Brazilian cuisine, to begin with, differs by region. The differences are evident since the country has a multitude of inhabitants coming from various races and ethnicities. This includes the Portuguese, Italians, Germans, Lebanese, Syrians, Amerindians even Japanese. In addition, the combination and dissimilarities shared by these people have prompted the creation of a culinary style, marking both the strengths and weaknesses of its various regions. Also, in line with combining various techniques, the cuisine likewise promotes its national cookery as a celebration of food if not life and tradition.
The Northern part of Brazil takes pride in its indigenous type of cooking. Popular dishes include Pato no tucupi or Duck in tucupi, which originated in Para’. This dish is made from a yellow broth called tucupi, which is basically cassava extract and is usually prepared during Cirio de Nazare’; a celebration synonymous with Christmas. Other dishes also make use of ingredients like seafood, vegetables and herbs while the cooking technique often used is boiling. In fact, some of the recipes require both time and extensive processes. One good example is the Manicoba, which takes four days to prepare as it makes use of Maniva, tripe, fat, sausages and other ingredients.
The Northeast region of Brazil, on the other hand, is comprised of narrow yet fertile coastal plains. It is for the same reason why natural produce includes tropical fruits and vegetables including sugarcane and cacao. In this part of the state, the dominant cuisine is said to be Afro-Bahian, which is a compilation of culinary styles such as Portuguese, Indian and African. It is believed that this style emanated from the ways of plantation cooks, who in turn made use of local ingredients as prime material. Typical dishes also include vatapa’ and acaraje’, whose key ingredients include seafood, palm oil, beans, onions, and caruru, which is mashed okra mixed with shrimps, onions, garlic, pepper and cashew nuts.
The Southeast part of Brazil, on the contrary, is home to various cooking styles. It is also said to be the basis of Brazilian cuisine in general. Regional dishes make use of ingredients such as poultry and maize. More so, the region is likewise popular because of its traditional cheeses.
Moreover, at a time when potatoes are not that popular, the Brazilians opted to make use of Manioc. This is a type of root vegetable, which is also utilized in producing laundry starch. It is said to be harmful and poisonous especially if not handled well. That is why it has to be peeled and grated with its pulp thoroughly washed and roasted. The Manioc’s juice is then transformed into tucupi, which is then used as key ingredient by the locals.
Ingredients Utilized in Brazilian Cuisine
Meat: Chicken, Pork, Duck, Beef
Seafood: Fish, Shrimps, Shellfish
Vegetables: Okra, Beans, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin
Fruits: Banana, Papaya, Guava, Orange, Pineapple, Sweetsop, Passion Fruit, Mango, Pear, Peach, Plums, Lemon
Dairy: Egg, Milk
Oils: Palm oil, Coconut oil
Nuts: Cashew nuts, Peanuts
Seasonings: Pepper, Garlic, Cloves
Grains: Rice, Corn
As a whole, Brazilian cuisine has black beans, rice and manioc as staples. The cuisine also boasts of its recipes and traditional meals based on Bahian food. Many have also recognized that Brazilian cuisine has been the end product of continuous change along with history, cultural diversity and regional culinary styles. That in the process of adopting various techniques and processes, the country has been successful in obtaining a culinary heritage that is not only original but unified.
Authentic Brazilian Recipes
Recipes from: justbrazil.org
- 2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
- 4 large Potatoes, peeled and diced
- 960ml/32fl.oz. Chicken Stock
- 50g/2oz Fresh Coriander
- 1 teasp Hot Pepper Sauce (check ingredients)
- Juice of 1 large Lemon
1. Place the chicken stock in a large saucepan together with the potatoes, bring to the boil then cook over a high heat for 15 minutes or until tender.
2. Remove potatoes from the stock with a slotted spoon and transfer to a food processor or blender, reserving the stock.
3. Wash and dry coriander and remove the leaves from stems. Add the coriander leaves and garlic to the potatoes and puree until quite smooth.
4. Transfer vegetable puree to the pan containing the reserved stock, mix well and heat to serving temperature.
5. Add the lemon juice and pepper sauce and stir well before serving hot.
Tripa de Vaca a Brasilerira
- 1kg/2lb Honeycomb Tripe
- 3 tbsp Lime Juice
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Onion, finely chopped
- 1 large Garlic Clove, chopped
- 1 Red Capsicum (sweet pepper), deseeded and chopped
- 2 Tomatoes, chopped
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 tbsp freshly chopped Coriander
- 60ml/2fl.oz. Madeira
- 480ml/16fl.oz. Fresh Beef Stock
- 12 Black Olives, pitted
- 50g/2oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Cut the tripe into strips about 2.5cm/1 inch wide by 5cm/2 inches long and place into a dish together with the lime juice. Mix to coat well and set aside for 5 minutes.
2. Heat the the oil in a flameproof casserole, add the onion, garlic and pepper and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring.
3. Drain the tripe well and add to the casserole together with the tomatoes, bay leaf, coriander, Madeira, and stock. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, partially cover and simmer, for 1 hour until the tripe is tender and the sauce slightly thickened, stirring from time to time.
4. Add the olives and cook for a further 2 minutes then stir in the cheese. Serve Hot.
Image Credit: eterna-osaka.com
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