Woke up this morning and did some cupboard cleaning. Opened one of my travel diaries and it landed on a page, where I had stapled an empty carton of 3 Corazon coffee from Brazil – the strongest coffee I had tried in the Minas region of Brazil. Memories of Brazil flooded my mind… or should I say taste buds. The pangs started in the morning and has lasted all day. Today is definitely one of those days I wish I could indulge in some Comida Ultima (Ultimate Food in Portuguese).
Tough luck! Except for Agua de Coco (Coconut Water), Bandra (though a lovely ex-Portuguese colony) has no little nook serving anything close to Brazilian food. Anyway, here I am, revisiting all the good ole pictures of my favourite food from Brazil and wishing Cindrella’s Fairy God Mother would convert a pumpkin into a Brazilian buffet in my house.
What I want in the morning – Cafezinho. Not just any coffee. I want Brazilian coffee. And Cafezinho means little coffee, like Ronaldinho means little Ronaldo. Get the drift.
A perfect breakfast would be – Pao de queijo (Bread with cheese) and Coxinha (almost like an Indian Samosa) stuffed with chicken. Top it off with a Bolo Chocolat (Chocolate cake) and it would be incredible.
For a super rich lunch, nothing beats a traditional Brazilian meal. Check out the spread that we had at Cafe Edgar, in Rio de Janeiro. Our friends Ronaldo and Renata introduced us to the thoroughfare – Arroz (Rice), Feijoada (Beans cooked with lots of meat), Farofa (That’s Mandoica fruit powdered and panfried) and the green vegetable which almost tastes like Spring Onion meets Seaweed. If you don’t want Feijoada (with meat), you can ask for Feijao (Just beans). Then, you will be served something very close to Rajma Chawal (Indian rice and beans).
If you are the snacking type, the option available are plenty. The only thing you have to worry about is your jeans not fitting you the next morning. So, I’ll recommend 3 unhealthy snacks and suggest you do 30 sit ups to go with it.
Unhealthy snack No 1 – Deep fried Pasteis are my favourite. They are super size flat spring rolls that you can get stuffed with anything raging from Prawns to Cheese.
Not so unhealthy snack No 2 – Acaraje. If you are anywhere near Bahia, nothing beats an Acaraje. Served in street stalls by traditional Bahian women, this is 4 times more complex than the Mumbai Vada Pav. With a stuffing containing all things ranging from Onion, Okra, Shrimp, it is something you just have to try. Describing what Acaraje tastes like is practically impossible.
Partially unhealthy snack No 3 – Tapioca. The third snack that I love is Tapioca, widely available in Copacabana beach stalls. Made with Mandioca flour, like a pancake, it is stuffed with cheese, or meat or even chocolate. (That is why I called it partially unhealthy).
And finally, my favourite dinner options.
If I am in the mood for seafood, my first pick would be Casquinha du siri (Crabs deshelled, minced and mixed with this delicious gravy and served to you in a shell) and Moqueca (Seafood stew). Tried the Casquinha dish in this little coastal town of Vitoria and Moqueca in the North-Eastern region of Bahia.
The one other dinner option that stands out is Frango Molho Pardo (Chicken cooked in its own blood). Gruesome right. When you eat it, you won’t think that. That chicken sacrificed its life for you and the least you can do it is savour it and eat it with all the love. The fried Okra on the side is to keep the Vegetarians happy. If there is one restaurant in all of Brazil I would pick to eat this meal, it would have to be this place in Belo Horizonte (something called Maria’s kitchen).
And finally, if you think you got your dose of rich food, here is the best natural dessert you can eat – Acai. Frozen pulp dessert made out of the anti-oxidant fruit from the Amazon, this is something you cannot get anywhere outside Brazil.
Don’t be surprised with the sudden healthy recommendation. Call it acquired taste. Call it addiction. Call it whatever. Acai was the preferred dessert to the end of the day.
And it did not take very long for Acai to become my most preferred breakfast or evening snack….. Starting and ending the day with Acai, I had returned from Brazil healthier than ever. Somehow, the Pasteis and the Acaraje and the Coxinhas disappeared amidst all the Acai.
After this mouth watering post, I’m just hoping you bought your food ticket to Brazil. If you want to burp, leaving a comment may not be a bad idea.