Moqueca is one beloved dish in Brazilian cooking. Several ingredients are mandatory: coconut milk, dende oil, tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro. The main protein can be shrimp, fish, or both. It is spicy, luscious, quite filling, and always served over a simple white rice. I have already messed up with this classic before, but with this recipe I shall infuriate my fellow native Brazilians a second time.
MOQUECA-STYLE SHRIMP AND CHICKPEAS (from the Bewitching Kitchen)
1.5 pounds large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (14.5 oz)
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
1 shallot, finely diced
1 red or orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon harissa (or to taste)
1.5 cups crushed tomatoes with their juice
3/4 cup light coconut milk
fresh cilantro to taste
juice of half lemon
Heat the oil on a large sauce pan. Add the fennel, shallot and bell pepper, saute everything together seasoning with salt and pepper until translucent and very fragrant.
Add the crushed tomatoes, harissa, and chickpeas, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the shrimp and coconut milk, simmer gently until the shrimp is cooked, 5 minute or so. Add the cilantro, lemon juice and serve over white rice. If you like, add some hot sauce on the plate.
Comments: Moqueca originated in one of the hottest states of Brazil, Bahia. Even though it is a kind of stew, it is enjoyed the whole year, even at the height of the summer. I like to bring this up because those of us living in the Northern hemisphere are headed to very warm days. Don’t twist the nose to a nice serving of moqueca for that reason. This will please you no matter how hot it is outside.
I completely forgot to get fresh cilantro at the store, so I added a couple of Dorot frozen cilantro cubes together with the coconut milk/shrimp mixture. But don’t make this mistake, fresh cilantro not only looks great but it adds a lot more flavor, especially if added right before serving the meal.
I committed many sins with the recipe, but served it over white rice as any good Brazilian would. I hope this helps restore my reputation.
I have two favorite ways out of culinary trouble: rustic and fusion. I am calling this fusion cuisine. The filling is a very traditional example of Brazilian cooking (Torta de Frango e Palmito), and the crust – hot water pastry – originates from England. They were a good match, shaping a dish that is perfect for chilly evenings (sigh). Leftovers keep well for a few days. The pastry is so sturdy that it does not suffer from being re-heated. Obviously, this is very filling, a small piece will be enough as a satisfying meal. You could make it vegetarian by adding a bunch of roasted veggies in place of the chicken, but make sure to double the amount of hearts of palm in that case, you want it to be a prominent flavor.
BRAZILIAN CHICKEN AND HEARTS OF PALM PIE (from the Bewitching Kitchen)
equipment: 9-inch springform pan
for the pie crust:
400g all-purpose flour
150g bread flour
½ tsp fine salt
80g unsalted butter
for the filling: 3 chicken breasts, bone-in 2 tsp salt (divided)
1 tsp black pepper (divided)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
squeeze of lemon juice
1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained (about 15 oz)
250-300 g hearts of palm, drained and diced
1/2 to 1 cup frozen green peas
3 tablespoons flour
½ cup whole milk fresh parsley and cilantro, minced (to taste)
1/4 cup cream cheese
a few slices of fresh mozzarella (optional, see comments)
egg wash to brush the dough (1 egg + 1 tsp water, whisked well)
Make the filling. Poach the chicken breasts very gently in water seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. I like to bring the water to almost a boil, turn the heat off, and leave the chicken in the pan for 15 minutes. Keep in mind it will cook longer in the pie. When chicken is poached and cool enough to handle, shred the meat with your fingers or a couple of forks. Reserve.
Sautee the shallot in olive oil with a touch of salt and pepper in a large skillet until fragrant. Add the shredded chicken breast, tomatoes, hearts of palm pieces and heat for a couple of minutes, stirring. Dissolve the flour in the milk, whisking well to avoid lumps. Pour into the meat mixture and heat until it starts to thicken. Add the cream cheese, then the frozen peas and mix everything gently. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. Add the minced parsley and allow the mixture to cool completely before assembling the pie.
Make the pie dough. Place the flours, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Place the butter, lard and water in a small saucepan and heat until boiling. Allow to cool slightly, then pour onto the flour mixture and stir with a large wooden spoon. Once it is cool enough to handle with your bare hands, knead the mixture until smooth and elastic. Roll out about 2/3 of the dough and cover the bottom and sides of the springform pan, making sure to take the dough all the way to the top. Unless your pan is a true non-stick pan, you will be better off by slightly greasing it with butter.
