gerais region. This unlikely pairing of foods (hence the name) makes for a delicious sweet and savory treat on the go! For a tasty twist try the combo on top of toast.
This easy-to-make dessert is the Brazilian version of a chocolate truffle. The sweet bite size balls are made by cooking condensed milk with cocoa powder and butter. The dough is shaped into balls and rolled in chocolate sprinkles or other toppings, such as shredded coconut and nuts. These decadent little treats are bound to satisfy your sweet tooth in jut a few bites.
This Amazonian fruit has become widely well known in recent years but there’s nothing like having it fresh from the source. The purple fruit is known to boost energy and has many nutritional benefits. Enjoy the fruit as a refreshing smoothie drink or as a sorbet topped with granola and fruit. You can get it in just about every juice bar and cafe across the country.
There’s no way you can have a Brazilian experience without a Caipirinha. The national cocktail is treasured by many. The drink is traditionally a mix of cachaça (hard liquor made from fresh sugarcane), sugar and lime. The sugar and lime are muddled together and then he liquor is added. In some cases fruits like pineapple, tangerine, passion fruit, etc. are added for a little extra flavor.
Try these out and tag us in your pics! We’d love to see how you’re joining in on the spirit of Brazil!