Curry is not a typical Brazilian spice and it’s not commonly used; however, shrimp cooked in coconut sauce and seasoned with curry is very popular in the Brazilian kitchen. Brazilian shrimp curry is a fusion of Asian and Brazilian flavors and cooking styles. Some Brazilian shrimp curry recipes actually have no curry. They will use a blend of cumin, turmeric and coriander. I have a bag of a wonderful curry my youngest son brought me as a gift from his travels to Asia and I have been using this wonderful gift in my cooking whenever it’s called for. For this recipe, I used wild caught Argentinian shrimp, which has a mild and sweet flavor. It is my favorite. Brazilian curry can be served as a soup, but it is commonly served over white rice and a side of sautéed spinach on butter.
- 2 lb. raw shrimp
- 1 can coconut milk
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- olive oil
- 2 limes
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 5 ripe Roma tomatoes chopped
- 2 cups butternut cut into small cubes
- 1 large potato cut into small cubes
- 2 large carrots thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper cut into small pieces
- 1 finely chopped piri piri pepper with the seeds removed. (piri piri is above average in heat and kind of hard to find, so you can use a chilli pepper)
- 1 cup frozen petit peas
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tbsp. ketchup
- 1 tbsp. curry
- bunch fresh basil chopped or sautéed spinach
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Cook shrimp in boiling water for 5 minutes until nice and pink. Drain. Set aside to cool for a few minutes, remove shell and devein. Then, squeeze lime juice, sprinkle salt/pepper and drizzle olive oil. Mix it all together for even flavor. Set aside.
- Put the sauté shallots, garlic, and tomatoes with a generous amount of olive oil, in a big pot. When the tomatoes start to burst add carrots, butternut, potatoes and peppers. Stir to coat all vegetables and add vegetable broth. Cover and let it cook until carrots, butternut and potato are softer.
- Add tomato paste and ketchup. Stir. Then, add coconut milk, curry and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium, letting it cook for about 10 minutes, stirring ocasionaly until the sauce has thickened a little. This happens when the cooked potato and butternut release their starch.
- Wash ice off the peas and add them to the curry.
- Add shrimp and let it cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and garnish the shrimp with basil or add sauteed spinach on butter. Why not add both?
“Beringela assada ao molho Bolognese”
Eggplant with Bolognese sauce is not typical Brazilian food but became part of everyday Brazilian diet. Italian Immigration to Brazil started in the 16th century but it was in the 19th Century that large numbers of immigrants, facing the industrial revolution in Europe, went to Brazil. Brazilian government and land owners offered land to farm as they were facing the suppression of the slavery system.
According to Brazilian government today, there are 31 million Brazilians of Italian descent. Brazilians of Italian descent have duo nationalities. Italian identity and culture shaped much of the Brazilian culture after the Portuguese colonization.
This recipe celebrates the fusion of three nations. A popular Brazilian dish influenced by Italian cuisine and once again adapted to ingredients easy to find in the USA.
- 2 large eggplants
- 3 large red peppers
- 2 celery sticks
- 2 lbs. ground turkey
- fresh mozzarella
- shredded asiago cheese
- 3 shallots
- 1/2 onion
- 6 garlic cloves
- 3/4 cup rose wine
- fennel seeds
- dried basil
- fresh basil
- 1 can 20 oz. San Marzano crushed tomatoes
- Olive oil
- salt and pepper
- agave nectar
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Cut eggplant lengthwise in thin slices and let it soak in water for 15 min, it helps cut the bitterness of the eggplant. Cut red pepper in large strips and set aside.
- Chop celery, half onion, 3 garlic cloves and fresh basil.
- In a sauce pan, add olive oil, the can of tomatoes, celery, onion, garlic and stir until tomatoes start bubbling. Add salt and pepper and smooth it with an immersion blender. Add fennel seeds, dry basil, fresh basil ( leave some for garnish), a drizzle of agave nectar and let the flavors incorporate at low heat. Cover and leave at low heat while preparing the meat.
- Chop shallots and the rest of garlic.
- In a sauce pan, add olive oil, ground turkey, shallots and garlic. Cover and let cook; stirring occasionally until meat is browned and water and liquids dried. Add wine, salt, pepper. more fennel seeds. Cover and let cook over medium heat until meat is completely cooked. Add meat to tomato sauce. Remove from heat.
- Drain the eggplant water.
- Drizzle olive oil all over a rectangular baking dish, approximately 13×9.
