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Salpicão (Brazilian Chicken Salad)

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Salpicão is the name given to a typical chicken salad from Brazil; and just like a Waldorf salad in the United States, it may have some variations in the recipe, but the main ingredients remain the same. Chicken, apples, raisins and a mayonnaise based dressing are usually featured, but the best Salpicão that I ever had also has pineapple, lime juice, green apple and Media Crema. This recipe is extra moist and tasty because it is made with rotisserie chicken, and one of the “secrets” to achieve a good blend of flavors and great texture is to manually shred the chicken into really tiny pieces. The fuits must be cut into a really small dice. This “secret” was passed to me by the two ladies who have been making this recipe for the past 25 years: my mom and one of her best friends, Leila (I think Leila, who is my mom's comadre, started making it first and my mom quickly followed). Crunchy, slightly sweet and creamy, this salad is often found on the large salad bars at Brazilian steak houses. Serve on top of croissant, crusty bread or inside lettuce rolls. It makes for a great appetizer, or a light lunch. I hope you enjoy the ultimate Salpicão recipe!

Read more: Salpicão (Brazilian Chicken Salad)

Pastel with Meat and Cheese Filling (Pastelzinho de Carne com Queijo)

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Pastel is one of the most loved bar foods in Brazil. This small savory pastry is usually served inside small baskets and it is ordered by the dozen or half dozen; so friends gather around the bar table to munch on the Pastelzinhos (small Pastel) while chatting, drinking a cold beer and having a good time. The variety of fillings is endless, but one of the most popular is ground beef and cheese. Crunchy on the outside with a creamy, meaty filling, this typical Brazilian appetizer is often called “Empanada” in the US. Empanadas are usually baked, instead of fried; and the dough is different. But… I am cheating in this recipe and using store-bough empanada dough!!!  Store-bought dough is faster and easier to use (and it tastes great too, because if it didn’t I wouldn’t be here telling you to use it). Make sure you check my Hearts-of-Palm Pastel recipe if you want to make the authentic version with home-made dough. Enjoy this delightful appetizer with a cold beer!

Read more: Pastel with Meat and Cheese Filling (Pastelzinho de Carne com Queijo)

Shrimp and Yuca Bowl (Escondidinho de Camarão)

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When I participated in the ABC show “The Taste” I had the honor to serve this traditional Brazilian recipe to four amazing culinary talents: Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lafebvre and Brian Malarkey. After trying the “bite” I served, they gave me great intake on ways to improve the flavors and texture of my recipe (especially Ludo). I was very appreciative and certainly took their advice seriously. So this is my ultimate version of this classic Brazilian appetizer, to which I added some extra spices and crunchy textures. Enjoy with a caipirinha, just like the Brazilians!

Read more: Shrimp and Yuca Bowl (Escondidinho de Camarão)

Acarajé – Black-Eyed Pea Fritters from Bahia, Brazil

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Acarajé is a traditional street food in Brazil, it is especially popular in the state of Bahia. This fritter is light in texture and bold in flavor: the red palm oil (where it is deep-fried) and the unique ingredients in the filling make the acarajé extremely distinctive. This is a little piece of some of the best things that Brazil has to offer! If you have been to Bahia, you know exactly what I am talking about. Enjoy!

Read more: Acarajé – Black-Eyed Pea Fritters from Bahia, Brazil

Traditional Brazilian Cheese Balls (Pao-de-Queijo Mineiro)

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This is the traditional recipe for Brazilian cheese bread (or cheese ball). It is a staple from the state of Minas Gerais and, just like my other cheese bread recipe, it is a favorite among kids (and adults)! Great for breakfast, as a snack or with any main course. Eat warm, just right off the oven. Cheesy, fluffy and delicious!

Read more: Traditional Brazilian Cheese Balls (Pao-de-Queijo Mineiro)

Creamy Hearts of Palm Soup

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Hearts-of-palm add a very delicate and distinctive flavor to this traditional Brazilian recipe. My version has cream and Parmesan cheese for a velvety and nutty finish. Enjoy!

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Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão-de-queijo)

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Cheese bread is a Brazilian staple! Gooey and fluffy at the same time (hard to believe possible, right?) this typical snack is a crowd pleaser: kids and adults love it! Many different versions are available, this one is really easy (the batter is mixed in the blender!) and most ingredients are widely available in the US – there is not a substitute for tapioca starch, sorry!  Serve warm, right off the oven. I dare you to have only one!

Read more: Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão-de-queijo)

Chicken and Asparagus Mini-Pies (Empadinhas de Frango com Aspargos)

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This creamy and crumbly savory mini-pie is a great appetizer for parties. The dough melts in your mouth and the filling is so flavorful! Everyone will love!

Read more: Chicken and Asparagus Mini-Pies (Empadinhas de Frango com Aspargos)

Cod Croquettes (Bolinho de Bacalhau Fresco)

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This appetizer is very popular in Brazil and it goes very well with a cold beer and some hot sauce on the side.

