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

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.

Tapioca Recipes – Two ways to use ‘goma de tapioca’

Gluten-free anything seems to be all the rage at the moment and quite regularly I get questions from people curious about tapioca flours and wondering what other gluten-free tapioca recipes I have. After a long hiatus, I am ready to share a new gluten-free tapioca recipe. If you are still a little confused about what I mean by tapioca take a look at my post on tapioca/manioc flours, hopefully that will clear some things up!

In the north of Brazil there are many foods that are made with manioc flours, much more than in the south. For a very long time manioc flours were the primary flour source in the north, therefore all breads, cakes and cookies were made with manioc flours. Over the past years these recipes have begun to make their way to the south of Brazil and slowly new and different gluten-free recipes are getting known, as well as access to some different manioc flours!

One of the most popular items at the moment is a dry-white manioc starch pancake called tapioca. This pancake is eaten for breakfast or as a snack in the north of Brazil filled with butter and cheese, or jam, or any other filling you may like.

Tapioca is made with a hydrated manioc starch called ‘goma de tapioca’. It used to be almost impossible to find goma de tapioca in the south, but with the growing popularity of tapioca you can almost find it anywhere.

Making the tapioca pancake is super easy. For those of you in the USA, the hardest thing will be trying to find the goma de tapioca. If you cannot find the goma you can always use polvilho azedo and hydrate it yourself (see below for instructions).

I often eat tapioca as an afternoon snack and for breakfast I sometimes make a richer european pancake, substituting the white flour for goma de tapioca. I have included instructions for making the traditional northern tapioca and my european tapioca pancake. Enjoy!

Making Goma de Tapioca at home:
To make the hydrated tapioca starch flour you will need to start with either tapioca flour, polivilho azedo or polvilho doce. To buy online take a look at these links: tapioca flour, polivilho azedo, polvilho doce.

You will need:
> 500g tapioca flour, polivilho azedo or polvilho doce
> 200ml water

Step 1: Put the tapioca flour, polvilho azedo or polvilho doce into a bowl. Begin adding the water a little at a time, mixing well with each addition. It is important to add the water slowly so that you guarantee all of the flour is fully hydrated. Once all the water has been mixed in, let sit for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Pass the hydrated flour through a sieve to get rid of all lumps. Store in a sealed container in the fridge. The hydrated flour will keep for up to 2 weeks.

The Brazilian Tapioca Pancake: Once you have the hydrated tapioca flour sieve the flour into a hot frying pan, make sure you create a good layer and making sure to spread evenly over the pan. Leave for 30-60 seconds and then turn over (you do not want the flour to brown). Bake on the other side for another 30 seconds. Remove from pan. You can eat the tapioca pancake with any filling you wish; my favorites are jam or cheese.

Pancakes made with goma de tapioca instead of white flour

Pancakes made with goma de tapioca instead of white flour

The European Tapioca Pancake: Although I am providing a recipe for the european tapioca pancake that I make at home, you can use any pancake recipe, just substitute the white flour for goma de tapioca (hydrated tapioca flour). I have not made this with american style pancakes, so do not know if it will work.

Give these pancakes a go, they are super tasty and are a little bit chewier than regular pancakes. They make for an excellent pancake for anyone who is gluten-free or for a different pancake in the morning!

Ingredients
3 Eggs
1 1/2 cups of Goma de tapioca (hydrated tapioca flour)
A splash of milk
Pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients together until you have a slightly runny batter free of lumps. Heat a frying pan and melt a bit of butter in it to prevent the pancakes from sticking. Pour some of the batter into the hot pan, bake until brown and then turn over. Bake the second side until brown. Remove from pan. Eat while hot with you favorite pancake toppings!

Do any of you have your own goma de tapioca recipes? If so, I would love to hear them!

 

Easy Blender Cheese Breads (Pão de Queijo)

pão de queijoAnyone who has tried the Brazilian pão de queijo (cheese breads) loves them and knows that once you eat one you will probably eat another five…or all that are on the plate in front of you! Since the first time I tried pão de queijo I absolutely loved them and they have always been my favorite snack with a good cup of coffee.

Since learning to make pão de queijo at home I have made a lot and usually make a large recipe and freeze about 3/4 so that whenever I feel like eating one I can just pop a few in the oven and in 15 minutes I have piping hot homemade pão de queijo. Yummmmm!