Add the cool filling, top with a few slices of mozzarella, and cover the pie with the remaining dough, rolled out a little bigger than the diameter of the pan. Join the bottom and top dough to seal the pie. Brush the surface with egg wash and make two or three cuts on top to allow steam to be released during baking.
Heat the oven to 400 F. Bake the pie for 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 350F and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool over a rack for 20 minutes before opening the springform pan and serving the pie.
Comments:The combination of chicken, hearts of palm and green peas is a true classic in Brazilian cooking. Sometimes made as filling for appetizers called “empadinhas” – not to confuse with empanadas, another South American concoction but made with a different type of dough and usually much bigger. Empadinhas are tiny, one or at most two-bite delicacies. I should make some before too long, although they are quite a bit of work to prepare.
Now, confession time. The real Brazilian version of this pie takes a type of cream cheese that is not available in the US, called “requeijão”. I decided to use cream cheese, but completely forgot about it until I grabbed the cold filling and saw the package of cream cheese un-opened next to it. That is why I decided to add some mozzarella slices on top. I really like the way it turned out, so I included it in the recipe. Double cheese won’t hurt, I say go for it.
This was made back in July, so we enjoyed it with peak of the season tomatoes and cucumbers in a refreshing salad. For a winter meal, I suggest a fennel and orange salad, which will go perfectly with all the flavors in the pie.
Note to self: make empadinhas before the blog turns 10 years old!
For those who follow my blog for a while, it’s obvious that I love a new gadget. In the kitchen, in the lab, I am always excited to try something new. Then comes the flip side of that coin. The after-taste of guilt after brining a new toy home. “Did I really need that?” Next, I make solemn promises to never ever fall to temptation again (yeah, right). Lolita, our Philips air-fryer, was no exception, I went through intense mea culpa sessions every time I passed by the laundry room and saw her in all her shiny beauty sitting on the countertop. Ready and waiting. Guilty feelings are not fun, so I fight them with my best weapon: putting Lolita to work as often as possible. You know what? It seems to work. So here I am to share three guilt-removing dishes made in the air-fryer.
GOODIE #1 FRIED MANIOC ROOT, A BRAZILIAN CLASSIC
I’ve published quite a few years ago a full tutorial on how to make “mandioca frita.” You can read it here, so that you learn how to prepare it. Please, don’t ever try to fry the root without cooking it first.
Once you got your pieces of yucca root cooked, they can sit in the fridge for a few days, or even be frozen. To cook them in the air-fryer, simply coat them with a little olive oil, season with salt, and place in the fryer at 390F for 20 minutes or so. The time will vary depending on the size of your fries. Watch them as they start to get dark brown, then remove them and salt the pieces before enjoying them.
Just like potato fries and sweet potato fries, there will be a difference in texture, as the fried pieces will not be soaked in oil. That, of course, may turn off some traditionalists, but I find it a brilliant way to reduce the fat content still allowing us to enjoy this delicacy.
GOODIE #2 SWEET POTATO CHIPS
I’ve blogged about sweet potato chips made using the spiralizer. In this simpler version, I cut them by hand and omitted the soaking. The idea was to get them to the table as quickly as possible on a weeknight. I used a mixture of orange and white sweet potatoes, cut them more or less uniformly in 1/4 inch slices, coated them very lightly with salt and into the basket they went. Temperature was set to 390F, which is the highest setting the Philips will go to, and they took about 18 minutes to get brown, shaking the pan every once in a while. I must say I preferred the batch made with the spiralizer, but if you need to take a simpler, faster route, these are still pretty pretty pretty good (any Curb your Enthusiasm fans out there?).
