food · Travel

Brazil: Day Eight (Food)

Coxinha (Portuguese: little [chicken Thigh] ) shredded chicken covered in dough and fried. It is shaped like a cone. These are delicious and very filling. I usually get one of these and a pastel, and they are great appetizers. Sometimes I add some rice, black beans, and have a meal, but that’s not how they do it here.

Pastel is a fast-food snack. This is the treat we stopped for heading to Teresopolis, mentioned a few posts back. It is shaped like a half-moon, with assorted fillings, I have always had cheese or beef, but it also comes with shrimp and even pizza flavors. It is crispy brown after being fried. The most common fillings are ground meat, mozzarella, catupiry ( a type of cheese in Brazil, soft and creamy). I have seen these all over the streets of Rio and along the beach.

Picanha is the sirloin cut of beef, it is delicious. It reminds me of filet mignon. It is tender and sliced thin and in small strips. If you ever go to a Brazillian steak house, or “churrascaria”, it is one of the meats they slice off the skewer at your table. You will ask for many helpings of this piece of beef.

Pão de queijo (“cheese bread” in Portuguese) or Brazilian cheese bread. There are small and large sizes, you can’t eat just one or ten. It is a baked cheese roll or cheese bun, a popular snack, and breakfast food in Brazil.

Farofa is a toasted cassava or cornflour mixture. It is eaten mainly in Brazil. It looks like sand or sawdust, but trust me it tastes nothing like sawdust. I mix it with my rice and black beans. I have seen my wife cook it in a frying pan, mostly I think to just warm it up and typically she mixes in scrambled eggs, bananas, or both.

Pudim is a flan made of a mixture of eggs and condensed milk in a blender: you get a bundt cake pan and heat sugar to make some caramel in the bottom, then add the mix and bake it in a water bath.

Brigadeiro is a traditional Brazilian dessert. It is also made of condensed milk, plus cocoa powder. It is similar to fudge. After it cools off (licking the wooden spoon while it’s still hot is the best part), you make small balls and roll them in chocolate sprinkles, fine sugar or anything you want as an outside layer. Or they can be also be simply poured in a tiny bowl and eaten with a small spoon, like pudding. We make these at home and they are sold at cafes and many food places, like many of the other tasty treats. It is possibly the best dessert ever.

Stroganoff. The sauce is made with onions, table cream, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and champignon mushrooms. Chicken or shrimp are added, and you pour it over a bed of rice and a side of potato sticks.

These are staples with many meals in Brazil, but also typical in America.


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