Bahian Cuisine

J.Cavalcanti Bahiana

Bahian food has the influence of Portuguese, African and Indian cultures with a majority of local exotic ingredients. It is characterized by the generous use of malagueta chili peppers and dende oil extracted from an African palm tree.

Must try to taste some typical dishes from Bahia - Brazil. You won't regret - they are simply delicious!!

Brazil Food - Northeast Brazil

The Northeast region of Brazil includes Sergipe, Alagoas, Piaui, Maranhao, Ceara, Pernambuco, Bahia, Paraiba, and Rio Grande do Norte. Popular dishes here are heavily influenced by the origins of Amerindian, African, and Portuguese cuisine.

Popular dishes:

Muqueca - literally translated means "stew" and is a seafood stew that has been made in Brazil for over 300 years now. It contains seafood, garlic and onions, olive oil, cilantro, tomato, peppers, coconut milk, dende oil and is cooked slowly. It is generally served with rice.

Acarajé is made from black eyed peas that are rolled into a ball and fried, and stuffed with condiments, salads and sauces. Some fillings contain shrimp, some are vegetarian. This dish is a populra street food in Brazil.

Vatapá - This mixture of bread, coconut milk, dried shrimp, peanuts, shrimp and dende oil is enjoyed in other regions of Brazil as well. In the Northeast it is enjoyed with acarajé.

Feijoada (black beans) is one of Brazil's national treasures. This is a dish that is meant to serve a group, and the preparation begins the night before. Several kinds of smoked meats, ribs, and beef jerky are simmered with the black beans. The meats are removed and served separately on a platter. The other traditional accompaniments are Brazilian-style rice, farofa (toasted manioc meal), hot pepper sauce, and orange wedges (to help with digestion).

Friday, June 3, 2011

Palm oil / Dende oil


     The oil palm is native to tropical Africa, from Sierra Leone in the west through the Democratic Republic of Congo in the east. It was domesticated in its native range, probably in Nigeria, and moved throughout tropical Africa by humans who practiced shifting agriculture at least 5000 years ago. European explorers discovered the palm in the late 1400's, and distributed it throughout the world during the slave trade period. In the early 1800s, the slave trade ended but British began trading with west Africans in ivory, lumber, and palm oil.  The oil palm was introduced to the Americas hundreds of years ago, where it became naturalized and associated with slave plantations, but did not become and industry of its own until the 1960s. The first plantations were established on Sumatra in 1911, and in 1917 in Malaysia. Oil palm plantations were established in tropical America and west Africa about this time, and in 2003, palm oil production equaled that of soybean, which had been the number one oil crop for many years.

For more info about the palm oil, click --> MODERN OIL PALM CULTIVATION

My husband Eric and I traveled to Cachoeira, Brazil  and watched how they made palm oil. It was amazing!

Palm oil seeds.

Palm oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit of oil palm.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Learn to cook and love it!

 First of all, I want to thank my dear mother in law Jane for teaching me how to cook Bahian dishes. I never really liked to cook because I did not find any dishes I liked so I did not have an enthusiasm to cook. Few years ago, I flew to Brazil for visiting my husband Eric and meeting his family. I’d admitted I thought Brazilian food was yucky and did not want to try, but nevertheless, I was in their country so I would not want to miss an opportunity of trying. When Jane made muqueca and it smelled so good. I really enjoyed it - the taste was refreshing and crisp, texture was nice and not too thick, spice level was perfect. I spend more quality time in the kitchen and cook. Now I dream of opening my own Brazilian restaurant. I want to show Brazilian cookery at its finest, and bringing with them dishes that I learned while living in Brazil.