Brazilian - Cooking and Food Edit

Overview of Brazilian Cuisine History Edit

Brazilian cooking history and cultural background explains the main styles and aliments found in today’s Brazilian cuisine. One of the first aliments that were consumed in this country is the corn or the corn porridge, which was developed by the Native Indians, who also brought the cassava meals, sweet potatoes dishes and fish cooking styles. In older times, all meat dishes were smoked and dried before eating. When Portuguese colonized Brazil in the 16th century, coffee, pastries and dried fruit began to be a part of the Brazilian diet.

Nowadays, the Brazilian diet includes some elementary aliments, which are constantly found in the authentic Brazilian recipes: beans, coconut, dendi oil, codfish, rice, lemon, shrimp and manioc. Beans, locally called feijao, are found in a wide spectrum of colors and forms: black, brown, pink beans, chick peas and black-eyed peas. coconut (coco) is used in numerous soups, poultries, fish meals and desserts. Dendi oil (azeite de dendê) is a tropical extract of palm and colors the foods in an orange color. The codfish and the shrimp are usually consumed dried in appetizers, main courses and even puddings. The Brazilian style rice (arroz brasileiro or arroz simples) is flavored with garlic and black olives or tomatoes and most of the times served as sautéed. lemon (limão) is found in Brazil as green, very small and tart and the manioc (farofa) is usually sautéed in butter and served toasted.

The Brazilian cuisine is equally exotic and diverse as their culture. Despite being influenced by the South American and European cuisines alike, the Brazilian diet has managed to develop unique dishes and completely new cooking styles. Because of the size of the country and the diversity in climate, terrain and resources, several cuisines developed in different regions of Brazil.

Caruru do Par is a dish that is popular among the Brazilians from the North, although it’s starting to spread in other parts of the country. This dish is a combination of dried shrimp, okra, Onion, tomato, cilantro, and dendì oil. Seafood and shellfish is also very popular with the northeastern coastal regions of Brazil.colored rice!:!:

The Central and Central-Western regions have a diet that’s mainly based on fish from the important rivers and Beef and Pork from the vast ranches, along with the bounty harvested from the agricultural crops of manioc, corn, rice, and Soybean.

The south and southeastern region, is Brazil’s industrial heart and is home to some of the most exotic food recipes in the country’s cuisine. Feijoada Completa is one of these dishes and is the very popular in the region’s two big cities, Rio and Sao Paulo. The Feijoada Completa is a dish containing simmered beans and meat, although it can also contain rice, corn or ripened cheeses. Another tasty delicacy from these regions is the gaucho (cowboy), a sun dried meat grilled on wood fire or prepared as a churrasco (barbecue).

Cuisines of Brazil Edit

Map of Brazil

Map of Brazil - Click to enlarge

Brazil is divided into 5 major culinary areas. The Northern region, which includes Amazons, Amapa and Para, has a distinctive cuisine, represented by the fish diets (caruru do para – dried shrimp) and the Indian and Portuguese meals (because of the ancestors), which include: yams, peanuts and tropical fruits.

In the Northeast, the coast is very fertile, so sugarcane and cacao are very abundant. The Bahian cuisine of the Northeast includes vatapa and mqueca with palm oil, okra, black beans, farofa and paçoca. The tropical fruits are served a lot, too: mango, papaya, guava, orange, passion fruit and pineapple.

In the Central-West region, where Mato Grosso and Goias are found, the main dishes include hunting and fishing products, served with rice, manioc, Soybean and maize.

The Southeast is represented by the Pork, beans, maize and a wide variety of cheeses. Arroz e feijão (rice and beans) and tutu de feijão are all bean based meals consumed in this area.

In the south of Brazil churrasco (a kind of barbeque) is the typical dish, but the Italian and German influences are also predominant in this region: wheat-based diets, wine, leaf veggies and dairy products. Grilled meats, accompanied by potatoes garnishes are also frequent, even if in older times, manioc was the aliment which replaced the unavailable potatoes in this region.

Preparation Methods for Brazilian Cooking Edit

The preparation of different local stews, main courses and mixtures of spices and herbs requires time and technique. The technique refers to the cooking procedure: fresh or uncooked fruits, boiled veggies, mashed aliments, oil fried plants and meat, chopped greens and minced meat. These are usually done separately, as the same meal includes a number of 3 or more cooking techniques, due to all the mixtures and combinations between aliments. Boiling is the most common preparation method for rice or veggies, which are incorporated in main courses. Fresh vegetables and greens are eaten in the salads and need no pre-cooking. Still, marinated meals are quite often; especially considering the wide range of marinated, dried or smoked fish (marinated fish are even used in the stews). Purees are also common for many vegetables, like beans or local plants; this requires mashing the aliments after boiling them and then adding spices and flavors.

Special Equipment for Brazilian Cooking Edit

Brazilian pottery is considered a very high and old art, with background in the Amazon region, but the dishes vary in color and texture from region to region. In Minas Gerais, the traditional dishes are yellow, with human, animal and floral figures and in the states of Rio, the traditional pottery has religious images and scenes. Besides the rustic elements of pottery and ceramics, the technical instruments include condensate pots, orifice plates, flow elements and catch pots in different shapes and sizes. Small knifes are used to peel some of the soft fresh or boiled vegetables and some fruits, while chopping the meat is done with bigger knives. A grinder is also very much needed when cooking a Brazilian dish, as there are many spices and herbs that require grinding before incorporating them. Cutlery (fork and knife) is used by Brazilians for most of the dishes, including pizza and some sandwiches, which might seem uncommon to the Western and European culture, but this is practiced based on hygiene considerations.

Brazilian Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

There is no other country in the world more famous than Brazil, when it comes to carnivals. The Carnival (Carnaval) in Rio de Janeiro are lead by a king of parade and party and bring together millions of people from all around the world. Until the middle of the 19th century, the Brazilian carnival was celebrated by people in masks who were playing in the streets with flour and fragrant water. Besides food, the decor and ornaments are highly important at such fatuous events.

The Brazilian Easter is always represented by the paçoca, which is a dish made of a mixture of nuts and other ingredients that form a paste; this meal is given to all visitors on Easter Sunday.

The traditional Christmas Turkey is very succulent and served with manioc (starch made form cassava root with banana). A rich Christmas meal always includes the Turkey, but also Chicken, Ham, rice, salad, Pork, fresh and dried fruits, which are served with beer. A more economic Christmas dinner limits to Chicken and rice.

People in Brazilian Food Edit

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The Brazilian chefs mainly use fish and other seafood, rice and beans, and several specific condiments to prepare typical dishes. The national dish however, is the feijoada, a mixture of black beans, Pork, and farofa (manioc meal). Among the most used ingredients for a traditional Brazilian dish, the cooks use beans (feijão), which are probably the most representative aliments. Other elements include dried shrimp (camarão seco), dried, salted codfish (bacalhau), coconut flakes or coconut milk, dendê oil (azeite de dendê), rice, toasted manioc meal (farofa or farinha de mandioca) and lemon. The coastal chefs are specialized in seafood and fish dishes: caruru do par (shrimp and okra entree), shrimp stew, Bahian style, seafood frittata, shrimp stroganoff. Beef is used especially for the roast loin of Pork accompanied by toasted manioc. All these meals require high knowledge, skills and creativity, but also preciseness, qualities owned by the Brazilian cooks and famous chefs.

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