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

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Brazilian Style Grits (Quirera)

Quirera com costelinhaI have never been much of a grits fan. I always found them weird and tasteless. So, when I lived in the USA I never ate them. But, about two weeks ago I was introduced to the Brazilian style grits and I absolutely fell in love with them. So much so, that two days after first trying them I made a HUGE pot at home!!!!!

In Brazil, grits are called quirera and are commonly made into a dish with pork ribs or chicken. It is only lightly seasoned with onions, garlic, pepper and parsley, and for the rest all of the flavor comes from the meat.

This is a perfect recipe for a colder day. But, can just as easily be eaten during the summer.

Enjoy!

Brazilian Style Grits (Quirera)

Quirera com costelinha1kg/2.2lbs of pork ribs or chicken drumsticks
500g/1.1lbs of grits (quirera de milho)
1 onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
Parsley
Salt
Pepper

Boil the ribs or chicken in a pressure cooker until well cooked.

In a large pan sautee the onions for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sautee until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ribs or chicken and fry until just beginning to brown and stick to the bottom of the pan. Add  5 cups of the broth from the ribs or chicken. Add the grits and, stirring constantly, bring to a simmer. If needed add more water, making sure to maintain a soup-like consistency. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the grits are cooked through. Season with salt, pepper and parsley.

Serve hot.

Pumpkin and chicken stew (Frango na Moranga)

The last few weeks on the farm have been extremely busy and I have barely had any time to write-up some of the wonderful things I have surprisingly found the time to make. Although I have been busy with farm work, I have managed to squeeze in some time in the kitchen to try out some new recipes. Hopefully I will manage to get those recipes written and posted within the next few weeks.

But, today I want to share a recipe that I made a couple of weeks ago and just haven’t gotten around to posting. This is a recipe that I have been wanting to do for a long time, but traditionally it is made with shrimp, and I rarely buy shrimp, so, I never really had the possibility of making this. But, to my surprise and great joy a little while ago I came across a youtube video (if you speak portuguese you can WATCH IT HERE) of this dish being made with chicken. After watching the video I ran to my freezer to see whether I had chicken and to my delight I DID! All the other ingredients I had, so I went ahead and made it.

Frango na morangaThis is a beautifully simple recipe and has such amazing taste. What I love about this dish is that if you are careful when scooping out the pumpkin, you can use the shell of the pumpkin as a serving dish for the stew. This makes for a beautiful center piece and definitely a great way to impress your family and friends!

If you do not have chicken or would prefer to make this dish with shrimp, you can simply go ahead and substitute the chicken for shrimp!

PUMPKIN AND CHICKEN STEW

600g chicken, cubed
1 small onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsps of parsley finely chopped
1 pumpkin, approximately 3kg or 6-7lbs
1 cup of cream cheese (optional)
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 tsp of chilli flakes
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
Salt to taste

STEP 1: Wash the pumpkin well and cook in the microwave for 15 minutes on high or in the oven at 200C/390F for approximately 1 hour, until soft, but not mushy.

STEP 2: When the pumpkin is cooked, cut out the top in a circle and put aside. Remove the seeds from inside the pumpkin and remove the pulp from the sides. If you plan to use the pumpkin as a serving dish do not remove the pulp from the bottom. Cut the pumpkin into cubes and set aside.

STEP 3: Lightly stir fry the cubed chicken in a wok or deep pan together with some oil, onions, garlic and parsley. Add the pumpkin, the cream cheese and coconut milk. Bring to a light boil and leave for approximately 6-7 minutes until the mixture becomes creamy. Season with the chilli flakes, nutmeg and salt.

STEP 4: Spoon the stew into the pumpkin, place the top on and bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes at 200C/390F. Serve hot with rice!

Chicken Stew With Peas

Chicken stew with peasIt has been a month since my last post and definitely time for a new recipe. This past month has been busy with lots of farm work and a wonderful visit from my parents. We are coming to the end of our summer here and slowly our work is beginning to decrease just a little bit. Unfortunately though, a lot of our work is being disrupted because of relentless rains. Everyday for the past months we have been getting torrential rain storms that release tons of water on top of us and have turned everything into a mud bath. To top things off these storms are usually accompanied by thunder and lightning which tend to cause power outages….so, no peace for us!

But, rain and work aside, let me share with you this delicious recipe I stumbled across last week.

So, last week, amid lots of farm work and delays in all of our transplanting because of rain, I needed to find something to cook one evening. I had taken a kilo of chicken already out of the freezer and at 5pm wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to make with it. I pulled out one of my favorite recipe books (O Brasil À Mesa by Heloisa Bacellar) and began leafing through it. There were several chicken recipes, but this one caught my eye, frango ensopado com ervilha or in english, chicken stew with peas. I quickly read through the recipe and was hooked. Chicken, bacon, onions, garlic, tomato and peas, what could be better? Plus, this was a recipe where you throw everything into a pot and just let it boil. Quick and simple, not much to go wrong!

