Tag Archives: Brazilian

Pudim de leite condensado (Brazilian-style flan)

17 Jul

We’ve worked our way through an entire meal with the addition of the delicious rabbit dish that Alice shared here, so now who is interested in dessert?

It seems that most countries have a variation on this classic dessert – custard, creme caramel, flan, etc. This is the Brazilian version, which is very simple.  With only three ingredients, you might say that it’s as easy as 1-2-3. (Ok, there are actually four ingredients, but we won’t count the sugar for our purposes here)

First, whisk together the eggs until they are smooth and a little frothy

Then mix in a can of sweetened condensed milk

Then fill the can twice with milk

Let that sit for a few minutes while you make the caramel sauce. Letting it rest for a while will allow the bubbles in the custard mix to settle down a little before baking.

In a small frying pan, heat the sugar until it has all melted and is dark amber in color

Pour the melted sugar into the baking dish, making sure that the bottom of the pan is completely coated

Top it with the liquid custard

Put filled pan into a water bath – which is as simple as a baking sheet with about an inch of hot water in it.

Place onto middle rack of a preheated oven

Bake for one hour at 350 F

Let it cool for about 30 minutes, then turn it out onto a deep dish serving plate. The sauce is very runny and sticky, so be sure it doesn’t spill all over your counter by using a serving dish that is deep enough to catch it all.

Cut into wedges and enjoy!

Well, Alice, we’ve had our little bite of sweetness. What’s next??

Pudim de leite condensado

1 can of sweetened condensed milk
2 cans of milk (use the empty condensed milk can to measure)
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups of sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.

Whisk the eggs in a medium sized bowl until smooth, then add the sweetened condensed milk and mix together. Use the empty condensed milk can to measure two cans of milk into the mixture and combine well. Set aside.

In small frying pan, heat up sugar until it is all melted and amber in color. Pour into 9 inch round or tube baking dish, ensuring that the bottom is completely coated with the caramel.

Top with the liquid custard. Place the baking dish into large pan and add an inch of hot water to make a water bath, being careful not to let the water splash into the custard.  Slide it carefully onto the middle rack of the oven and let it bake for one hour. When done, remove it from the oven and the water bath and let it cool for about 30 minutes. Run a knife carefully around the edge of the pan to loosen the custard before turning it out onto a deep serving plate.

Chill before serving. Spoon a bit of the sauce over each piece.

Pão de Queijo (Brazilian cheese bread)

2 Mar

I have been enjoying our exploration of Brazilian food for the past few weeks. My Mom happened to have a few pounds of oxtail in her freezer but didn’t have a recipe for making any of the dishes we used to eat in Brazil, so Alice’s recipe is very timely. Thanks, Alice!

I decided to try my hand at one of my favorite snacks, pão de queijo, which translates to “cheese bread”. It’s made with tapioca flour or in Portuguese, povilho which has the consistency of cornstarch, sort of squeaky and super fine. It’s more like a powder than flour.

In Brazil, you can get sweet or sour povilho and it’s the sour povilho that is used for this delicious snack. Here in the United States you can buy tapioca flour (also known as tapioca starch) in the gluten-free areas of most grocery stores. This is the equivalent of povilho doce or the sweet flour and it will work in a pinch. You may have to look in specialty stores. In my local store, I was able to find the tapioca flour as well as a ready made mix.

I’ve attempted pão de queijo from scratch about three times in my life and have never been able to make them as well as I’d like. Of course, my Mom once made this cheese bread and forgot to add the cheese, so maybe it’s a genetic thing.

On this attempt, I adapted a recipe that I saw on the foodie photography blog What Katie Ate. It called for the addition of a boiled, mashed potato, which I’d never heard of before in this cheese bread. It had a good flavor, but my first batch was over baked and quite crunchy, rather than being a bit soft and gooey in the middle. When I baked my second batch, I followed the directions on the recipe (duh) and added a bowl of water to the oven to help keep the little treasures from drying out so much. And what do you know? It helped! That’ll teach me to skim over a recipe.

This is a fairly simple method. Boil the potato and mash it up so it’s smooth.

Measure all the ingredients into a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer if you have one, as it goes much faster that way. Combine everything until it becomes a smooth dough. It shouldn’t be too sticky or too dry. Add a teaspoon or two of milk if it seems too dry to hold together nicely.

Next, roll the dough into balls. I usually make them bite sized, but you can also make them into large bun sized balls and use them for sandwiches.

Bake them for 15-25 minutes, depending on the size you make them. Don’t forget to add an oven proof bowl filled with water to the oven before you start baking them.
Once they are lightly browned on the bottom, they are done.

I love to eat these cheese breads topped with vinaigrette (vee-nah-grechy) which is a sort of Brazilian fresh salsa made with vinegar, olive oil, chopped onions, tomatoes and green peppers. I know Alice can’t eat green peppers, so she’s allowed to leave them out. Something else green would be good in it instead, maybe celery or chopped cilantro leaves.

