How to snack like a local at the Rio Olympics

If you have travelled to Brazil for the Rio Olympics you will definitely find the time to enjoy the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro. While meandering through streets, walking along Copacabana beach or visiting the pão de açucar, at some point, you will need something to snack on. The culinary delights that Brazil has to offer are endless, but what should you eat for a quick snack? And, how do you order it?

(If you are enjoyng the Rio Olympics from the comfort of your own home you can make some of these delicious snacks for everyone to enjoy!)

A common place to stop for a snack is a lanchonete, snack bar. Or, one of the many beach stands. Anywhere you go, you are likely to find the same snacks. Here are some MUST-TRY snacks.

Caipirinha
Everybody has heard of the Brazilian drink, caipirnha, probably your local bar is now serving it. But, while in Rio you HAVE to drink at least one. Grab one at Copacabana or Ipanema beaches, breathing in the salty sea air, squishing your toes in the sand and brushing off the constant bombardment of beach vendors.

The traditional capirinha is made with cachaça and lime, but nowadays there is a myriad of different caipirinha options. You can have it with vodka or cachaça, lime, passion fruit, pineapple, strawberry…the list goes on. So, how do you order the traditional caipirinha?

how to order caipirinha in portuguese

I suggest you stick to the cachaça. If you want a different fruit just substitute the limão with: abacaxi (pineapple) or morango (strawberries) or maracuja (passion fruit).

And, if one capirinha is not enough (which, it is likely not to be). Just say: “mais uma, por favor.”

CLICK HERE for the traditional recipe! And HERE for one made with blackberries!

Pão de Queijo
These are all the rave in the USA at the moment. But, you have to try the real deal. Anywhere you go in Brazil you will find pão de queijo. Any lanchonete, padaria or beach stand will serve them. Sometimes you will find large single serving pão de queijo and other times they will be small bite-sized. There is no difference between the two in flavor, just the way you order.

Brazilian Cheese Bread

If there are large pão de queijo being sold you will ask for how many you would like, um, dois, tres or quatro.

You: Eu queria um pão de queijo, por favor. (I’d like one pão de queijo, please).

OR

You: Eu queria dois/três/quatro pães de queijo, por favor. (I’d like two/three/four pães de queijo, please).

Now, if the padaria or lanchonete is serving bite-sized pão de queijo, you will need to order by weight. Remember, in Brazil we use the metric system, so you will be ordering in grams. Don’t panic, it is not that difficult. Let’s see how it is done.

You. Eu queria 100g (cem gramas) de pão de queijo, por favor. (I’d like 100g of pão de queijo, please).

Simple, right? 100g of bite-sized pão de queijo will be about 10 units. Think of each one as weighing 10g.

Now you’re ready to go onto the streets of Rio and order pão de queijo like a local.

CLICK HERE for recipe #1! And HERE for the blender recipe!

Empadinha de frango
Finally, we have a popular Brazilian snack that you may not have heard of. The empadinha is a small, cupcake sized, pie. Popular fillings are frango (chicken), palmito (hearts of palm) and queijo (cheese). You will find this common snack anywhere. Brazilians like to eat it with an expresso or cappuccino. Let’s learn how to order an empadinha and how to find out what the filling is.

Chicken Pie

How to ask what the fillings are:

You: Essas empadinhas são de quê?

And ordering:

You: Eu queria uma empadinha de frango/palmito/queijo, por favor.

Now go out, grab an empadinha and a coffee!

CLICK HERE for my delicious recipe!

Coxinha
Another popular coffee time snack: coxinha. Translated this means ‘little thigh’. You will be able to easily identify it in any display window as it is shaped like a chicken thigh. This is a deep-fried chicken and potato snack. Shredded and seasoned chicken is wrapped with pureed potato, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. What could be tastier than that? Sometimes you will find the whole drumstick wrapped in pureed potato, but I recommend going for the more common one with the shredded chicken.

How to order? Just ask for a coxinha as we have practiced with the other snacks.
Brazilian Coxinha

Pudim
If all of these savory snacks are getting a little bit too much for you, head over to the sweets section and pick out this delicious dessert. Pudim is a Brazilian staple and is a must-have. It is a flan-like dessert made from condensed milk, milk and eggs. Accompanied with a delicious caramel sauce, it is eaten cold.

condensed milk pudding

CLICK HERE for the recipe!

Pastel com caldo de cana
If you pass-by anywhere that is selling pastel STOOOOOOOOOOOP! You will want to go and get one of these popular Brazilian street foods. Commonly, pastel is sold at the neighborhood vegetable street markets or feiras.

