Moqueca: Bahia’s Fish Stew

Moqueca: Bahia’s Fish Stew

Last Friday SBS showed the final episode of the beautiful documentary ‘This is Brazil’. The adorable Fernanda de Paula was the perfect choice to talk about our exotic and diverse country. She showed an incredible spontaneity and great passion for Brazil during her visits to numerous cities that will be hosting the World Cup 2014. This episode was about the vibrant historic city of Salvador, where the  UNESCO’s heritage-listed site of Pelourinho is located. The splendid and picturesque site was the old city centre of Salvador and it is characterised by hundreds of colonial-style buildings, houses, churches and monuments. The state of Bahia is the centre-stage of the Afro-Brazilian culture and, as a result, its capital Salvador is where you can enjoy rich Afro-Brazilian culture reflected on the arts, electrifying music, dance and, of course, mouth-watering cuisine. The recipe I am posting today is an exquisite Afro-Brazilian dish of Bahia called Moqueca. Along with Bobó (check recipe here), Moqueca is a must-try dish if you want to understand what the flavours of Bahia are about.  The name Moqueca originates from the Tupi-Guarani indigenous word moquear which means ‘slow-cooking over a fire’. This dish is, by far, the favourite of my Aussie friends. Even those who are not so gluttons have succumbed to this tempting stew. It is so light and tasty, that you just can’t stop eating it! Indeed, Moqueca is starting to get famous in Australia, even the talented young chef Benjamin Cooper created his own (with lots of seafood and brussels sprouts!) while participating in Episode 16 of MasterChef Australia. I also added my own twists to this recipe. Originally you cook all the vegetables at the same time but I prefer to pre-fry the onions to make them...
Galinhada: Brazilian Chicken Stew

Galinhada: Brazilian Chicken Stew

Thanks to the world renowned Brazilian chef Alex Atala, Galinhada has been brought under the spotlight when he created his own interpretation of this dish a few years ago for an event in the city of São Paulo. In Australia, Atala also cooked his famous Galinhada when he came to Sydney in 2013 during his new book signing tour: Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients. Galinha means chicken in Portuguese and Galinhada is the name of a Brazilian chicken stew that is basically prepared with onions, garlic, tomatoes, spices and herbs and served with plain rice and the good old Brazilian crumb that we call farofa. There are endless versions of the recipe and, depending where it comes from, rice may also be cooked with the stew. I have adapted a few recipes to create my own. A good Galinhada recipe should be really tasty and slow cooking is mandatory as this is what makes the flavours develop and the chicken fall off the bone. Even though it takes a lot of time to cook the chicken the recipe is very easy to make and the results are worth the wait.  Ingredients  1 whole 2kg chicken 5 garlic cloves, crushed 2 large onions, chopped 4 tomatoes, deseeded and skinless, chopped 2 long red chillies, chopped 1 tbs ground coriander seeds 1 tbs turmeric 1 tbs sweet paprika 2 bay leaves 3tbs extra-virgin olive oil ½ cup cachaça* (or brandy) 3 tbs white wine vinegar Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste ½ cup parsley, finely chopped 1 cup coriander, finely chopped Plain Brazilian Crumbs (Farofa): 2 tbs of olive oil 2 onions, finely chopped...
Feijoada: Pork and Black Bean Stew

Feijoada: Pork and Black Bean Stew

Hi Everyone, I can’t believe I finally made the decision to make a blog about Brazilian food. Why didn’t I do this earlier, I wonder? It’s such a joy to be able to write about food and to share my Brazilian recipes with Australia and the world. I mean, what’s better than talking about food? Just cooking and eating, of course! Maybe the fact that I am now living in Tasmania, a place with the most beautiful fresh produce, made me start writing this blog once and for all. I feel really lucky that I had the opportunity to move to this lovely part of the planet: one of the most liveable places in the world, a wonderful island where you feel so close to nature that has clean air and waters and breathtaking landscapes. Tasmania is also one of the destinations to be if you love nature and/or are a passionate cook or foodie. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Australia, don’t miss the chance to come to the Apple Isle and be amazed by what you are going to experience here. Now to food and probably the most popular and known Brazilian recipes of them all: Feijoada. I’ve chosen to post Feijoada this month for two reasons: 1) it is probably the most known Brazilian recipe in foreign countries and 2) even though it is eaten in Brazil all year round it is already winter in Hobart and Feijoada is a perfect winter comfy dish: hearty, rich and flavoursome. The word Feijoada comes from the Portuguese word feijão that simply means bean. Legend says that Feijoada was created by the slaves...
‘Bobó’ Prawns in Cassava and Palm Oil Sauce

‘Bobó’ Prawns in Cassava and Palm Oil Sauce

The Afro-Brazilians played a big role to enrich the Brazilian culture and to shape it as it is today. When they arrived many centuries ago in Brazil to work in the farms, soon they started using their own cooking techniques to cook dishes of their home countries using indigenous ingredients. So the African-Brazilian style of cooking was born. Many Africans were established in the state of Bahia and that is why in Bahia is where you can see the strongest African influence of Brazil. The beautiful and rich African roots are seen all over the state in the form of folk dances, music beats and rhythms, costume clothes, religion and food. The food of Bahia is one of the most important in the culinary of Brazil and, not surprisingly, the most famous. The flavours of Bahia are out of this world and certainly have the power to enchant. Indeed, Bahia’s food is quite addictive. I went to Salvador – Bahia’s capital city many years ago and stayed in a little boutique hotel where they served an exquisite breakfast that included exotic fruits, home-made breads and moist cakes that are simply unforgettable. Not to mention the spectacular street food and beach restaurants (on the sand!) that serve mouth-watering seafood dishes and fresh salads that are to die for. But that is another story, I could write 1000 pages on delicious food experiences you can have in Bahia! Bobó is an African-Brazilian dish that is exotic, creamy, hearty, delicious and full of calories! But the good thing is that it is easy to make and all the ingredients are easily found in...