- Arrange the dish by making a layer of eggplant. Put enough Bolognese sauce over, then a layer of red peppers (it should take all the red peppers). Then put some more Bolognese sauce over the peppers and another layer of eggplant (should use the rest of the eggplant). Cover with the rest of the Bolognese sauce.
- Add slices of fresh mozzarella until completely covered. Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle salt, pepper and dried basil. Top with shredded asiago cheese.
- Bake for 30 min. Garnish with fresh basil.
( Torta de Doce de Leite e Chocolate)
It’s oozing with goodness!
This is a very rich dessert. It is cold, smooth, and silky. Absolutely divine! It is very easy to make but requires a few steps. I recommend to start a day before serving.
Originally, this dessert was made with “Biscoito Maria”, a type of corn starch, and sugar cookies or “Biscoito Champagne” ( lady finger cookies), but both can be difficult to find, so I substituted them for chocolate graham crackers, which are widely available at all grocery stores.
- 1 box chocolate Graham Crackers
- 1 can condensed milk
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 4 oz semi-sweet dark chocolate
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 4 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp sugar
- To make milk caramel, place condensed milk inside a digital pressure cooker, cover the can with water, and close the top. Set it for canning and let it cook until the pressure is completely out. If using a regular pressure cooker, let pressure build at high heat. Once the pressure builds, turn heat to low and let it cook for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it cook until the pressure is completely out. If you do not have a pressure cooker, fill a pot with water and let the can cook for 30 minutes. Keep hot water handy in case you need to add hot water. Do not let the water dry out because the can will explode; stay close to the pot. In all the cases, make sure there is enough water to cover the can. Once cooked, remove the can from the hot water and let it cool.
- While the can is cooking, pre-heat the oven to 350F. Place one and a half packets of chocolate crackers in a food processor to make crumbles. Place the crumbles in a bowl and add melted butter; mix them with a fork. Press this mixture inside a removable tart ring with the help of a spoon and bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, whip heavy cream and set it in the refrigerator.
- Melt chocolate in a water bath. Once melted, add half and half and stir until a silky chocolate cream is formed. Set aside.
- Remove cream from the refrigerator and divide it in half. Place one half back in fridge and add the sugar to the other half by folding it gently with a fork to preserve the air pockets. Add melted chocolate to the cream and gently mix to preserve air pockets. Place it in fridge.
- When the can of condensed milk is cooled, open and fold the milk caramel with the other whipped cream and sugar that was resting in fridge. Whisk gently until a creamy silky mixture is formed. Place this mixture back in the fridge.
- Both the chocolate cream and the milk caramel cream should be left in fridge for at least 2 hours to firm.
- Once both creams are firm, spread the milk caramel over the crust of chocolate crackers. Break the rest of the chocolate crackers into small pieces and cover the caramel mixture with the broken pieces. Then, spread the chocolate cream on top.
- Place the tart mold on a plate, and cover it with another plate. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
- Before serving, remove the torte from the freezer and let it stand for 5 minutes. Turn the plates over to remove the tart ring and …voila! It is ready! Wait another 5 minutes before cutting.
*Store in refrigerator. The freezer was only to help remove dessert from tart ring.
Pita Bread is so easy to make, the perfect pair for Hummus! The warm and rich flavor of the Arab cuisine that reached Portugal and Brazil.
- 2 cups unbleached white flour
- 1 tea-spoon salt
- 2/3 cup lukewarm water
- 1 table-spoon olive oil
- 1/2 tea-spoon dry yeast
- Mix flour and salt in a bowl.
- Dissolve yeast in water and add olive oil.
- Make a hole in center of flour and add yeast mixture, then slowly knead mixture to make a soft dough.
- Turn dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
- Place it back in the bowl, brush top with a little extra olive oil, cover with a plastic wrap and set aside, in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour.
- Punch dough, place it on a lightly floured surface and divide it in 6 balls.
- Roll each ball in to a circle or oval shape about 1/3 inch thick. Brush each one with a little more olive oil, cover them back and let them rest for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pre heat oven to 400F. Place 3 pita circles on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. You will need to pans or bake in batches.
- Bake for 6 minutes or until they puff up and are golden brown.
Garbanzo Bean Dip
Hummus comes from the Arabic word meaning “chickpeas”
Believe it or not but Brazil is home of one of the best hummus you can find. The History of Brazil and Syrian/Lebanese immigration go as far as the Ottoman Empire when Arabs conquered Portugal and became new Christians “Moors”. During the colonization of Brazil many of the colonists were the new christians and they brought with them to Brazil, their culture. The influence of the Moorish in Brazilian food is rich. Moorish cuisine has been fully integrated as Brazilian food. Today there are approximately 7 million Brazilians of Syrian/Lebanese descent. You will find Arab Restaurants everywhere and Middle Eastern food as part of the main Brazilian menu.