Read more: Cod Croquettes (Bolinho de Bacalhau Fresco)

Pastel


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This is a very popular appetizer in Brazil and the possibilities for fillings are endless! Besides the hearts-of-palm, my favorites are the classics: mozzarella cheese with herbs, shrimp with Catupiry, and ground beef with black olives. But you can use your creativity and experiment!

Read more: Pastel

Shrimp and Yuca Gratin Appetizer (Escondidinho de Camarão)

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"Escondidinho" is bar food in Brazil and it can also be prepared with different kinds of meat like chicken, ground beef, and carne-seca - the Brazilian Beef Jerky.

Read more: Shrimp and Yuca Gratin Appetizer (Escondidinho de Camarão)

My Ultimate Shrimp in a Pumpkin (Camarão na Moranga)

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If you have been following my website for the past couple of years you may have noticed that this is the third recipe of Shrimp in a Pumpkin that I post. The reason for these many versions is that I keep making improvements to the same traditional Brazilian recipe and the results keep getting better and better… So this one is my ultimate!

If you compare this version to the other ones I have posted, you will notice that this recipe is simpler. It has less ingredients, but the flavors are bolder! I added hot peppers – which I found out to be very complementing of the sweetness of the pumpkin – and the true Brazilian cream cheese, called Catupiry (which we can buy on Amazon!! Yessssss!!!!).

Shrimp in a Pumpkin – or Camarão na Moranga, in Portuguese – is a traditional Brazilian recipe that can add a pretty cool twist to your dinner table this fall! When serving this goodness to your family and friends, make sure you scoop the pumpkin and the sauce together; then serve with simple jasmine rice. Offer Farofa as a side as well, if you want to make this meal even a bit more Brazilian!

Read more: My Ultimate Shrimp in a Pumpkin (Camarão na Moranga)

Lentil Soup with Kale (Sopa de Lentilhas com Couve)

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I feel like crying when I realize it is just mid-September, but I am already posting soup recipes… It has been a cold September here in Indiana and the soup crave has started. I love soups and having lots of it is definitely my favorite part of winter – the only pleasant part of winter in my opinion. Yes, I am a summer girl!

So to make those cold evenings cozier, I think this soup fits the bill just fine! It is hearty and simple, yet it is packed with tons of good-for-you ingredients.

Lentils and kale is a combination that has been used in Brazilian cuisine forever (beans and kale too). In fact, kale is a very widely used ingredient in Brazil since pretty much forever… I honestly think it is so funny how just recently (I would say maybe in the last 3 or 4 years?) kale has become a trendy ingredient in the US. It became a synonym of healthy food, hard-to-drink smoothies and green-anything culinary. But I am SO glad America discovered kale and I really hope people keep experimenting with this nutritious ingredient! So get warm and feel good with this easy-to-make soup.

Read more: Lentil Soup with Kale (Sopa de Lentilhas com Couve)

Cod Casserole with Hearts-of-Palm (Bacalhau Fresco com Palmito ao Molho Branco)

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In Brazil, the dishes that are traditionally served on Good Friday are the ones with some kind of fish, especially salt cod (bacalhau). I love salt cod!! My sister is an expert and she makes some amazing salt cod recipes for our family every year!! Salt cod is delicious, but a bit tricky to be prepared… It must be desalted in water overnight, and the water must be changed several times (people say at least 7 times). I have to confess that as much as I love salt cod, these days I prefer to substitute fresh cod in some of those traditional Brazilian recipes. 


This Cod Casserole with Hearts-of-Palm is a creamy and delicious recipe that I adapted with the use of fresh cod. This dish is easy to make and WAY faster to prepare, since I used fresh cod. Hearts-of-palm are a bit acidic and the white sauce balances that out, giving this dish a smooth and velvety texture. To give a bit of a fresh touch, I used scallions and cilantro to finish the white sauce, but Italian parsley would also taste incredible in this recipe. I hope you enjoy sharing this recipe with your family!

Read more: Cod Casserole with Hearts-of-Palm (Bacalhau Fresco com Palmito ao Molho Branco)

Panqueca de Carne Moida (Brazilian Crêpes with Meat Filling)

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Crêpes are really thin pancakes and they can be used in both savory and sweet recipes. I grew up eating them at home – my Mom makes the best ones! In fact, this is a very special recipe post because during the testing and photo shoot I had the chance to be hands-on in the kitchen with my Mom; and since she is the crêpes expert, this time I could take a step back and watch the process, photograph, and take some really good notes. We had a lot of fun! The whole family ended up getting involved: my husband, my 4-year-old, and even the baby ended up participating on the process.

Cooking with my Mom is an opportunity that I unfortunately do not have very often. She still lives in Brazil and I live in the US. But I just recently had my second baby boy so she flew to Indiana to spend some time with us. When baby William give us a little break, I often ask her to help me prepare some of the recipes I grew up eating.