So, what is pastel? Well, it is a light, deep-fried, pastry that is filled with any kind of filling you can imagine, cheese, ground beef, hearts of palm, escarole, pumpkin, jerked beef, just to name a few. You can even mix and match. Anything goes.

Pastel com caldo de cana

And, there you have it, some tasty snacks that you will find anywhere in Rio de Janeiro during the summer Olympics. Or snacks which you can make at home while watching the Rio Olympics on TV. And, you now know some portuguese!

Want some more snacks for all of you Rio Olympic watching? Here are some more suggestions:
Fried Manioc Balls
Feijoada (Brazilian Bean and Meat Stew)
Broa (Sweet corn breads)
Avocado ice-cream
Fried Rice Balls
Passion Fruit Mousse
Brigadeiro

Have you ever heard of CURAU, a Brazilian corn pudding? Neither had I.

I still have a lot to learn about Brazilian foods. There are so many ingredients that I still do not know about or know how to use and there are hundreds if not thousands of dishes that are still waiting for me to discover them. This is what I love about writing this blog and about exploring the culinary side of Brazil. There is always something new just around the corner. How exciting, right?

A little while ago I had one of those experiences when, a dish I had not heard about before fell into my lap. This recipe came from the beautiful blog of Mariana Weber O caderno de Receitas (I spend hours on her blog, reading all of the delicious recipes – for those of you who do not read/speak portuguese, I still recommend you take a look at her blog as she has some beautiful pictures of the foods that she makes).

I hope you like this recipe as much as I do!

Curau – Brazilian Corn Pudding

2 cups of milk
1 cup of corn meal
1/2 cup of white sugar
2 tbsps butter
Cinnamon powder

Mix the milk, corn meal and sugar in a medium pan. Slowly bring to the bowl, mixing continuously. Once the mixture begins to boil you will notice it begin to thicken. Let it boil for no longer than 30 – 60 seconds. Turn of the heat and add the butter. Continue stirring until the butter is fully melted.

Transfer to a large bowl or small individual bowls. Sprinkle the cinnamon on top. Serve either cold, at room temperature or hot.

Fried Manioc Balls

Fried Manioc BallsBecause I have a lot of manioc or cassava in the house I am trying to be as creative as possible in my cooking. Manioc is not something that I am used to cooking and, honestly, there are very few recipes I know that use it. So, at the moment, I am constantly pulling out my recipe books to look for new and different recipes that use manioc. A few weeks ago I made fluffy manioc rolls which turned out beautiful and will definitely become a staple recipe. Then sometime later I tried to make these fried manioc balls, which turned out amazing! So far I am managing to successfully use manioc in my cooking:)!

Frying foods is big in Brazil and although I love fried foods I actually rarely fry anything at home. I prefer not to fry foods in the house as I detest the after smell of oil, so as a general rule, I stay away from any kind of frying. But, when I came across this recipe I figured that I had to give it a go. My husband loves fried rice balls and for the past weeks he had been asking me to make them. Instead, I gave this recipe a try! They are comparable to the fried rice balls, just a little bit heavier!

The recipe itself is super easy. The most work is actually boiling the manioc which takes about half an hour. You need to make sure it is REALLY well cooked as you are going to mash them up. The rest of the ingredients include, chopped onion, parsley, grated cheese, salt, pepper, egg and flour. Mix everything together, heat the oil, and fry away.

These are best eaten fresh, but you can save them for the next day, they will just lose their crunch.

Happy frying!

Fried Manioc BallsFRIED MANIOC BALLS

2 cups of cooked and mashed manioc
1 tbsp of finely chopped onion
2 tbsps of chopped parsley
3-4 tbsps of grated cheese
2 eggs
1 tsp of salt
Pepper to taste
6-10 heaping tablespoons of white flour
1 cup of vegetable oil

Boil the manioc for 30 to 45 minutes until well cooked. Remove the inner stalk and mash. Set aside to cool.

Mix the onion, parsley, cheese, salt and pepper. Add the mashed manioc and mix well. Add the eggs and mix until fully incorporated. Add the flour and mix well. If you would like a firmer ball you can add more flour.

Heat the oil in a pan on the stove. Once the oil is hot, using two tablespoons, spoon the mixture into the oil and fry until brown. Turn over to fry the other side. Remove from the oil and let rest on a paper towel. Continue in this manner until all the batter has been fried.

Eat as a snack with a nice cold beer or as an accompaniment to dinner.

Fluffy Brazilian Manioc Rolls

Fluffy Brazilian Manioc RollsI first made manioc bread about three years ago. My neighbor gave me some manioc and I decided to have a go at making bread with it. It turned out really nice. It was super fluffy and really tasty. But, after that one time, I never made it again. Probably because manioc, in its raw form, is a vegetable that I rarely buy.

