Monday, January 12, 2015

23 Traditional Brazilian Foods, desserts and drinks that you may like to try

Brazilian food is a big part of the country’s culture — it blends together flavors from all over South America as well as Portugal, Spain (countries that colonized the continent and left their marks on the culture, cuisine, and language), and Africa (many African slave were brought over to work in the plantations and brought many local flavors with them). The combination of native dishes with the immigrant-influenced flavors, and those continental influences make Brazilian food unique, complex, and deliciously rich.

Brazilian food is generally rich and spicy. Much of it is either fried or slow-cooked to bring out the flavors. Palm oil is often used for the frying and coconut oil is added to bring all the flavors together. 

1. Feijoada: A black bean stew with various types of beef and sausage. It's often referred to as the national dish of Brazil, so you should try it at least once when you visit the country. In some parts of the country, they also add vegetables like cabbage, kale, potatoes, carrots, okra, pumpkin, and sometimes even banana. These are often added at the end of the cooking process so the juices from the stew can infuse them without making them limp. Everywhere! Its generally served as the main dish in many restaurants on wednesdays and saturdays.

2. Churrasco: in Brazil it simply refers to a barbecue, which is almost comprised of large chunks of meat cooked on skewers. When in Brazil you may want to visit a "churrascaria", a restaurant that has all-you-can-eat barbecued meat, sometimes served with other kind of meets such sausages. In every city you can find many "churrascarias", with all price ranges. Churrasco is the traditional food in the South region of Brazil.

3. Moqueca de Camarão or Fish: A shrimp or fish stew cooked in coconut milk and palm oil. Add veggies such as peppers and tomatoes to complete. It's one of the country’s most famous dishes. It´s a traditional dish in Bahia, Espirito Santo and Pará.

4. Vatapá: It's a creamy but fragrant dish made from shrimp, bread, and a special paste made from finely ground peanuts, palm oil and of course, coconut milk. It’s often eaten with white rice or acarajé.

5. Acarajé: The famous "bolinho" of the Bahia is popular throughout the country. A black-eyed pea ball fried in palm oil, usually stuffed with shrimp and vinaigrette or vatapa. It's a typical dish of Bahia. In Salvador city, it's the most common street food.

6. Arroz e Feijão: Traditional every day dish. You can find everywhere (rice and beans).

7. Farofa: Fried cassava flour. It can include egg, bacon, and other add-ons. It’s usually sprinkled over rice and beans. It's a traditional national dish, served as a side dish almost everywhere.

8. Feijão Tropeiro: Pinto beans sautéed with cassava flour, scallions, egg, and torresmo (crispy fried pork rinds).Typical dish of Minas Gerais but also of Bahia and some other States.

9. Tucunaré and pirarucu: It's not surprising that the Amazon, being the largest river system on the planet, has plenty of delicious fish to offer. These two giants (pirarucu can weigh 200kg!) are every fisher’s favorites and are easy to find while traveling in the north. They’re firm, white, meaty, succulent, and can be filleted, stuffed, or baked whole.

10. Tacacá: A traditional hot soup made of tucupi (manioc sauce), tapioca (manioc flour), and dried shrimp, plus a green leaves known as jambu, which has a numbing or tingling effect on the mouth. The dish is served in bowls and is very easy to find in Amazon cities, northern restaurants, and food stands all over the northern States.

11. Cuscuz Paulista: Mixing two of the most popular Brazilian ingredients (corn and manioc flour), cuscuz comes in many variations, the Paulista being the most famous. It’s basically a salty cake-like recipe made with flour and filled with ingredients that can vary from canned sardines (yes!) to palm hearts, boiled eggs, tomatoes, and olives (often all together). Every family has its favorite recipe.

12. Pão de Queijo: Little, fluffy balls of manioc flour bread with cheese baked in it. It’s said that the best come from Minas Gerais, but they’re famous in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro too. The cheese bread is a typical food of Minas Gerais, which spread throughout Brazil. And it is so popular in the country that there are large networks that have built their brands on top of cheese bread.

13. Coxinhas: Deep-fried dough usually filled with chopped chicken breast and a very creamy cheese called "catupiry". It’s available everywhere and best enjoyed with a can of the Brazilian soda Guaraná. Everywhere: in restaurants, as appetizer; bars, bakeries.

14. Açaí: In North America it’s a new “wonder berry,” but Brazilians have known about this little purple delicacy for ages. A superfood berry used to make fruit bowls and smoothies. Pro tip: Blend with bananas and strawberries and top with granola and honey.

15. Pastéis: fried goodness with less dough, which you can fill with everything from cheese, to beef, to cod fish, and pretty much whatever else your stomach desires.Here in Brazil pastel often replaces a full meal, the amount of such fillings and sizes that can be found. Are usually accompanied by sugar cane juice.

16. Bolinho de Bacalhau: a cod fish cake in a ball shape (Deep fried cod fish in potato dough). Commonly offered as an appetizer in many bars and restaurants.

17. Tapioca: kind of pancake made from manioc starch and water, used for different types of meals. In beiju (or biju), the tapioca is moistened, strained through a sieve to become a coarse flour, then sprinkled onto a hot griddle or pan, where the heat makes the starchy grains fuse into a flatbread, which may be sprinkled with coconut. Then it may be buttered and eaten as a toast (its most common use is as a breakfast dish), or it may be filled or topped with either salgados (savory ingredients) or doces (sweet ingredients). Tapioca is more traditional and easier to find in the Northeast of Brazil, in many bars and restaurants, also as street food. In other regions, is more common to find it as street food.

18. Mousse de Maracujá (dessert): Passion fruit mousse. Mousse de maracujá or passion fruit mousse is a delicious and easy to make dessert. This tropical mousse is made with passion fruit pulp, whipping cream or condensed milk, egg whites and sugar. This South American dessert is very popular in Brazil!

19. Brigadeiro (dessert): Chocolate truffles made with condensed milk instead of cream, chocolate powder and covered in chocolate sprinkles. Most commonly in bakeries, confectioneries and candy stores.

20. Romeu e Julieta: Guava paste and white cheese stacked on top of each other or separeted.

21. Caipirinha: It's the national cocktail of Brazil. It is made with lime slices, sugar and “Cachaça” that is a popular sugarcane derived of alcohol. Some prefer to substitute the cachaça for vodka, which in some areas of Brazil is called a “Caipiroska”. Once it is the national drink, you will find a Caipirinha in every bar or restaurant in Brazil.

22. Guaraná: Pronounced “gware‘na”. Guaraná is one of the most popular soft drinks in Brazil. Guarana is made from a fruit that grows in the Amazon jungle. The guarana fruit is rich in natural caffeine and used in many energy drinks.
23. Suco de Cajú and its alcoholic brother, cajú amigo: Brazil is blessed with many delicious and nutritive fruits, and the bright yellow cajú (pronounced kah-juh) is among the local favorites. Its juice is bittersweet and amazingly tasty, and if you ever cross paths with the picolé (popsicle) version, get one. Cajú amigo is a batida (shaken cocktail) made with a local liquor like cachaça (sometimes vodka) with ice, sugar, and the crushed fruit.
 Cajú Juice
Cajú Juice

Cajú amigo (cocktail drink)

You might like to see the other post titled: Interesting facts about Brazil

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