This is Brasil

By
Eve O'Sullivan
Added
02 August, 2016

From cheesy breakfast buns to slow-cooked black beans, we asked Cabana's Lizzy Barber to talk us through some quintessentially Brasilian dishes.


Pao de queijo



These puffy, mildly cheesy buns could be called the national snack of Brasil: they’re eaten for breakfast or a snack all over the country, and are particularly good with a super strong, super sweet coffee. The secret ingredient of these cheesy baked dough balls is cassava flour, ground from a rather ugly looking root vegetable which is at the heart of many Brasilian dishes, from farofa, a breadcrumb-like condiment which is used to give a crunch to dishes, or cassava fries, the Brasilian French fry. We serve ours with garlic butter for dipping, or, better yet, stuff them with shredded spicy chicken and deep fry for spicy malagueta chicken doughnuts.




Spicy malagueta chicken

Funnily enough, you won’t find Cabana’s hero dish on any menus in Brasil, and yet the essence of it is deeply Brasilian. Malagueta is a fiery Brasilian chilli, similar to the Portuguese piri-piri, and is found preserved in vinegar or cachaça in small bowls or bottles on every table in Brasil. When we first dreamed up Cabana we knew we wanted to create a dish using this sizzling chilli, and spent months creating our spicy malagueta sauce so it had just the right amount of sticky sweetness and chilli spice. It’s perfect for marinating chicken, as we do with this fantastic chicken dish, but we use the sauce with everything, from chips to ribs to prawns!


Black beans

The Batman to biro-biro rice’s Robin, black beans are a typical dish you’ll find all over Brasil, taken to the country with the Portuguese colonies. Dried beans are soaked overnight, then cooked low and slow with a mirepoix, stock, tomato puree and paprika. We serve these Rio beans as a side, and as the basis of feijoada, the famous Brasilian pork and black bean stew, or for something truly decadent our feijoada fries are Cabana’s take on dirty fries: sweet potato fries topped with feijoada and melted cheese. Messy, but super delicious!




Biro-biro rice

Like many South American countries, rice is a staple of Brasilian cuisine. We’ve had it in many different varieties, from coconut to broccoli, but the most ubiquitous is Biro-Biro, a dish of stir fried rice topped with crispy shallots. The dish is named after Antônio José da Silva Filho, who loved the dish so much they name it after him. It’s a favourite at Cabana with any of our freshly grilled skewers, but is particularly good with our chilli and cumin lamb.




Caipirinhas



No list of Brasilian recipes would be complete without the caiprinha: Brasil’s favourite cocktail. It’s made with cachaça, the Brasilian rum-like sugar cane spirit, lime, sugar and plenty of cracked ice. The classic version doesn’t stray from this, but it comes in myriad flavours both in Brasil and Cabana – just add fresh or pureed fruit to create your own version. At Cabana, we’ve also introduced the caipolé, hot off the beaches of Rio, a 'popsicle caripinha', which comes dunked with an ice lolly for stirring or slurping. Cheers!


Carnival! from the Cabana team is out now: the first definitive guide to throwing a Brasilian street party.


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