What is Brazil well known for: samba, carnival, soccer, beaches (Copacabana and Ipanema), summer, sun, hot girls, wonderful nature, top models, soap operas, Rio de Janeiro, “The girl of Ipanema”-song etc. etc. You can continue again and again, it seems to be that this one country has several faces. each of them beautiful and amazing.
But there’s one other face this country can show you: tasty! Yes, Brazil has a wonderful and tasteful kitchen, I’m sure loved by many gourmets worldwide. And me, I started to learn and love Brazilian kitchen many years ago, when I was trying to learn cooking and searched for tasteful recipes in the internet. Since then, many Brazilian recipes are an essential part of my cooking routine.
Some facts about Brazil
Brazil is the fifth-largest and fifth most-populous country in the world and the most largest in South America. The country is a union of 26 states and a federal destrict.
Its name Brazil derives from a tree called Pau Brasil or Brazilwood in English. For many centuries its bark was an important source for dye because of its intensive red colour.
The downtown of Brazil’s capital Brazilia has a shape like an airplane.
Brazil is world’s largest producer of coffee.
Brazil has the largest Japanese community outside of Japan.
Brazilians have got a very sweet tooth. By my search about Brazilian way of life, I noticed that there were many reports, that they consume much more sugar than other nations and simply love everything sweet.
Brazil is a country of emigrants. People from all over the world emigrate there in search of better life. Besides this, during colonial time, portugues colonists brought many Africans as slaves into the country. In such a melting pot Brazil developed to a multicultural society, where every community brings something (mostly its best, I hope) to build an unitary nation.
One of things that brings people together is food. So, Brazilian kitchen is composed of dishes that have its origin in cultures very unlike each other. Every region has its own recipes, but there are also dishes known in the whole country and outside of it as a typical Brazilian dish such as feijoada for example.
What is acarajé?
Why I decided to cook it? I bought myself a book about Brazilan kitchen and the picture of it was on the front page. Maybe I simply wanted to find an alternative food for falafel?
This dish has its origin in West Africa and was brought with the African slaves to Brazil. Nowadays it is part of Bahianian kitchen in the province Bahia, where descendants of former slaves make the largest part of population. Baianas, so are called the women-vendors of acarajé on the streets of Salvador da Bahia, the main city of the province. Dressed in white traditional dresses they developed to a symbol of the region, Bahianian kitchen and acarajé.
Acarajés are pastry balls made of peeled black eyed peas with onions, garlic, hot sauce and fried in palmoil (azeite de dendé).
The recipe vary from cook to cook. The balls are split in half and stuffed with sauces, salads, pastes etc.
How I made acarajé
I found many recipes of acarajé and no one satisfied me, so I decided to make it the way I like and to try to stay near to the original recipe.
– 200 gr of white black eyed peas (There are many sorts of it. I guess, the Baianas take big beans. I took the small beans, their peel is very soft, so you needn’t to peel it off.)
– 2 medium onions
– 50 gr of flour (more or less, it depends on the consistency of your paste)
– salt and black pepper
– vegetable oil to fry
How to make:
1. Soak beans in cold water over night.
2. The next day: boil beans untill they turn soft. Like I said above, if you choose little beans you needn’t to peel them off, but do it only by big beans, their peel is harder.
3. Grind the beans and onions in a blender to a thick paste.
4. Season the paste with salt and pepper. Be creative: you can add spices you like instead of black pepper. I wanted to add my fave red zhug hot paste, but forgot to buy it. Next time I want to make it with some kitchen herbs like dill or coriander.
First, I wanted to make it without flour, but the ball split apart in the hot oil. So, I decided to add some flour into the paste and it worked.
5. Heat the oil in a bowl. There must be enough oil, so the balls can swim in it. Build the balls with 2 table spoons and put them careful into the hot oil. Unfortunately I coudn’t take a photo.
Fry the balls in oil on low-medium heat from both sides till they turn golden.
6. Let them cool. I cut them in half and add some salad. You can add what you personally like.
PS. They’re so tasty. Yummmmmmmmmy!!! Love them!