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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!

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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!

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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)

cheese-bread-brazilian

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!

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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.

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Pastel


pastel-hearts-of-palm

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!

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Shrimp and Yuca Gratin Appetizer (Escondidinho de Camarão)

escondidinho-de-camarao-brazilian-appetizer

"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)