Contrary to what many people think, peanut not a nut but a plant of the  pulse family and is related to carob and licorice. Peanut is native to South America and in the beginning of the 16th century the Portuguese sailors introduced it into the Philippines where it spread all over Asia. Brazil is one of the largest producers of peanuts in the world and they are a staple ingredient in Brazil being part of many of Brazil’s classic dishes. The iconic dish of the state of Bahia called vatapá is made with ground peanuts, cashew nuts, coconut milk, red palm oil (dendê). Peanuts are also used extensively to make sweets and desserts. Paçoca is a cylindrical shaped sweet that is made with finely ground peanuts and sugar and has a flavour similar to peanut butter but sweeter. The Brazilian peanut brittle called Pé-de-Moleque (translates as little boy’s foot) is a typical candy sold in the Saint John’s parties that happen all over the country during the month of June. Cajuzinho is a sweet made with peanuts and it is served in kid’s birthday parties.

Available from supermarkets.

List of Brazilian dishes of this website using peanuts:

‘Vatapa’ Bahia’s Nut Puree with Prawns

Peanut and Chocolate Bon-Bon (Cajuzinho)