My Mom’s “Brazilian Crêpes with Meat Filling” are delicious and fairly simple to make (the step-by-step with pictures is helpful!). You can make the crêpes in advance and store in the fridge for a couple of days. You can also be creative with filling: besides the meat and vegetables, I also love to use shredded chicken with corn. For the sweet lovers, my absolute favorite is dulce de leche. Once you have the crêpes ready, the possibilities are endless and SO GOOD!!!

Read more: Panqueca de Carne Moida (Brazilian Crêpes with Meat Filling)

Butternut Squash Quibebe with Chicken and Coconut Milk (Quibebe com Frango e Leite de Coco)

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I was so excited to see the very first few butternut squash of the season showing up at the grocery store! I love all squashes, but the winter ones are my favorites! In Brazil, the varieties that we call winter squashes can be found year round. Every year, I look forward to this season to share some of our delicious recipes. So my first Brazilian recipe of this season will be Quibebe. Don’t be intimidated by the strange name, Quibebe is really easy and quick to make (prep time and cooking time shouldn’t take longer then 25 to 30 minutes). Now, you are thinking: “So what is this”? Ok, Quibebe is a delicious butternut squash stew, usually cooked with some spices and, sometimes, herbs. It is a typical dish from Northeastern Brazil. It is a side dish, but sometimes it is prepared with some kind of meat (very commonly jerk meat) and it becomes a main course. In this recipe, I made a richer version with the addition of chicken breast, coconut milk and fresh herbs. It is to die for! Quibebe is usually served with rice, but you can leave the rice out and make it a Paleo main course. If you are doing it the Paleo way, also remove the dark brown sugar. I hope you try this easy and flavorful Brazilian dish!

Read more: Butternut Squash Quibebe with Chicken and Coconut Milk (Quibebe com Frango e Leite de Coco)

Chicken Parmigiana (Frango à Parmegiana)

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It might be surprising for most people, but Chicken Parmigiana is a well beloved recipe in Brazil! Just like most Brazilian dishes, it is usually served with rice and beans on the side (I guarantee it goes perfectly fine with rice and beans). In this recipe, I make a more traditional move and serve it over linguini. Delicious!!! My husband said it was the best Chicken Parmigiana he has ever had; and he is picky since I turned him into a culinary “critic”. The addition of ham and good quality cheeses (I used a mixture of half mozzarella and half Fontina) also made my version of Chicken Parmigiana extra flavorful. And just in case you were wondering: yes, it is Brazilian comfort food and I especially enjoy it right now, since I am pregnant! Your family will love this one!

Read more: Chicken Parmigiana (Frango à Parmegiana)

Chicken with Cream of Corn (Frango com Creme de Milho)

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My mom used to make this recipe and serve with slow roasted meat. I can’t remember the name of the cut of meat, but I can remember the delicious flavor of the Cream of Corn. Nutty, sweet, and creamy this recipe is Brazilian comfort food (I know… I know… one more recipe that is all about my pregnancy cravings). My favorite way to serve this cream is over perfectly baked, moist chicken breast. This recipe is an easy and flavorful way to take advantage of the sweet corn season, but frozen corn kernels could serve as a substitute if fresh is unavailable. The whole family will enjoy this healthy meal!

Read more: Chicken with Cream of Corn (Frango com Creme de Milho)

Madalena

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Comfort food, all I want is comfort food!!! I am expecting our second child right now, and all I crave are the meals that my mom used make for our family back on the days I lived in Brazil. Similar to the Shepherd’s Pie, Madalena is a traditional Brazilian recipe and it is usually served with rice and beans on the side. Comforting and creamy, this casserole can be made in advance and baked the next day. It reheats well and it tastes even better the next day, which makes for a very practical weeknight meal year-round. Enjoy!

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Shrimp in a Pumpkin (Camarão na Moranga)

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I am not an advocate for the use of microwave oven in cooking, so when one of my mom’s best friends, Leila, told me she had a delicious, EASY and much QUICKER version of Shrimp in a Pumpkin (Camarão na Moranga) that was mostly prepared in the microwave I was not convinced at first. But she was firm: “You have to try”. Since Leila is a great cook, I decided to give it a shot. Well, I am glad to say that she was right! The pulp of the pumpkin was moist and soft; and the cream cheese incorporated into the shrimp sauce perfectly. This classic Brazilian recipe is normally prepared in the conventional oven so take a look at my other version of Shrimp in a Pumpkin. The version made in the conventional oven has that delicious slightly roasted flavor; and the version made in the microwave is more moist and, of course, easier to make. Well, both recipes are slightly sweet, creamy and delicious. If you like spicier, use more jalapenos in the sauce, or remove them completely if you prefer it mild; or use a different kind of hot pepper to your preference. Enjoy!

Read more: Shrimp in a Pumpkin (Camarão na Moranga)

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