GOODIE #3 PARSNIP FRIES
These turned out excellent! The only problem with them was the amount. I ended up with a smaller portion than anticipated. It so happened that when I was peeling the parsnips, the largest of all slipped from my hand and fell on the floor. A race took place between Sally and a certain dog that attends by the name of Bogey Quit That. Against all odds, since the cook happened to be closer to the fallen root, BQT won, and thought it was super fun to grab it and run around the house with it, as fast as his powerful legs would allow. There was a bit of profanity involved, some screaming, until he finally dropped the badly mangled veggie on the second floor of our home, near the bed in a guest bedroom. Into the trash it went. Serial killer, folks. As I mentioned many times, I must have been a serial killer in a past life. Eternal karma.
But, back to the recipe. Cut the parsnips as uniformly as possible. Not an easy thing to do, those are creatures shaped in exotic ways. Coat them with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and then add one to two teaspoons of cornmeal all over, shake gently. Any cornmeal that doesn’t stick, it’s ok, you just want a very subtle coating. Place them in the basket of the air-fryer, and set it to 360F. Cook for 10 minutes, increase the heat to 390F and cook a few more minutes, shaking the pan every once in a while. As they brown, remove them and adjust seasoning with salt if needed. Due to their shape, some bits will be more cooked than others. No big deal, it’s all good. They have this wonderful sharp taste, like fries that had a date with a lemon. Yeah, that’s about right. Love them.
We really love the air-fryer, and I have no regrets about buying it. It makes portions that are perfect for the two of us, it is not too noisy, it doesn’t smoke, it is super easy to clean, and it doesn’t require a lot of time to reach temperature. Two minutes at most, but I don’t even worry about that. I put everything inside, turn it on and add two minutes to the cooking time to compensate for the heating.
Of the three goodies, I think the parsnips were my favorite. I might try to make them in the spiralizer as chips, just for fun. We enjoyed them with a New Mexico Pork Chile, rice, and avocado slices. Simple, but very tasty dinner. Of course, a little more parsnip fries would have been nice… But life with BQT has its complexities…
Olympic games are going at full speed, these are two exciting weeks! So much to follow, we tend to stay up late trying to catch up with the events we enjoy the most: swimming, running, track and field, synchronized diving, gymnastics, volleyball, beach volleyball, soccer, and this time even golf is keeping us glued to the TV screen… Three words for you: Simone Bilesrocks.
In this post I share a full menu with Brazilian goodies published in previous years, but first I offer a new take on Shrimp Moqueca, adapted in honor of the games.
SALLY’S GOLDEN SHRIMP MOQUECA (from Bewitching Kitchen)
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or dendê oil, if available)
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Serrano pepper, minced
salt and pepper
roasted bell pepper, cut in large squares (preferably yellow)
2 cans (15 ounce) yellow tomatoes, drained, briefly processed in blender
a lot of cilantro (a lot)
about 1/2 cup coconut milk (full fat, please)
lemon juice to taste
hot sauce to taste
Squirt a little lemon juice all over the shrimp and reserve.
Heat the coconut oil in a large saute pan with a lid. Add the onions and cook until golden and fragrant. Add the Serrano pepper and roasted bell pepper, cook for a couple of minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic, cook for about 30 seconds, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Now pour the processed yellow tomatoes, season with salt, pepper, a dash or two of the hot sauce of your choice. Cover the pan and let it all simmer for about 10 minutes in very low heat.
Add the shrimp, simmer until cooked, just for a few minutes, then add coconut milk and cilantro to the pan, stirring until warm. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and more hot sauce to taste. If you’d like, sprinkle fresh lemon juice right before serving. Perfect over white rice.
If you don’t have canned yellow tomatoes, use red. I like to process them to have a smoother sauce. Yellow bell peppers would reinforce the golden color of the dish, but our store did not have any this time.
A BRAZILIAN MENU TO CELEBRATE THE OLYMPIC GAMES
Let’s get a trio of appetizers going, starting with Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread). This is a very easy recipe using a blender and a few minutes of your time. If you’ve never had Pão de Queijo, don’t blink. Make them right now! They were born gluten-free, which is an added bonus to many.
Top the meal with what my Dad used to call um cafezinho esperto (a smart coffee), and dream with Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals around the neck of your favorite athletes.
Let’s keep in mind that medals are great but the effort each athlete puts into being there to compete, that’s what impresses me the most. Imagine the personal ordeals they go through to finally be part of the Olympic team. Commitment, hard work, mental and physical struggles most of us could never face.
