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 boiled pork (Carne na panela)

DSC_0012Coming up with an appropriate translation for this dish was not easy. In portuguese this dish is called carne na panela which translated literally means ‘meat in the pan or pot’. Although this is an accurate description of what the dish is and how it is cooked, it doesn’t sound too appealing as a name for such a delicious dish. Stew would be a completely misleading name as there is nothing stew-like in the end result. So, I was actually a little bit stumped of how to properly translate the name of this dish and how to make it sound as delicious as it is. After a lot of thought I came up with something that didn’t sound too horrendous and accurately described what this dish is, brazilian boiled pork.

Between all of the sweets that I have recently been making I have managed to make this dish quite a number of times. As many of my regular readers will know, my husband and I raise our own pork on the farm. This means I usually have a freezer full of meat (this Saturday it will get restocked as we will be killing and butchering our piglets that are now pretty big) and have to use all the different parts of the pig. My speciality in the kitchen is definitely not meat. It is not something I am very good at making and something that I still have a lot to learn about. Usually, it is my husband that does all of the meat cooking in our house and I stay far away for fear of destroying the dish. But, recently, with all of the pork that we have, I have begun digging my hands into some more meat dishes, more out of necessity really! The first dishes I made were not that great and definitely had a lot of faults, but over time I am getting a better feeling for how to cook meat and I already am developing my little book of tips and tricks for making delicious meat dishes. And, this dish is probably the best that I have made and mastered.

Carne na panelaIn my search for good meat dishes and my attempt to learn how to properly cook meat I came across this recipe of boiling pork loin for about two to three hours. The recipe and process sounded easy and I knew from eating meat cooked this way that it is really tasty. So, I pulled out some pork loin from my freezer, marinated it with salt, pepper, garlic and lemon juice and let it sit for about three hours. I then put some oil in the bottom of a cast iron pan, added my marinated pork, filled the pan with water and added some herbs for extra seasoning. I left the pan to simmer for a good three hours and until most of the water had boiled off. The smell that permeated through the house was amazing! Once most of the water was boiled off and the pork loin was literally falling apart, I took the pan off the heat and let it sit for another 30 minutes. 

The end result…….this dish was absolutely amazing. My husband and I loved it and it was by far the best pork dish we had made.

Over the next weeks I made this dish several more times, using different cuts of pork, mostly the leg. Each time the flavor got better and the meat juicier. Now, this dish is my go-to meat dish and every chance I get I pull some pork out of the freezer and make this. The real secret to this dish is a long marination time and a slow simmer. This is not a dish to be rushed.

For anyone who is as shaky as me with cooking meat, definitely give this recipe a go. It is difficult to go wrong with this dish and the results are always amazing.

Happy cooking everyone!

PAN BOILED PORK (Carne na panela)

1.2kg/2.6lbs of pork loin or leg
1-3 garlic cloves, crushed
Juice from 2 lemons
1 bay leaf
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

Season the pork with garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Set aside for a minimum of 3 hours and up to 24 hours in the fridge.

In a medium pan, cover the bottom with vegetable oil, add the seasoned pork, the bay leaf and enough water to cover the meat. Bring to a boil, when boiling lower the heat, and, with the lid half on simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until almost all the water has boiled off and the meat is very soft and falling apart.

Serve the pork with rice, beans and vegetables or potatoes.

Brazilian Rice Pudding

Brazilian Rice PuddingWhile growing up I was never very fond of rice pudding. I always found it strange to eat sweet rice, for me rice was something that was savory and I never was quite able to stomach sweet rice. When I first came to Brazil in 2005 I was a little bit surprised to see how popular rice pudding was. At almost every restaurant I went to they had some form of rice pudding for desert. Me, still being a little queasy about rice pudding never gave it a try. It was only until recently that I tried it and actually enjoyed it a lot.

So, I decided to make it at home! The recipe was really nice and easy and the rice pudding turned out delicious. What I particularly liked about this recipe is that the rice pudding is made with some lemon and orange peels, so the flavor of lemon and orange come through when eating the rice pudding. The flavoring is subtle, but just perfect. Top this rice pudding with a little bit of cinnamon and you have the perfect desert!

BRAZILIAN RICE PUDDING

Ingredients
(6 servings)

Brazilian Rice Pudding2 1/2 cups of water
2 thick slices of orange peel
2 thick slices of lemon peel
1 stick of cinnamon
1 cup of white rice
1 liter of milk
2 cups of white sugar
Cinnmon powder

Wash the rice with cold water. Wash until the water runs clean. Set aside.

In a medium pan heat the water, lemon and orange peels and cinnamon stick. After the water boils for 1 minute add the washed rice, half cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes, until the rice is cooked. Lower the heat, add the milk and sugar and cook for another 30 minutes until you have a runny but shiny cream (do not leave to boil too long as the pudding will become from dense when cool). Remove from the heat. Pour into a serving bowl, sprinkle lightly with cinnamon powder and serve warm or cold. If serving cold, put in the fridge for 1 – 2 hours before serving.

Blackberry Caipirinha

DSC_0070-001You can never have too many caipirinha recipes! Caipirinha is so simple and can be made with almost any fruit. A while back I had my first pineapple caipirinha and it was delicious. Another favourite of mine is passion fruit caipirinha.

But, a close second to the traditional lemon/lime caipirinha is a blackberry caipirinha. A restaurant close to my farm serves a delicious blackberry caipirinha and because I have a lot of blackberries at home I decided that it was time to make my own.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

50 ml cachaça or vodka
2/3 cups frozen or fresh blackberries
2 tsp white sugar

Place the blackberries in a glass and muddle (mash the blackberries with a muddler or wooden spoon to extract all of the juice). Add the cachaça, sugar, and ice cubes. Together with the ice cubes you can add some more whole frozen blackberries.

Christmas Stollen with some Brazilian adaptations

Brazilian StollenWhen I was a child, Christmas at home was never complete without my moms homemade christmas stollen. Breakfast during the holiday season always had stollen and it was always delicious and something that I looked forward to for the whole year. I actually have no memory of my mom baking the stollen, but I have many fond memories of eating it!

Brazilian StollenFor the past years I haven’t managed to do much for christmas. The last two christmas’s I didn’t manage to put up decorations let alone bake christmas cakes, breads or cookies. Finally, this year I have had more time to decorate the house and bake some christmasy items, the most exciting being christmas stollen.

I have never made stollen and decided to follow a recipe from a trusted english recipe book. Although you can find all of the necessary ingredients here in Brazil, I decided to make some changes and “brazilianize” my stollen. They all turned out beautifully and I ended-up giving a lot of them away as christmas presents to neighbors and family. In total I made two large stollens and 12 small ones.

Instead of using rum to macerate the fruit in, I used cachaça. And, instead of using almonds I used Brazil nuts. Just these two changes made the stollen just a bit more Brazilian. To some of my stollens I also added cristalized fig and citron as well as some cherries.

I know this is not a Brazilian recipe by any means, but as it is christmas I thought it would be nice to share a bit of what else is baking in my kitchen besides all of the delicious Brazilian dishes that I share here.

With that, I end  the year 2015 with a stollen recipe from Good Housekeeping. HAPPY NEW YEAR and enjoy the recipe!

Stollen Recipe

Brazilian adaptations:
Substitute the rum for cachaça.
Substitute the almonds for Brazil nuts.
Instead of regular cristalized fruits/peels you can use cristalized figs, cherries, papaya and pineapple.