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.

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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.

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.

Little Gluten-free Corn and Tapioca Breads (Broazinhas)

Gluten-free cornmeal and tapioca breads When I lived in the USA I didn’t really eat much cornbread, it’s not that I don’t like it, I just never really found a good way to eat it. I have always found that it was a little too sweet to eat with a meal and I never really thought to eat it as a snack. So, I pretty much didn’t eat cornbread!

But when I moved to Brazil, my husband introduced me to a very common cornbread that is called broa and I completely fell in love with it. Since first eating it I try to always have some in the house as I can’t go too long without it. Broa is a sweet cornbread seasoned with a little bit of fennel seed and is shaped into little or big rolls!

There are many different kinds of broa, some are more fluffy and others are much more dense. Usually, broa is made with cornflour and a little bit of white flour, but there are some recipes that don’t use white flour and others that substitute the white flour for tapioca flour.

Gluten-free cornmeal and tapioca breadsSince moving to Brazil and first trying broa I only bought it and never really took the time to learn how to make it at home. Fifteen minutes from my farm there is a really good bakery and they make the best broa I have ever had. Because their broa is so good, I never wanted to make it at home, and just kept buying it! But, the other day I decided to finally give it a shot and make my own. I found a wonderful recipe that was super simple and gluten-free. Within about 40 minutes I had piping hot, fluffy, broas out of the oven and ready to be consumed. They were so good that a few days later I made another batch, which was devoured quickly!

This recipe is wonderful. It is super easy. It is gluten-free. And, once you try these little Brazilian Cornbreads, you will want to have them for breakfast everyday or every afternoon with your coffee or tea!

Enjoy!

Gluten-free cornmeal and tapioca breadsIngredients
makes 20

1 cup of corn flour
¾ cup of tapioca flour (polvilho doce)
1 ¾ cup of water
½ cup of white sugar
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of fennel seeds
2 large eggs (or 3 small)
1 tsp baking powder
Butter and corn flour to grease tray

Mix the cornmeal and tapioca flour together in a bowl and set aside.

In a medium pan, mix the water, oil, sugar, salt and fennel seeds. Bring to a boil. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, turn off the heat and add the cornmeal and tapioca flour, all at once. Using a metal whisk, mix very fast until the mixture forms a ball and does not stick to the sides of the pan. Transfer the mixture to a standing mix bowl (I use a kitchen aid) and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

While the mixture is cooling, grease one large or two small cookie trays and lightly cover with cornmeal. Preheat the oven to 200C or 390F.

Once the mixture has cooled a little, begin whisking and add one egg, mix until fully incorporated. Add the second egg and fully incorporate. Lastly, add the baking powder making sure to mix in well. The mixture should be smooth, but slightly sticky.

Gluten-free cornmeal and tapioca breadsTo make the little balls, put some cornmeal into a teacup, take a spoonful of the mixture and place into the teacup, swirl the mixture around in the teacup, forming a nice little ball, and pop out onto the prepared cookie sheet. This method makes it much easier to make the little balls as the mixture is very sticky and is almost impossible to roll by hand. Additionally, each ball will have a nice light covering of extra cornmeal.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until they have risen and are a little hard on the outside. Do not let them brown too much!

Eat these right out of the oven with butter, cream cheese or Brazilian requeijão!