Chop the onions, green pepper and tomatoes to a fine chop, you don’t want large chunks of anything in this vinaigrette.

Mix together in a bowl with the olive oil and red wine vinegar, adding salt and pepper to taste. This, like most things I cook, is very adaptable to your preference. You can add other ingredients as variations if you want to be creative. Sometimes I add corn and black beans and use lime juice instead of the vinegar and eat it as a salad or a tortilla chip dip. Go crazy with this.

I use Arisco as my all purpose seasoning. It’s just salt, pepper, onion and garlic, but the combination is not something that is easily replicated. I use it for everything. It is wonderful in meat marinates, added to my black beans or to my balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing – the sky’s the limit. You can usually get it at Brazilian stores or latin markets. If you are fortunate enough to be able to find it, BUY SOME! You will thank me later.

When the little pão de queijo is done, cut one open, spoon the sauce in it and enjoy. You’ll be back for more.

I have found a couple of good pão de queijo mixes at the Brazilian store and the mix shown at the top of the page was at my local grocery store. The mixes are usually quite good, especially if you add fresh grated cheese to them. So in this case, I am going against everything I normally would do and am recommending using a mix. So if you can find one, use it with my blessing.

Pão de Queijo

4 cups (500 gr) tapioca flour (starch)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (250 gr) grated mozzarella cheese
½ cup (50 gr) grated parmesan
4 tablespoons oil
1 cup boiled mashed potato
4 tablespoons butter
1-3 teaspoons of milk, only if necessary

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place an oven safe bowl full of water on the top rack of the oven. This will help keep the rolls from drying out. Chop the potato and boil it in a medium saucepan of water. When it is soft, drain it and mash it with a fork until it is smooth.
Measure all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl, preferably in the bowl of an electric mixer if you have one. Combine the ingredients well until a soft dough has formed. If the dough seems too dry, add one teaspoon of milk and mix again. You can add up to three teaspoons of milk if necessary. The longer you mix it, the smoother the dough will be, so don’t skimp on the mixing.
Roll the dough into balls and place on a baking sheet. I rolled mine into the size of a golf ball, but you can go as large as the size of your fist. They won’t puff too much, so you can bake them fairly close together.
For the golf ball sized rolls, bake for 15 minutes, then check to see if the bottoms are light brown. For larger rolls, increase the baking time by 10-20 minutes. If you aren’t sure that they are done, pull one out and cut it open. Watch out for the hot steam – don’t burn yourself! If the outside is a little crispy and the inside is slightly gooey, then they are done.
Cut open, top with the vinaigrette and enjoy.


½ medium onion, chopped finely
2 tomatoes, chopped finely
½ green pepper, chopped finely
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper or Arisco to taste

Combine all the ingredients and taste. Adjust the vinegar or salt and pepper quantities to taste.
Serve on pão de queijo. This is also good atop grilled fish, as an accompaniment to beans and rice, a dip for tortilla chips or… just use your imagination. And please let me know how you’ve adapted it.

Black Beans and Rice with Oven Fried Chicken

18 Feb

Alice’s last post looked utterly delicious! Black beans have so much flavor and make for such a satisfying meal.

I grew up eating beans every day. They are high in protein and in fiber. In other words, they are good for you. They are also very inexpensive, especially if you buy the dried beans and cook them yourself.

The Brazilian beans I ate every day were a little different from these, but I took inspiration from them. Our beans were brown and not quite as flavorful as black beans. We didn’t typically add vegetables to them either. It was just onions, garlic and maybe the odd bit of meat for flavoring. The black beans were eaten more frequently in Curitiba and areas near the southern coast of Brazil, where we vacationed each year. They were also used for feijoada, the national Brazilian dish of beans and many different sorts of meats cooked together into an amazingly rich goodness. This combination of things meant that to me, black beans were special occasion food. I enjoy eating them all the time now, without having to wait for a special occasion.

To make these every day special occasion beans, first chop up some onion and tomatoes, press garlic through a garlic press and mix it with some salt until it becomes a paste. In a large skillet, over medium high heat, drizzle enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan. Toss in the onions, let them saute until they are soft, add the garlic paste and let cook for about a minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook them until softened and starting to release a little of their juice, about five minutes.

Then toss in a can of rinsed, drained black beans,

stir well to combine, season with salt, fresh ground pepper and some cumin.

Use the empty bean can to fill with hot water and add that to the pan.

Let this cook until thickened, add a dash of hot sauce and serve over rice.

The rice starts off in much the same manner. Saute the onion in a heavy bottomed pan and once it has begun to soften, about five minutes, add the garlic paste and let that cook for a minute or two.

In the meantime, rinse your rice until the water runs clear, then drain it. When the onions and garlic are softened and have sufficiently scented your kitchen (remember to BREATHE in this heavenly aroma)

add the rice and stir it around in the pan. Let it combine with the onion mixture and even fry a bit.

After about five minutes of frying the rice,

pour in the boiling water.

