Every Thursday bab.la has a cultural lunch: a member of the team makes a typical meal from his/her country for everybody else. And in my third week I have to represent Brazil in a banquet, plus dessert! But what I thought would be an easy and fun task appears to be harder than what I imagined…
First because I have to cook for a very large group, then because Brazilian food isn’t as easy to cook abroad as it is in Brazil because we don’t have the same variety of ingredients now. After researching some recipes and testimonials of Brazilians living abroad I started to understand that, when push comes to shove, we need to have the “Brazilian way” even when it comes to finding the right ingredients.
Farofa with farinha? I don’t think so – The cassava flour (an ingredient widely spread in Brazilian cuisine and also found in many countries in Africa), although very cheap and common in Brazil, in other countries tends to be as rare (and expensive!) as caviar. I only found one place that sells the product in Hamburg, and for almost six times its Brazilian price. But after eating a farofa (side that goes with many dishes) made by a friend in Malta, she told me that the secret to make a good flourless farofa is to replace the cassava flour by breadcrumbs, the same we use to fry food. The taste is practically the same!
Caipiroska, Caipirinha’s Russian cousin – Caipirinha is, without a doubt, Brazilian’s most famous cocktail. Made from the mixture of cachaça (sugar-cane-based alcoholic beverage), sugar, crushed ice and squeezed lemons with the help of a pestle, it becomes a challenge to be found in other countries with the same level of quality as the Brazilian version. In some European bars a single shot of caipirinha costs more than a whole cachaça bottle in Brazil. But a good option to enjoy this super refreshing cocktail is to replace the cachaça by vodka, and you have caipiroska, an also very popular version of caipirinha and preferred by many, since the hangover with caipirinha is way worse that the caipiroska’s.
Tip: if you put some mint leaves in your caipiroska, it becomes even more refreshing and it’s a good option for the mojito lovers!
Brigadeiro and Coxinha, Brazilian immaterial heritage – Something which is very curious, however, are the brigadeiro and coxinha. Both recipes are common at birthday parties (as I’ve mentioned in the article about birthday parties), and both are entirely made with ingredients that can be found practically anywhere! This way it is very weird that they are only that common in Brazil.
In the end, I had to make many adaptations and trials before my lunch could work out, I only hope that the Brazilian homemade food flavor won’t be compromised.
And you? Is there any ingredient only found in your country?