I love so many things about Brazil, and I especially enjoy Brazilian food!
Being very health conscious is an extra plus, as Brazil's abundance of natural resources makes for a huge array of unique and delicious and VERY healthy fruits and vegetables of all kinds!
This section of our site will feature many different foods from Brazil and Brazilian Cuisine, and eventually will have a place where you can add your own recipes!
For now I'll start with the foods that I found most memorable, and very healthy, that you may want to try! These are some of my favorite foods From Brazil!
The Brazilian food I MOST miss is macaxeira, also known as Mandioca or manioc root, or cassava root. It is a delightful starchy tuberous root with a mild, delicate flavor that goes well with almost anything.
Incredibly versatile, it can be fried up, ground into flour, and even made into moist, delicious cakes ... and even a sugar free if you want!! :-)
I enjoyed it most often simply boiled, as a side dish with arroz e feijao (rice and beans). I spent many mornings peeling the macaxeira root with the other women to prepare it for lunch.
I've enjoyed browsing online for recipes that include Macaxeira!
Macaxeira Quiche - Quiche de Macaxeira
Macaxeira Cake - Bolo de Macaxeira
Another one, in English Cassava Cake
Another very interesting root vegetable, round and hairy looking, this had a more gelatinous, slippery consistency but was equally delicious. It is said to boost the immune system, purify the blood, reduce cholesterol and increase one's athletic endurance. No wonder I liked eating it!
Inhame is most often served as a cooked root vegetable, however can also be ground into flour, added to soups, fried, or made into cakes. Yum!!
Inhame is also known as Taro root and has also been used medicinally to prevent malaria, or applied raw as a poultice for boils or inflammation.
Another delightful Brazilian food that has become more popular and more accessible here in the U.S. is Stevia. I first encountered Stevia from a Brazilian friend who brought it with him, and I instantly fell in love with it.
Stevia is a calorie free herb that provides sweetening to almost anything you add it to. Unlike sugar, it is actually good for you! It does not affect your blood sugar, and is harmless to your teeth ... AND it has no calories!!
The downside to Stevia is that in its more natural state it has a slightly bitter aftertaste. That is easily remedied by purchasing refined stevia, or a brand that is known for tasting great.
When I was in Brazil it was easy to get at any health food store. Recently in the U.S. it has become more available, and now even some big name companies are starting to make it available to the mainstream.
Yerba Mate Tea
Ah, one of my favorites of all time. I first encountered yerba mate tea in the form of Mate Leo which was readily available in our community. It had a great toasted flavor and was mildly energizing without the jitters that you get from coffee.
Yerba mate is actually quite good for you, in moderation of course. It is loaded with antioxidants and chromium and other healthy ingredients. I find it to be quite healing!
When I returned to the U.S. I would get Mate Leao at the local Brazilian food store, however when I moved to a more rural area I lost track of where to get Mate tea, until it became popular among U.S. health food aficionados.
When such brands as Guyaki and Ecoteas Mate came along, I was a very happy customer and now I joyfully enjoy a cup of freshly brewed mate every day! I am still on the lookout for Mate Leao, and someday may order from an online Brazilian food store!
Castanhas do Para
Known in the U.S. as Brazil nuts, ironically, this Brazilian food is very difficult to find in Brazil! The good quality, whole Brazil nuts get imported, and what you find in Brazil is often the pieces. They are delicious and high in Selenium.
Arroz e Feijao
This simply means "rice and beans", and is very a simple staple of many Brazilian foods. I really love rice and beans, and although in some areas of Brazil where there wasn't much food to eat, it got a little boring after a while. I enjoyed the "arroz integral" best, which is brown rice.
I read somewhere that Brazil has the most number of fruits of any country in the world. I wouldn't be surprised if this were true, as this was one of the very memorable things about living in Brazil that I loved.
The bananas tasted incredible, very sweet and with a special flavor I've never tasted anywhere else ... not at all like the one's you get in the U.S. which are more "watered down" for lack of a better word.
Suco de Caju
Ah, this is a juice made from the cashew fruit! You may have heard of cashew nuts, but did you know that the brightly colored orange cashew fruit makes an awesome juice?! It can be somewhat astringent so you may need to add stevia or another sweetener to it.
If you do come across a cashew fruit, do not open it or handle the nut, as the oils inside can be extremely irritating or even toxic!
Suco de Manga
Another outstanding Brazilian fruit drink, the juice of the Mango, which needed no added sugar as the fruit was so ripe and juicy.