Recently, however, I have been buying organic manioc to sell along with the produce from my farm and what is leftover I end up keeping at home. So, finally, I decided to give another go at making manioc bread.

This time, instead of making a bread, I decided to go with a bit of a richer roll, similar to brioche. The recipe was really easy and fast to make. The rolls turned out delicious and fluffy and were a perfect roll to eat just with butter or with some delicious strawberry and rhubarb jam from my neighbor.

Here is the recipe. Give it a go. If you can’t find manioc at your local supermarket you can probably substitute with mashed potato.
Fluffy Brazilian Manioc Rolls

FLUFFY MANIOC ROLLS

600g/1.3lbs cooked and mashed manioc
2 tbsps of white sugar
45g bread yeast
1 cup of milk
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 tsp of salt
2 tbsps of unsalted butter
3 eggs
1kg/2.2lbs of white flour

Peel and chop the manioc. Place in a pan of water and boil until soft (if you have a pressure cooker, boil the manioc for about 30 minutes). Remove from the water and mash well with a fork. Add the milk and mix until you reach a smooth consistency (it is ok if you have some lumps).

In a mixing bowl add the sugar, yeast, oil, salt, butter and eggs. Add the manioc and milk mixture and using a kitchen aid or wooden spoon mix until well incorporated. Slowly begin adding the flour a little at a time until you have a dough that is smooth and not sticky. Knead for approximately 10 minutes.

Place in a large bowl, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 250C/480F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, shape small rolls, approximately 20. Place on the prepared baking sheets and set aside to rise for 15-20 minutes, until doubled in size.

Brush the tops of the rolls with egg. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
Fluffy Brazilian Manioc Rolls

Bolo de fubá – Delicious Brazilian Corn Cake

These past weeks have been pretty challenging here on the farm. Not so much because of work, but because of weather. I feel as though these last few weeks I have been carried away on a whirlwind and been taken for a good ride. The weather, thankfully, seems to be returning to normal, but still there is some adjusting that I need to do.

For the last two weeks of May we had constant rain or I should more accurately say: torrential rain. May, here in Brazil, is the beginning of the dry season which lasts until September. This year, there was no dry season in site during the month of May. It did not stop raining and for the last two weeks of the month all we saw was grey skies, fog and tons of rain. We had to stop almost all work on the farm and slowly began turning into frogs.

Then, just to really keep this whirlwind journey going, as soon as the rain stopped a cold front moved in and this last week we have been experiencing minus degree weather. I live at a high altitude and during winter it isn’t uncommon to get temperatures close to 0C. But, this year was exceptional. We have been waking up to frost every morning and have been struggling to stay warm and work outside. Harvesting vegetables early in the morning with close to zero temperatures is really no fun.

So, I have been occupied with the weather recently. But, during all this tumultuous weather changes I have managed to keep busy by baking some wonderful cakes. So, instead of talking about the weather, let’s get back to the delicious Brazilian cuisine.

Brazilians absolutely love corn and especially like to make sweet corn dishes. Growing up in England I didn’t eat much corn. Then moving to the USA I began eating a little bit more corn. And now in Brazil, I don’t seem to be able to get away from corn. Remember those little corn breads I made a while ago? Those are a regular staple in my house among many other corn dishes.

So, while the weather has been nasty I have been perfecting my Brazilian corn cake or as it is known in Brazil, bolo de fubá. This is a very popular cake and can be found at almost any bakery. Everybody seems to have their own recipe for this cake and there is no limitation on what additional flavorings or fillings you can add to it. Still being new to this cake I am constantly perfecting my recipe, but I have already accrued three different recipes, with three different flavors that I absolutely love.

Today I am going to share my favorite recipe and the corn cake that I most often make at home. But, I promise I will share my other two recipes soon.

Bolo de Fubá – Brazilian Corn Cake

1 1/2 cups of white sugar
1 cup of white flour
1 cup of milk
1 cup of corn meal
1/2 – 1 cup of sunflower oil**
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsps of fennel seeds

Preheat oven to 180C/365F. Grease a bunt tin with butter and flour.

Mix the first five ingredients together. You can mix with a whisk in a bowl or use a blender. Once all ingredients are fully incorporated add the baking powder and fennel seed. Mix well.

Pour ingredients into the tin and bake for 30-45 minutes.

Once cooled, remove cake from the tin and sprinkle with icing sugar.

**A note on the quantity of oil to use: I do not like using a lot of oil in my cakes, so although this recipe called for 1 cup of oil, I managed to successfully decrease the quantity to 1/2 a cup. Feel free to use the full cup of oil or if you like less oil just decrease the amount.