I have been lucky enough to be raised in a bicultural family, with an English father and Brazilian mother. And having visited Brazil more times than I could remember, I see it as my second home. I miss a lot about Brazil, like the vibrant people, the hot weather, and possibly top of my list, the incredible food. Luckily I’ve noticed a surge in great Brazilian food being produced right here in the UK! Here are my tips on must tries when it comes to Brazilian cuisine.
Pronounced [chew-haas-kah-ree-uh]. and often referred to in Britain as a Rodizio, churrascaria roughly translates to a “barbecue-ery” aka, a grill or steak house. However, it is like no other steak house you will ever experience. Forget ordering a measly steak from a rather bland menu, in fact, forget the menu altogether! Churrascaria’s are much more of an experience.
When you arrive, you will first take a trip to the salad bar. I know what you’re thinking – SALAD? But this isn’t wholly accurate. Along with a selection of green items, you will also find a variety of tasty Brazilian treats here, such as coxinhas and feijoada (descriptions of these will come)
Once you are back at your table the fun begins. You will soon be inundated with staff offering you some meat off their impressive sticks. The options are endless, chicken wing, rump steak, picanha, lamb, sausage, and even chicken heart if you’re feeling adventurous! These restaurants are growing in popularity around Britain, I would recommend Rodizio Preto and get ready to try some of the tastiest meat you’ve ever had!
Salgadinho’s are a great option for any event. Roughly translated into English as “salties” or “savouries”, Salgadinho’s refers to a variety of tasty bites, ideal for an informal standing party. One of the most popular is a tasty hot pastry snack called pastels. These are so popular due to their versatility, you can fill these parcels with pretty much anything your heart desires, savoury or sweet! Classics are cheese and mincemeat, but most places have branched out to more extravagant fillings such as pepperoni, Nutella and Ferrero roche- YUM!
Another tasty salgadinho classic is a coxinha. Not so much choice in this one, as quite frankly they are amazing just the way they are. Beautifully flavoured shredded chicken, covered in tasty mashed potato, dipped in breadcrumbs and deep fried – simple, but I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t fall in love with this treat.
Home cooked classics
The type of meal that gran will serve on a Sunday lunch, most of these consist of rice, some form of beans, and of course meat. As you have possibly already noticed, Brazilians love their meat. I went through a brief vegetarian stage and this was a bizarre concept to my Brazilian relatives, to which the response was often, “okay, have some chicken instead.”
The most famous of these dishes is feijoada. A stew like dish, this is packed with flavour and filled with black beans, sun dried beef, pork ribs and sausage. Classically served with rice and farofa (flavoured cassava flour crumbs)
Another favourite is the prawn bobo; a creamy prawn curry made with coconut milk and cassava. The aromas that come from this dish when being cooked – you have to smell it to believe it! And once you do, you won’t be able to resist
With their simplicity yet fantastic depth of flavour, these home cooked classics have really taken off in the UK, and are included as a popular option in our caterers, Food by Dish’s food station menu.
So whether it’s trying out a new Rodizio restaurant in celebration of the World Cup, or being a bit more adventurous when it comes to selecting the menus for your next event, make sure this is the year you experiment with some delicious Brazilian cuisine!
This blog was written by Francesca Gorvin on the 7th of May 2014