The variety of Brazil throughout the country is also perceived in its flavors. Brazilian cuisine is very different from one state to another, although rice and feijão (beans) are always present (farofa is also usual). Very typical of Brazil are the lanchonetes, type of food stalls where they sell appetizers fried in oil. I will not speak here about the cuisines of all the states, but I will make special mention to Minas Geráis and Bahia, two of the most famous Brazilian cuisines. But first let's talk about some of the typical dishes of the country as a whole.
Note: the videos shown here are in Portuguese.
We have the famous Rodízios, where you sit at the table with a fixed price and choose the dishes you like the most among all the waiter is bringing. The traditional one is the Meat Rodízio, but there are also Pizza Rodízio... and even Shrimp Rodízio (on the northeastern coast). The meat one is very shocking, seeing all those pieces of meat coming to your table. Different animals, different parts, and different styles to prepare them. The variety is huge and although you will probably start saying yes to everything, you will end up ruling out more and more dishes to make room only for those you like the most.
The Pizza Rodízio is wonderful, as there are pizzas of all kinds. From the usual to the "endemic" of Brazil. Finally, it is time for desserts: chocolate pizza, fruit pizza, caramel pizza...
Chocolate Pizza to finish
As for the Shrimp Rodízio, you can find from the typical dish of grilled shrimps to shrimp spaghetti or lasagna, or shrimp with dendé oil (a sort of palm tree). But there are many other recipes: shrimp in butter, shrimp in white sauce, French-style shrimp, Bahia-style shrimp... I would never have imagined so many ways of preparing shrimp...
The menu of the Shrimp Rodízio we dined in Natal
The barbecues are part of the Brazilian culture. They are usually done every week, usually on weekends, in groups of friends or in family. While preparing the meats it is time for some beers and the vinagrete: chopped tomato, pepper and onion dipped in vinegar (each one serves itself with bread). There is always some music in the air, in the typical churrasco sounds sertanejo! And there is always some good conversations and time for laughing. The party is served!
And then come the meat!
Vinagrete is an indispensable of the churrrasco
This was my first churrasco in Brazil
Brazil's national dish has a lot of history behind it. When African slaves arrived in the country, they came up with a kind of "stew" with the animal wastes (especially from the pig) that the "lords" of the plantations did not want for themselves: skin, viscera, tongue, nose, ear... They were mixed with black beans and farofa. In addition, to avoid the lack of vitamin C, which could lead to scurvy, they added the orange to the recipe. Currently the feijoada is usually made with pieces of meat of better quality but the recipe remains basically the same. The best would be that you were lucky enough to get a homemade one prepared by a Brazilian family, as it happened to me!
Salgados are very characteristic of the Brazilian gastronomic culture. They are a kind of appetizers, normally fried, that are sold throughout the territory in many bars and food stalls. The famous lanchonetes! I remember when I returned to Brazil, after about six months out of the country, and I saw these salgados in the shop windows and the lanchonetes... I felt something very deep in my heart. They are simply amazing, unique to Brazil. Enter a lanchonete and try the different and varied salgados. For me the most "gostosos" are the following:
PÃO DE QUEIJO
A recipe that was born in Minas Geráis but you can find it in all corners of the country. It is basically cheese wrapped in yucca flour and baked, but the recipe can also include milk and eggs. Yummy! Don't miss the recipe (only using three ingredients):
Shredded chicken wrapped in a fried dough.
It is a thin and elongated mass (rectangular shape) stuffed with meat, cheese or even sweets (eg, brigadeiro). Fried, of course.
In Brazil there are many sweets and desserts (they love sugar): bolo de cenoura (carrot cake), doce de goiaba, goiabada... Here we are going to see two of the most popular in the whole country.
A very sweet sweet: chocolate and condensed milk. I love it! And it is very easy to prepare at home. That is why I will give you the recipe:
AÇAÍ NA TIGELA
Sorvete (ice cream) of this sensational fruit (contains many properties) that comes from an Amazonian palm, served with granola and banana. It will make you feel good. I liked so much that I named my dog after it: Coca Açaí.
* It is actually frozen fruit liquefied in the blender.
If I say Brazil, you think of caipirinha. Everyone knows this cocktail. But many do not know what is the liquor in it: cachaça. It is prepared with ice, sugar and lime and you will never taste a real caipirinha if you are not in Brazil.
JUICES AND SMOOTHIES
The amount of fruit in Brazil deserves a mention. Papaya, mango, caju (and the caju fruit, which we know as a cashew), goiaba, pineapple, coconut, the açaí itself (in the jungle is drunk directly from the palm)... These are just some exotic fruits that this fertile lands can offer us.
Caju tree showing the caju fruits and the cashews
Did you know pineapples grew like this?
Pure açaí, much bitter than açaí na tigela (ice cream), but much richer in nutrients.
Well, with these fruits they prepare delicious, nutritious and refreshing juices and milkshakes. Try as many flavors as you can, then decide which one is your favorite. There is also coconut water, very typical of the beach area.
Let's go now with what I had promised: Minas Gerais and Bahia gastronomy, probably the best cuisines in the whole country.
MINAS GERÁIS CUISINE
When I announced that I was going to visit some villages in Minas, all my Brazilian friends told me not to stop eating. Yeah, the cuisine of Minas Gerais is very famous. There are a number of typical dishes, such as the following:
PÃO DE QUEIJO
I have already described it above, but I mention it again because it is very good! It is basically cheese wrapped in yucca flour and baked, but the recipe can also include milk and eggs. Yum!
Mashed brown beans (feijão carioca) or black beans (feijão preto), manioc flour with torreznos, combined with angu (corn flour cooked in butter). Learn to do it at home garotinhos!
GALINHA AO MOLHO PARDO (Hen in a brown sauce, literally)
Hen cooked in her blood, seasoned with vinegar and various condiments.
CHEESES AND CACHAÇAS
However, if for some reason Minas stands out it is for its cheeses and cachaças. A typical and authentic plan would be sitting by a square, drink some local cachaça and have a tasting of homemade cheeses.
Those who were already there, those who arrived and, above all, those who were brought. The Afro-Brazilian culture of Bahia is reflected in everything: music and dances, religion, clothing... And food. A total mixture of culinary cultures that has resulted in a unique gastronomy, where dendé oil (obtained from the palm tree "dandezeiro" and introduced by the Africans) stands out.
A bahiana at her food stall
These are some of the typical dishes from the region.
A very popular snack in the capital, sold by the Bahians on the streets and beaches of the city. It is a specialty with African roots, a kind of dough with beans (feijão fradinho) and shrimp, fried in palm oil and served in a pepper sauce, vatapá and caruru (if interested look for these recipes on internet!). Food is closely related to Afro-Brazilian religious traditions (such as candomblé). I share a video for those who want to try and make this interesting dish:
Dessert made of coconut, milk and sugar that can be consumed in various presentations. In any corner of Bahia this delight is offered.
Fish (or seafood) cooked with coconut milk, dendé oil and various spices. I even prepared it in my house in Campinas, with the help of my roommate, and friend, Gabriel. I rather helped him! It was tasty. With him, too, I cooked brigadeiro.
This was the moqueca we prepared; not the best presentation, but it was delicious
Well, now that you have learned a bit of Brazilian cuisine I will leave you a website to deepen more and start cooking awesome Brazilian dishes: http://www.tudogostoso.com.br/