Brazilian cooking is a pleasurable pot of Portuguese, African and Indian influences, all mixed up together. Here are some culinary specialities from different regions of Brazil. My choice of recipes that have fascinated me over the years will satisfy different tastes and are for different occasions. There are alternatives available for ingredients that are not available or hard to come by.
Bean soup with veggies
Mix together in a pot/slow cooker: 250ml cooked light brown beans, 3 small finely chopped carrots, 1 large chopped turnip, 250ml finely chopped green beans, 250ml finely chopped fresh herbs, salt and seasoning and 2 litres meat stock. Cover and leave to simmer until tender. Serves 6.
Rice with cashew nuts
Cook 500g rice according to packet instructions. Fry 2 chopped onions, 4 crushed cloves garlic, 15ml each chopped chives and parsley in 45g butter in a pan. Add 300g each minced beef and pork and 250ml tomato purée. Season to taste and reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the rice is almost dry, add the fried meat, 100g ham, 60g seedless raisins, 1 tin peas and 250g chopped cashew nuts. Stir, cover the pan and leave a few minutes. Arrange rice on a serving dish and sprinkle with 75g grated Parmesan cheese.
This potjie we use fairly often when we entertain 10 – 15 guests for a meal. Season 1 kg stewing steak the night before with 2 crushed clove garlic, salt and pepper. In a large pan: add some oil and add the steak, 500g pork fillet, 4 sliced pork sausages and 500g smoked sausage (cut into pieces). Brown meat and season with salt. Add bay leaf, 1 chopped red pepper and a bunch of chopped fresh herbs. Add 250g diced bacon. Add enough water, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until meat is tender. Boil 5 sweet potatoes and 5 bananas, in their skins, separately. Set aside. Add these veggies to the meat: 250ml cubed pumpkin, 1 small cabbage (cut into four), 2 – 3 sliced carrots, 1 white turnip (cut into pieces) and 1 small cauliflower, separated into florets. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes and add 3 chopped onions. Simmer until all veggies are tender. Thicken stock if necessary; add peeled sliced bananas and sweet potatoes. Lastly add 5 halved hard-boiled eggs. Drizzle oil over meat and veggies.
Have no idea where the name of this recipe originated, but it sounds quite romantic …
Mix together 375ml water and 625g sugar, heat without stirring until reaching the ‘soft ball stage’. (This takes a while …)
To test: Take a little syrup in a spoon and drop into a small bowl of cold water. When pinched be-tween the finger, it should form a soft ball.
Add 200ml coconut milk and mix well. Remove from the heat. Place 10 egg yolks in a bowl; pour a little hot syrup over them and mix well. Add yolk mixture to the syrup over low heat and stir until creamy consistency is reached. Flavour with orange essence. Place Damsel’s Delight in a bowl or individual bowls to set. Serve cold.
Peel 1 large papaya and cut into cubes. Cook in sufficient water until soft. Strain and mash with a fork or food processor. Add 4 beaten eggs, 30g flour, 30g soft butter and 125g sugar. Butter or spray a 20cm ring-mould. Pour the mixture into the tin. Bake in a preheated oven (220° C) for 20 – 25 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Unmould and serve with whipped cream.