Restaurants in Brazil traditionally serve this dish only on Saturdays but for some reason Wednesday is feijoada day in Sao Paulo.
Feijoada is considered by many Brazilians to be the national dish. During the time of colonisation the Portuguese brought the stew of black beans and smoked beef and pork to Brazil and its other colonies. As a result feiojada, which means bean stew, is also present in Angola, Mozambique, Macau and Goa.
This dish is a carnivore’s delight as it includes pork shoulder, pork ribs, bacon, fresh sausage like chorizo, dried sausage, dried beef, as well as odds-and-ends like, tails, tongue, ears and trotters. It is seasoned with salt, pepper, onions, garlic, bay leaves, and olive oil and tomatoes, not to forgetting the essential black beans. The dish can be modified by using corned beef or beef jerky instead of dried beef. Also ears and such like may be omitted at the discretion of the chef.
Making this meal is a somewhat time consuming as the beans need to soak for eight hours and the stew itself needs four hours to cook.
The stew is served on a bed of white rice with collard greens and farofa (toasted manioc meal) on the side and oranges to garnish.
This seafood dish of shrimp and coconut milk is popular in the north of Brazil. It contains shrimp, ground peanuts, coconut milk, and dendê oil (palm oil) as well as onion, garlic, chili peppers, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.
The ancestor of this dish was brought to Brazil by slaves from Africa, in fact the name vatapá is a Yoruba meaning “spicy seafood paste.”
In its homeland of Salvador de Bahia, vatapá is served stuffed inside acaracajé – balls of peeled black-eye peas, fried in dendê oil.
Cashew nuts can be used instead of peanuts and as dendê oil is difficult to get hold of outside of Brazil, it can be substituted with ordinary oil and turmeric to give the puree its intense colour.
First the onion, shrimp, and garlic are blended together, then sautéed. Next the peanuts or cashews are added to the mixture while it simmers. Then the coconut milk is thrown in the mix.
Lead image: CC image courtesy of Helder Ribeiro on Flickr