Brazilian food explained

Brazilian head chef at Chamas Churrascaria explains his country’s dishes

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Brazilian shrimp salad: this cold appetiser served at Chamas Churrascaria and Bar is a cold adaptation of an authentic Brazilian dish called vatapá. The shrimp is simmered briefly in coconut milk and a fragrant Brazilian vinaigrette, made with diced onion, bell pepper and coriander.

Chicken salpicão: ‘salpicão’ is the name given to a cold chicken salad that is very typical to Brazil. There are many variations of the recipe, and the chamas version is aimed at keeping this dish fairly light, since it is served ahead of the barbecue course.

Palm heart salad: known as ‘palmito’, this unique vegetable has long been a part of Brazil’s cuisine since it grows in abundance in the country’s tropical climate. The salad is lightly seasoned and dressed with olive oil.

Pão de queijo: literally meaning ‘cheese bread’, these traditional Brazilian little bites are made with cassava starch (a popular root vegetable in Latin America), and served warm, with a melting cheese centre.

Picanha: this cut of beef (rump steak) is popular in Brazil, and considered one of the most prized. The topmost layers of muscle are covered in a thick layer of fat, which is not removed before cooking. The picanha is shaped into a ‘C’ before grilling and the fat melts whilst cooking, adding to the flavour.

Farofa: this is stir-fried manioc flour (which comes from cassava), and is used as a condiment to add extra flavour and texture to grilled meats.

Feijoada: dubbed by some as Brazil’s national dish, feijoada is traditionally a black bean stew containing several cuts of meat (in some households, you might find the whole works in there, from nose to tail).

Brigadeiros: one of Brazil’s most popular sweets and arguably the nation’s answer to the chocolate truffle, these little chocolate balls are made with cocoa and condensed milk, and coated in chocolate sprinkles.

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