You should use nearly double the amount of water as rice. Stir it well, making sure to scrape the rice off the edges of the pan. Taste the water to check the flavor, adjusting the salt to taste.

Let it boil for a minute or two, then turn the heat down to low and cover the pan. It should barely simmer for about 20 minutes. DO NOT stir the rice while it is cooking. You will end up with a glob of mush and will incur the wrath of every Brazilian grandmother there ever was! Check the pan after about 15 minutes, looking for little holes in the top of the cooked rice and take a taste to see if the rice is soft. You should poke a spoon down to the bottom of the pan to make sure the water has not all boiled off, as you don’t want to burn your rice. If the bottom of the pan is dry and the rice is still not done, add a little more boiling water and keep covered.

You will end up with a slightly crispier crust of rice at the bottom of the pan when you are done. This is a favorite treat among most rice eaters, at least in my family.

Top the rice with the beans and you’ve got yourself a delicious, satisfying, inexpensive meal.

I decided to add my Mom’s oven “fried” chicken to this meal. It is baked in the oven, but tastes crispy, as if it had been fried. You couldn’t ask for an easier way to prepare chicken.

Sprinkle the chicken with some salt and pepper.

Place a cup of flour in a zip lock bag or any clean plastic bag. Add the seasoning of your choice to the flour. Be generous with your spice.

I used a Cajun spice this time, along with some garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Drop the chicken in the bag of seasoned flour and shake until it’s completely coated.

Place it, skin side down, in a baking pan that has been drizzled with a little bit of oil and a couple of dabs of butter. Repeat for all the pieces. Pop the pan into a 375F degree oven and let it bake for about 20 minutes. Pull the pan out, flip over all the pieces and put it back into the oven for another 20 minutes. If it’s not brown and crispy enough for you yet, let it go another 10 minutes, then check again.

When the chicken is brown and crispy, pull out of the oven and serve. With the beans and rice, of course.

And I’m happy to report that the chicken is just as good eaten cold the next day. Yum!


1 can of black beans
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
A few shakes of Tabasco or other hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Crush garlic, then add to a small bowl with a teaspoon of salt and mix together with a spoon until it becomes a paste. Set aside.

Open can of beans (or cook them from dry), rinse beans and set aside.

In medium saucepan or large skillet, heat enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan. Saute the onion until soft, about five minutes. Then add the garlic paste and the green pepper, if using. Cook a minute or two longer, then add the tomato. Once the tomatoes have softened and begun to release their juice, about five minutes, pour the drained beans into the pan and mix in the cumin. Then fill the empty bean can with hot water and pour into the mixture. Bring to a simmer and let cook until the water has thickened a bit. Crush some of the beans with the back of your spoon to thicken as well. Add a few shakes of hot sauce and serve.

This is the vegetarian version. You can include bacon to the saute process or add a ham hock for a meaty smoky flavor. Chorizo or other smoked sausages add extra richness to the dish.


1 cup of long grain rice, rinsed and drained
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon of salt
1-2 tablespoons of oil
scant 2 cups of boiling water

Rinse rice until the water runs clear. Drain and set aside.

Chop onion.

Crush garlic, then mix in a small bowl with a teaspoon of salt until it becomes a paste. Set aside.

In a medium heavy bottomed pan, heat enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan. Add the onions and saute until soft, about five minutes, then add the garlic paste and cook a minute or two longer. The rice can be added and fried in the onion and garlic mixture for about five minutes. Pour boiling water in the pan, enough to cover the rice by about 1/2 an inch (2 cm), or a little less than two cups.

Stir it well, making sure to scrape the rice off the edges of the pan. Taste the water for proper seasoning to your taste.

Let it boil for a minute or two, then turn the heat down to low and cover the pan. Let it simmer on low without stirring for about 20 minutes. Check the pan after about 15 minutes, look for little holes in the top of the cooked rice and take a little taste to see if it’s soft. Also, poke a spoon down to the bottom of the pan to make sure the water has not all boiled off, as you don’t want to burn your rice. If the bottom of the pan is dry and the rice is still not done, add more boiling water to the pan and keep covered. Once the rice is softened, turn off the heat and let it sit, covered, for about 10 minutes before serving.

Bernice’s* Oven “Fried” Chicken

4 chicken breasts, skin on and bone in, or use whatever pieces you prefer
1 cup white flour
2 tablespoons powdered seasoning. I used Cajun, but you can use Jerk seasoning, a combination of onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper, Mrs Dash or any other premixed seasoning
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Salt and pepper the chicken. Place the flour and seasonings of your choice in a plastic bag, mix well. Drop the chicken in the bag of seasoned flour and shake to coat.

Place all the chicken pieces skin side down in a baking pan drizzled with some oil and some dabs of butter. Bake for 20 minutes, pull out and turn the chicken pieces over and return to oven for another 20 minutes, or until it is as crispy as you prefer. Eat.

*Bernice is my Mom

Hey Alice. Are you enjoying this tour of South America? What do you have for us now?

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