The best translation for this Brazilian recipe would be “Blender Pie.” First, let’s learn how to say it like a native. Repeat after me, three times:
Easy, right? I knew you could do it.
I have a sister in Brazil who is 16 years older than me. By the time I got into my teens she was already married, throwing parties, and pretty involved into cooking. One of the things she used to make was this blender pie, but her favorite filling was tuna with green peas, black olives and tomatoes. Being the mega picky girl I was, I never touched that kind, preferring instead more friendly (and austere) versions with ham and cheese, at most a touch of oregano. The basic process is always the same, a thick batter is made in the blender, half of it gets poured into a baking dish, the filling of choice scattered on top, and the rest of the batter spread all over. It is comfort food by default, or as we say in Portuguese, por definição. I won’t sugar coat the pill, it is a bit heavy. Accept it and move on. As an appetizer a couple of small squares will be enough for each guest. If you’d like to serve it as dinner with a salad on the side this full recipe feeds six hungry people.
TORTA DE LIQUIDIFICADOR (BLENDER PIE) (from the Bewitching Kitchen)
for the “dough”
1 cup oil (I used canola)
2 cups milk (full-fat)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano cheese
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
for the filling
shredded mozzarella cheese
(or any other filling you like to use)
Heat the oven to 375 F. Lightly grease or spray with oil a baking dish (9 x 13 or slightly smaller is fine).
Make the dough: add to a powerful blender all the ingredients, and blend for 5 minutes until completely smooth. Stop the blender and clean its sides a couple of times during the process.
Pour half of the batter in the prepared dish, add all ingredients for the filling on top, pour the rest of the batter, spreading gently with an offset spatula to enclose all the filling.
Bake for 45 minutes or until all puffed up and golden on top. Let it cool until just warm before cutting in slices. It can be prepared a couple of days in advance, to re-heat use a low oven, microwave is not recommended.
The beauty of this recipe is its versatility. You can pretty much use any filling you imagine: shredded barbecued chicken, ground beef with taco seasonings, roasted veggies, maybe some grilled shrimp, all doable. One popular version in Brazil uses corn and peas, green and yellow like the colors of the country. I do think cheese is pretty much mandatory in any kind of blender pie. If using shrimp or roasted veggies I suppose a bit of crumbled feta would be a nice option. No need to measure anything, just cover the extension of the baking dish with a hearty amount of filling.
I made this particular version for a reception we hosted. Keep in mind that in the span of two weeks we hosted three receptions for faculty and one pizza-party for our whole lab. After the pizza party we had some toppings leftover, so this Brazilian concoction of my past was a perfect choice to use it all up. But to make it more special, I prepared a batch of caramelized onions, following this recipe from my friend Elaine. She used a clever method that allows caramelization to be an almost hands-free process, by making them in a low oven. I added a smidgen of balsamic vinegar to the onions, together with salt, pepper and olive oil.
Here they are, in a before and after shot…
I intended to add black olives to the filling too, but found the bowl with pitted Kalamata staring at me right after shutting down the oven door. Not the first time I pull this type of trick on myself, I believe it won’t be the last. Black olives would have been wonderful… (sigh)
The little pie squares are irresistibly gooey due to all the cheese…
So there you have it, a Brazilian concoction from my teenage years finally featured in the Bewitching Kitchen. I hope I made my sister proud!
I grew up enjoying brigadeiros, probably the most popular food item in Brazilian birthdays and wedding celebrations. They are pretty much mandatory in such occasions. Then, last month we were at my niece Raquel’s home and when it was time for dessert she marched into the dining room with a humongous batch of brigadeiros sent by one of my cousins who could not join us that day. Brigadeiros, home-made with love! Most were the normal, chocolate type, but some were pretty wild, with a bright neon-pink color. “What are these?” The answer puzzled me: “These arebicho de pé.” A literal translation produces something definitely unappetizing. Bicho de pé isa type of flea-like creature that lives in tropical swamps. Walking barefoot in those places carries a high risk of having those creatures set territory in the delicate flesh between your toes. They happen to look a lot like strawberry seeds, therefore the name. With this explanation, I just proved to you that Brazilians have a twisted sense of humor… At any rate, I rather go with “strawberry brigadeiros.” They are addictive. It’s hard for me to decide if they are better than the traditional ones, but… they put up a decent fight for first prize. Easy to make and even easier to wolf down. You’ve been warned!
