If you’re tired of serving the same old same old, why not try a cuisine that’s different and a little more adventurous? Brazilian food is known for a distinct flavor and unique style that comes from a complex history of native peoples and colonialism, as well as a diverse immigrant population.
Angu is a traditional side dish served at meals in Southern Brazil. The dish is very similar to grits or polenta in terms of texture. While angu originally came from the native peoples of the area, recently more and more Brazilians are eating Italian-style polenta and calling it angu because of the number of Italian immigrants in the area. Be it Italian or traditional, angu is commonly served as a starchy side dish on tables across Southern Brazil.
- Bring 2 C water and 2 C chicken broth to a boil in a pot.
- Slowly add 1½ C ground yellow cornmeal. Reduce the heat to a simmer to keep from overcooking. Stir frequently, this dish will need your constant attention.
- For a creamy consistency, cook for about 25 minutes. If you’re trying for a thicker consistency, up the cook time to about 40 minutes.
- Stir in 2 tbs butter and serve.
Also called banana frita, these fried bananas are often served at any meal as a side dish despite their sweet disposition. In fact, Brazilians like to serve fried bananas with beans or a variety of other meats. Sometimes they substitute bananas for pineapples. The strange combination of fruit and beans may sound strange, but to any Brazilian, it’s a common and delicious dish. The fried bananas have a unique texture that must be experienced firsthand. A soft, creamy inside combined with a crispy outside is one of the things that makes fried bananas so popular. So what are you waiting for?
- Heat up oil in a frying pan to 350°F or melt ½ stick of butter until no longer foamy.
- Peel 3 bananas and cut them into thirds.
- Prep your breading station by setting aside two bowls: one with a beaten egg and one with ½ C breadcrumbs.
- Dredge your bananas first through the egg, then through the breadcrumbs.
- Add bananas to oil or butter and brown them on all sides.
- Remove bananas and drain them on paper towels. You can add salt or cinnamon sugar depending on your preference. Enjoy!
Pao De Queijo
What meal is complete without a nice side of carbs? These authentic cheese rolls are made with tapioca starch instead of your traditional flour to give them nice, chewy centers. The other notable ingredient in these is the grated cheese that adds a great flavor to an otherwise bland dinner roll. The cheese bread is so popular, dry mixes and even frozen varieties have been made available to Brazilians. The most authentic recipes call for cheese from Minas Gerais, where the rolls originated. However, any sort of hard cheese from cow’s milk will do fine. Also, one of the best things about this dish is that it’s gluten free. Coincidentally, if you don’t have time to make these yourself, and happen to live in Utah, you can visit Tushar Brazilian Express and pick these up frozen to bake at home, or order some nice and hot in the restaurant.
- begin by preheating your oven to 325°F.
- Take a pot or saucepan, combine the following ingredients and bring them to a boil: 2 C whole milk, ½ C vegetable oil, 8 tbs butter, pinch of salt.
- As soon as it begins to boil, add 4 C tapioca powder, then remove from heat. Stir in the powder. It’s important to do these steps in the right order or your rolls won’t turn out the best.
- Let your dough mixture cool a bit before adding the eggs, or else you’ll scramble them. You can stick it in the fridge to speed up the cooling, but don’t forget about it in there!
- After it’s cooled off a bit, stir in four eggs and 2 C of grated cheese. As mentioned earlier, any firm cow’s milk cheese will work. If you like, you can add another ½ C of grated cheddar.
- Stick dough in fridge to let it firm up for about 20 minutes.
- After the dough has firmed up, form it into little balls and place them on a cookie sheet. Bake them for about 40 minutes.
Emily Kaltman writes for Estancia Churrascaria, a churrasco-style Brazilian steakhouse in Austin, Texas. She enjoys eating too many carbs and writing about South American food.