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A list of the essential Brazilian ingredients, I go through all the basics you need to start cooking Brazilian food from scratch! Brazilian food is packed full of delicious flavors like seasoned grilled meats, hearty, flavorful stews, and the most delicious condiments!
Brazilian cuisine has become synonymous with barbecued meats (Churrasco) in restaurants across the US. However, there is so much more to it.
Don’t get me wrong…those meats are delicious. But what about the other diverse flavors?
The rich, comforting, fresh and spicy flavors of Brazil. I love it.
Those hearty stews packed with beans and meat, those delicious salads made with hearts of palm, those treats fried in intensely flavored dende oil, and that oh-so-delicious chimichurri. These all have a place close to my heart.
Brazilian food is awesome guys, and I can’t wait to start sharing some amazing recipes with you in the coming weeks!
But first, let’s learn a little bit about Brazilian ingredients, and how they are used in cooking Brazilian food.
The Essential Ingredients for Cooking Brazilian Food
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Black beans are a staple in Brazilian cuisine. They are used in many soups and stews, as well as served with rice and grilled meat. If you’re motivated, you can use dried black beans for a better result. But if you’d like an easier, faster way, just buy canned black beans. Obviously, made from scratch will be better, but they also take a lot more time.
So we all know what limes are (hopefully by this point in our lives). I highly recommend using fresh lime juice for Brazilian cooking. The bottled lime juice does not have the same flavor as fresh limes. Lime juice is used as a marinade for meats, a garnish in soups and stews, and a key ingredient in chimichurri sauce.
Red Palm Oil (Dende Oil)
Extracted from the fruit of a palm tree, dende oil is a thick, dark oil used for many of the fried dishes in Brazil. It is also used as a flavoring agent in many other dishes. Because of it’s unique flavor, there really isn’t a good substitute. I have not been able to find it in the grocery store, so I get my dende oil on Amazon.
Coconut is used in many sweet Brazilian dishes such as a chocolate truffle-like candy, served with tapioca and often used in traditional seafood stews. Both fresh grated coconut and coconut milk are used in Brazilian cooking.
Brazilian dried meat, or carne seca, is salted, dried beef or other red meat. It is used in cooking some dishes, as well as served as a snack. I am in love with this stuff.
Guava paste is pureed and sweetened guava pulp, typically made with pectin. It is used often in pastries (like these Guava and Cream Cheese Pastries), but also in savory dishes using pork and chicken. It has a very sweet flavor (more sweet than the fresh fruit) and is similar to jam. The flavor is sometimes described as a mix between pear and strawberry.
Hearts of palm are often used in salads in Brazil, with a taste similar to an artichoke. Harvested from the hearts of palm trees, they are also packed full of nutrients.
Another staple of the Brazilian diet, rice is served with many dishes.
Now this one may seem odd to you. I know we use dried shrimp in many Chinese dishes, but Brazilian? YES! These dried shrimp add a great depth of flavor to so many dishes like meat marinades, Brazilian shrimp stew, and many other dishes.
Is Brazilian Food Spicy?
Brazilian cuisine can be spicy. Typically the actual dishes are not spicy, but the condiments served with those dishes can pack a lot of heat.
What is the Most Popular Type of Food in Brazil?
Feijoada is one of the most widely known dishes of Brazil and is often considered the national dish. It is a hearty black bean and pork stew, made with any available cut of pork (trotter, ears, belly, etc.). Rice and beans served with some type of meat is a typical meal in Brazil. Stews are quite popular, as are condiments such as chimichurri.
What is Brazilian BBQ Called?
Brazilian BBQ is known as Churrasco, which basically means grilled meat. Typically using cuts of beef, the grilled meat is served with condiments such as chimuchurri.
What are the Most Popular Brazilian Ingredients?
In addition to the grilled meats, some other popular Brazilian Ingredients follow:
- Cassava root (a popular carbohydrate served at many meals)
- Coffee – Brazil’s national beverage
- Black beans
What Kind of Fruits Grow in Brazil?
Due to it’s tropical nature, many tropical fruits grow in Brazil. They are known for the more widely known guavas, mangoes, papayas, bananas, and acai as well as the lesser known fruits such as passion fruit, jabuticaba, cupuacu, and guarana.
We are ready to start cooking!!
We love to learn about cooking different cuisines here! Get your pantry stocked with these other ingredients and let’s get cooking!