If you’re just getting into Brazilian food or you just want to impress your fellow Brazilian, then there are a few things about their food you should know. Firstly, feijoada is their national dish and something they take great pride in. So what is feijoada? It’s a stew of black beans, pork and beef. Why does this matter to you? Well, because you will see it on menus everywhere and be offered some at any Brazilian themed party you attend. You will also be offered a pitying face when you tell your host that you cannot eat this beloved dish. But, perhaps most importantly, you should know about feijoada because there are several recipes out there these days for vegetarian or vegan feijoada. Okay, it’s not exactly the same. But it tastes great. I particularly love this one from Veggie Belly. And it doesn’t hurt that this site always has amazing photos that make your mouth water as you are following the recipes.
Secondly, you should probably know about a dish called farofa, an item primarily of toasted cassava flour (also knows as manioc or yucca flour). Farofa is commonly eaten with feijoada, although it can be eaten alongside any meal. Most often it is made vegetarian, though sometimes is made with bacon. There are also many variations of farofa. It can be made with ingredients such as banana, raisins, eggs, olives and dried fruits. Don’t be afraid to ask what exactly in the farofa in front of you. To see Cuca Brazuca make a simple, easy and plain farofa, check out the video.
The last dish I want to discuss here is maionese. It’s the Brazilian version of potato salad. But somehow I love this so much more than American potato salad. Slathered in mayonnaise, the sweetness of this salad comes from the corn (and apples in this case) and the acidity from lemon juice and/or red wine vinegar balances out all the creaminess. Add some tart hearts of palm to give this salad and extra punch. It’s a dish I look forward to when going out for Brazilian food. Recipe is given below.
What You Need:
3 Red Potatoes
1 apple (not traditional but they do it in some restaurants and I like it)
3 hearts of palm (optional)
1-1/ ½ cups of mayonnaise
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables* (corn, carrot and peas)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
What to Do:
Dice the potatoes and bring them to boil in salt water. Cook until tender but not mushy and then drain. In another pot, cover the frozen vegetables with water and bring to a boil. Drain the mixed vegetables after about 5 minutes of boiling.
While you are waiting for the potatoes and the frozen veggies to cook, slice the hearts of palm, dice the apples, and chop the onions. Add all of these to a large mixing bowl.
Add the potatoes and mixed vegetables to the mixing bowl as they are ready. While the potatoes are still warm, add 1 cup of the mayonnaise and the lemon juice/red wine vinegar. Mix it together until everything is well coated. You may add more mayonnaise if you need, but avoid adding too much. Add salt and pepper. Serve cold or at room temperature.
* You can also use fresh or can vegetables if you want. In some cases, if I have fresh carrots, I dice them and boil those along with the potatoes. In some cases, I have frozen peas already and just add some canned corn to the mix. Really, it’s whatever works for you.