When I started making pão de queijo at home I did pretty well with keeping my freezer supply fully stocked, but in the last half a year I have slacked and we haven’t had any pão de queijo at home in the freezer. So, the other day I was craving some homemade pão de queijo but I wanted to make some pretty quickly. I had heard a lot of people talking about making a pão de queijo batter in the blender and baking the pão de queijo in muffin tins. I was always pretty skeptical about this and really didn’t think that they would work or that the taste would be good. But, since I wanted quick pão de queijo I decided to give this recipe a go!

With few expectations, partly because I was using tapioca flour that was almost two years out of date (I didn’t have any newer flour in the house), I was completely surprised when my pão de queijo rose beautifully in the oven and tasted amazing. They actually tasted like the real deal. They were nice and gooey in the middle and they had a good cheese taste (although I did decide that next time I make these I would increase the amount of cheese).

pão de queijoThis recipe is wonderful because it is so easy and 100% fool proof. My previous pão de queijo recipe (you can find it HERE) is the ‘real deal’, but it is a little bit more challenging, has more room for errors and does take longer to make, but you can freeze the pão de queijo for later consumption which is one big bonus about the recipe. If you are completely new to making pão de queijo I would recommend trying these, it will be difficult to have a batch that goes wrong. This recipe is also great for if you are pressed for time and want to quickly whip-up some pão de queijo. It takes about 10 minutes to make the batter and 15-20 minutes cooking time. If you want to make pão de queijo for freezing stick to my other recipe, you will be unable to freeze these pão de queijos as the batter is completely liquid.

Happy baking and I hope you all try this recipe! Happy Eating:)!

Ingredients
makes 30

100 – 150g grated parmesan cheese (or meia cura)
1 egg
3/4 cup sunflower or vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cup tapioca flour (or polvilho azedo)
A pinch of salt
Oil and white flour to grease the muffin tins

Preheat the oven to 180C or 355F. Using mini muffin tins (diameter of approx. 6cm), oil each tin well and lightly flour.

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and mix until well incorporated and you have a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins to about 3/4 full.

Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. When baked, remove from the oven and take out of the muffin tins immediately. Serve warm!

pão de queijo

Bolinho de Arroz (Little Rice Balls)

Little Rice BallsYou know that I like the simple recipes and I always think that the simple recipes are the tastiest. Laboring in the kitchen to produce an extravagant meal is always wonderful and the rewards are big, but, for me, it always comes down to those small and simple morsels of goodness. Bolinho de arroz is one of those foods that I just absolutely love. And, to make them even better they are fried. Really, anything fried is delicious and irresistible. Translated to english bolinho de arroz means little rice balls and there isn’t much more to add to it because that is just what they are.

The wonderful thing with this recipe is that you never need to throw out rice again. I always struggle to think of what to do with the small amount of rice I usually end up with after a few meals of eating the large pot of rice that I make every few days. I usually end up giving the scraps to the dogs. So really the old rice never really goes to waste, but there are those times that I just want to do something more with the rice so that I can eat it and not my dogs (yes, a little selfish I know).

Little Rice BallsSince learning to make this recipe there is no more excuse for me to throw out the left over rice or feed it to the dogs (ok, they will still get the leftovers sometimes as I can’t eat fried rice balls all the time). It is easy to make and a great snack before dinner or to accompany dinner. Who could ask for more? Quick to put together, tasty, and you’re using leftovers. This is my perfect recipe!

Little Rice BallsIngredients

2 cups of cooked rice
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup grated cheese
Parsley and spring onions, finely chopped (Cheiro Verde)
Salt to taste
1/2 cup flour
Canola, sunflower, or vegetable oil

Put the rice, egg, milk, grated cheese, parsley, spring onions, and salt into a bowl. Mix together well using a spoon or your hands. Slowly add in flour, one spoon at a time. Keep adding the flour until the mixture becomes slightly firm and holds together when you roll a ball, approximately half a cup of flour. Roll the rice into small ovals. Pour enough oil into a pan to cover half of the rice balls. Heat the oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully place the rice balls into the oil and cook until golden brown. Turn the balls over and cook the other side until golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on a paper napkin to drain the oil. Eat when still warm.

For a PDF of this recipe CLICK HERE!

Little Rice Balls