- 2 cups cooked Garbanzo beans or 2 cans drained
- juice of half a Lemmon or lime
- 2 garlic cloves sliced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tea spoon ground cummin
- salt to taste
- 2 table spoons Tahini (optional)*
- mint leaves to garnish
- Place all ingredients in a food processor except for mint leaves and process until creamy and smooth.*
- Place hummus in a serving dish, drizzle some extra olive oil and garnish with chopped mint leaves. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
*If you remove the skins off the garbanzo beans you will have a silkier puree.
* It can be difficult to find Tahini, when Tahini is added then you have a Hummus bi Tahini, but it is not necessary for just making garbanzo bean dip.
Serve with Pita bread, following is a recipe for homemade pita bread
Torta de Camarao
This is a very popular dish in Brazil, it can be served as a main dish, side dish, party food.
This dish is also known as “Empadao de Camarao” and it is found in every bistro, served in big slices or in mini sizes,as finger food or appetizers .
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup ( 2 sticks) cold butter cut into cubes
- 8 tablespoons ice water
- shredded fresh parmesan cheese
- 1 egg yolk beaten
- 2 table spoons of olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 pound of cooked shrimp
- 1/2 lime or Lemmon
- 1 red pepper chopped
- 1/4 of an onion finely chopped
- 2 Roma tomatoes finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 cup thinly sliced hearts of palms ( optional but highly recommended)
- 1/2 cup sliced pitted kalamata olives ( optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 table-spoon flour
- Add 1 and 1/2 cups of flour and salt to a food processor or to a medium bowl. Pulse or stir until combined. Add butter and process or use a fork to mix. Add remaining flour and mix until dough is crumbly. Add cold water and process or use hands to shape dough into a ball. If dough falls apart add another table-spoon or two of cold water and work the dough until forms a ball.
- Remove dough from food processor or bowl, place it on a clean surface and divide dough in two halves. Wrap each half with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, in a large pan over medium heat, saute onions, garlic, tomatoes and red pepper in olive oil, cook until soft. Add shrimp, squeeze lime juice, add salt and pepper to taste and red pepper flakes. Then add hearts of palms, olives, fresh parsley and flour. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Pre heat oven to 350 F.
- Remove one half of dough from refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Open dough with a rolling-pin and place it on a round pie dish. Prick dough with a fork and place it in oven for 15 min.
- Remove from oven, place but leave oven on. Pour shrimp filling inside pie crust, set aside.
- Remove other half of dough from refrigerator and open with a rolling-pin on a lightly floured surface. Place dough on top of filling. Press the sides to close the edges. Brush the top with the beaten egg yolk and sprinkle parmesan cheese. Make a cut like a cross in the middle with a knife. Place it on top of a cookie sheet and in the oven and bake for 35 min or until top is golden brown. Let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.
“Caipirinha” is an unique Brazilian cocktail made with limes, sugar and distilled sugar cane known by several different names being “Cachaça” the most popular but it is also known as ‘Pinga”, “Aguardente” and “Caninha”. It is basically fermented sugar cane juice and it can be very strong by itself, many people will drizzle honey, others will have a pure shot before a meal, it is known to open up an appetite.
Cachaça may not be easy to find at liquor stores in the US but Caipirinha is becoming popular at bars around the nation and Cachaça can be order on line and it may be substituted for Rum or Vodka. When using Rum this cocktail is known as “Caipirissima” and if using Vodka it’s “Caipirosca”. A Caipirinha must have Cachaça.
The original Caipirinha is made with limes but there is a variation using passion fruit also very tropical ,Brazilian and delicious.
- 1 lime
- 2 ounces of Cachaça
- 2 tbs sugar ( I like to substitute the sugar for agave nectar)
- Rinse lime well and dry. Cut lime in quarters and remove the white skin, then cut the quarters again in half.
- Place ice in a cocktail shaker, add lime slices, muddle gently just to release some juice, add Cachaça, sugar or agave. Shake well and transfer all to a Rocks glass. Poke limes and stir with a cocktail straw, garnish with a slice of lime.
- No cocktail shaker? just place the ice in the Rocks glass, add the limes and muddle a little using a muddler or the end of a butter knife, add cachaça and sugar or agave. Poke and stir well using a cocktail straw, garnish with lime.
- ENJOY! and SAÚDE!