I whipped everything together, making some adjustments to the recipe because I didn’t have all of the ingredients, and then I let everything boil on the stove for almost 2 hours. The recipe called for approximately 45 minutes of boiling, but I decided to stretch it to increase the flavours and tenderness of the chicken.

The result? Perfection! The chicken was super tender and rich with flavour. This was by far one of the best chicken dishes I had made.

Without further distraction here is the recipe. This is a MUST TRY and a recipe that nothing can go wrong with. You can easily substitute ingredients and if you don’t want to boil this for very long you could easily throw everything into a pressure cook and boil for approximately 30 minutes!

ENJOY!

CHICKEN STEW WITH PEAS
serves 4

Chicken stew with peas1kg of chicken thighs, with or without skin
100g of bacon, cubed
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp of sugar
1 cup of dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 cup of tomato sauce
1 cup of green peas
1/4 cup of parsley, finely chopped
Oil
Salt and pepper

Cover the bottom of your pot with oil, heat, and quickly brown the chicken. Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve on a plate. Sautee the bacon in the same pot, add the onion and, mixing continuously, cook until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and sautee for one more minute. Add the sugar and leave to caramelize. Add the wine and mix well, making sure to loosen everything from the bottom of the pot. Add the chicken to the pot, add the bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the tomato sauce and cook on a low heat, with the lid half-on for approximately 40 – 60 minutes (you can boil for up to 2 hours if you wish). Boil until the meat becomes very soft and the sauce has thickened. Add the peas and leave to cook for another 10 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper, add the parsley and serve with white rice!

Changes that I made:
1. Instead of using bacon I used smoked sausage chopped very finely.
2. I did not have white wine for cooking, so instead just used water.
3. I also didn’t have bay leaves, so instead seasoned with a little bit of thyme.
4. I did not add the sugar as I do not like to put sugar in a lot of my dishes.
5. The parsley I was fully prepared to add in at the last-minute, but ended up forgetting it completely. The dish was still wonderful without it:)!
6. I did not measure the peas, instead I just threw in a whole can.

Brazilian Blender Pie – Torta de Liquidificador

Torta de liquidificafor - Blender PieHands down this is one of my all time favourite Brazilian recipes. Really, this dish is nothing special and definitely nothing to rave about. However, I love it because it is quick and easy to make and it is a wonderful way to use leftovers or odd vegetables or meat that either you don’t have enough of for a big dish or you don’t know what to do with. Secondly, you really can’t go wrong with this recipe.

This pie is often a life-saver for me on busy days and within 20 minutes I can have it in the oven!

Brazilians love anything that can be made in the blender and this pie is no exception, hence the name. The batter for this pie is made in the blender and all you need to do is pour it over the pie filling and pop it in the oven. It is really that simple!

Traditionally this pie is made with tuna fish, but here at home we try to stay away from tuna fish and therefore I make it with bacon, sausage, minced meat or chicken. I always have bacon and sausages in my freezer so they are the two meats that I usually use. If you are vegetarian you can easily leave out the meat.

So, the basis for this pie is a batter that is very similar to a cake mix. The rest is up to you. Be creative! Use leftovers, use different vegetable combinations and have fun!

Anything goes for this pie. If you don’t have much at home you can use less filling, if you want to beef up the pie with lots of filling, go ahead, it will definitely be super tasty and extra hearty!

My go to filling is some combination of spinach, escarole, leeks, onions, bacon and sausage! I stir fry all of this before hand and then mix with the batter.

The only thing that needs to be measured accurately for this recipe is the batter, the rest is completely up to you. Enjoy!

Ingredients 

Filling:
1 head of escarole
200g or 1 bunch of spinach
1 onion
1 sausage

Batter:
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
2 cups white flour
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt

For the Filling:
Chop all ingredients and stir fry. If you are using leftovers that are already cooked there is no need to heat them up. The important thing for the filling is that all ingredients are cooked and seasoned and that there is non to very little water or liquid.

For the Batter:
Put all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth. This is a thick batter, so if you prefer not to use a blender you can simply mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Preheat oven to 180C  (355F). When the filling and the batter are prepared, pour a small amount of batter into a prepared baking dish. Make sure the batter covers the bottom of the dish. Spoon the filling into the baking dish making sure to remove any liquid. Pour the remaining batter ontop of the filling. If you would like the filling to be fully incorporated into the batter take a spoon and lightly mix the batter and filling together. If you would like more of a sandwich effect, do not stir.

Bake for approximately 30-45 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Torta de liquidificador - Blender Pie