World famous cuisine
Brazilian food is recognised as being some of the best in the world. The country is a melting pot of various influences, from that of the original indigenous Indians to the Portuguese, Africa and Asia. This all comes together in cuisine that is vibrant, exciting and loaded with flavour. In this section, we explore how Brazilian cooking with Chillies has led to the brilliance of some recipes that have their home in this great country
Recipes for Spicy Brazilian dishes
The spiciest food In Brazil.
While there may be a perception that Brazilians like spicy food, as a general rule, this is not true. There are many regional preferences, with some parts of the country not eating much spicy food, but there is one notable exception. Bahia in North East Brazil is a region that loves its spicy cuisine. It leads the way in Brazilian cooking with Chillies
Bahian's cuisine is a fusion of native Indian. African and Portuguese cooking. This fusion started when the Portuguese colonised Brazil over 350 years ago. The native Indians had been eating Chillies for thousands of years before the Portuguese arrived in the country. Their cuisine included a wide variety of dishes flavoured with Chillies. The African slaves that the Portuguese brought with them found this to be highly agreeable. They too loved spicy food. It was the type of food they had eaten in their home countries in Africa.
It wasn’t long before the cooks of the day started taking inspiration from the different cooking styles. Portuguese influences were blended with Amerindian and African ideas. The result was the beginning of the highly flavourful Brazilian cooking with Chillies that we know today.
The Malagueta Chilli
The most loved Chilli in Brazil, the Malagueta, is extensively used in Bahian cooking. Specialities like Bobó de camarão (a seafood dish made with prawns, chillies, coconut milk, palm oil and puréed Cassava), Moqueca Baiana ( a spicy seafood dish made with fish, prawns, coconut milk, chillies, limes, tomatoes and other ingredients) and - Vatapá ( a spicy seafood dip served with Acarajé) are made with Malagueta Chillies
They are also used (among many other dishes) to make Frango Churrasco and Môlho Malagueta (a hot sauce made with chopped Chillies, garlic and vinegar). This hot sauce can be found on virtually every restaurant table in the region.
Other Chillies used in Brazilian cooking include Pimeta pitanga (a starfish shaped Chilli) , Dedo de moça (young ladies finger Chilli) and the Pimenta-de-bode. ( goats pepper)
Where else can spicy food be found?
Spicy dishes are found to a lesser extent in Minas Gerais. Galinhada, for example, is a spicy chicken and rice dish much loved in the region. Other examples include Bambá de Couve ( Linguiça sausages, with onions, cornmeal, collard greens, garlic and Chilli flakes) and Vaca atolada ( beef ribs, with Chillies, garlic, onions, tomatoes, parsley, Cassava, and ground Colorau).
Brazil seems to follow the same trend as that found in Portugal. While the food is not generally spicy, it seems that a bottle of the Môlho Malagueta is not too far from hand to add spiciness to national favourites like Feijoada, Pernil and Churrasco.
Brazilian cooking with Chillies is definitely here to stay.