STRAWBERRY BRIGADEIROS (from the Bewitching Kitchen)
makes about 35 brigadeiros
2 cans of sweetened, condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 package of strawberry gelatin
1 tablespoon of strawberry liquor (optional)
pink granulated sugar, or other coating of your choice
Add the condensed milk and butter to a saucepan, preferably non-stick. Cook over medium-low heat until the butter melts. Add the strawberry gelatin and the strawberry liquor, if using.
Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and starts to release from the bottom of the pan. Keep it in low to medium-low heat, and stir often so that it doesn’t burn at the bottom of the pan. When it is thick, remove from heat and dump it over a half-sheet pan to cool faster. You can also simply transfer to a bowl and stick it in the fridge.
Pour about half a cup of granulated sugar on a small bowl. Reserve. When the brigadeiro mixture is cool, form little balls with a teaspoon, and roll on the palm of your hand. If you wet your hands with cold water it is easier to roll, and also helps the granulated sugar to adhere. Roll each ball on granulated sugar, and place in little paper cups.
Set the brigadeiros on a platter, and…
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: Wanna try to guess how to say Bicho de Pe’? Hint: the “CH” in Portuguese has a sound of “SH.” (try it then click on the sound file below to see how well you did)
Bicho de pé is actually a registered trademark for these adorable candies. They were first made in a patisserie called “Amor aos Pedaços” (Love by the Slice) that opened in São Paulo back in 1982. The person behind the store, Ivani Calarezi, made beautiful gourmet cakes and pies, and her customers could choose one, grab a slice (or several), and go. It was a huge hit. Today Amor aos Pedaços is a chain with 50 stores all over the country. From what I’m told, the quality is not compromised. Apparently Bicho de Pé was available since its opening, so it’s a bit surprising that I had never seen one until now. Better late than never! I got the recipe from my cousin Yvone and made it right away after coming back home. A Halloween party was the perfect occasion… Everyone loved them!
They are a little tangy, a little sweet, plenty delicious… You can use different gelatin flavors, raspberry, blueberry, to have a slightly different color and taste. You can coat with chocolate sprinkles or make a mixed batch with different coatings, whatever you decide to do, I know these will be a huge success. Kids will go crazy for them, adults will try to act with restraint. HA! Wish them luck with that… Everyone turns into a kid around a batch of brigadeiros…
We freeze well too! Make a big batch, stick us in the freezer,
and we’ll be ready to party whenever you are…
You know how some recipes adapt ingredients to make an overly heavy dish lighter and “healthier?” Maybe using cauliflower instead of potatoes, baking instead of frying? Well, this recipe is not it. This is authentic Brazilian cooking the way it was meant to be: substantial, loaded in carbs, and to make matters worse, breaded AND deep-fried. My advice? Enjoy it with a tropical smile, then go for a Spartan life-style for a couple of days. Totally worth it. This is the type of finger food that Brazilians grow up enjoying at parties and street markets. It originated in São Paulo, in the 19th century. It turns out that Imperial Princess Isabel had a son who loved to eat chicken, but he would only eat the thigh meat. One day, the cook ran out of chicken thighs and decided to shred the meat of chicken breasts, and hide it in a dough shaped as a drumstick. The boy loved it, and from then on coxinhas were a regular item in the Imperial kitchen. Imagine the thrill of that cook if he knew that 200 years later his creative recipe would be featured in a Bewitching Kitchen 6 thousand miles away!
Before getting in the gastronomic aspect of this delicacy, I must give you a little lesson on Brazilian Portuguese. I promise it won’t be too painful. Ready? Ok, in Portuguese you can turn almost any word into a diminutive form by adding the suffix “inho” or “inha” depending on the gender of the word. Masculine words get “inho“, feminine gets “inha“. A few examples:
Casa (house) –> Casinha (little house)
Gato (cat) –> Gatinho (kitten)
Chuva (rain) –> Chuvinha (very light rain)
Linda (beautiful) –> Lindinha (more appropriate to describe a young girl or baby)
So, that brings me to the title of this post, “coxinha de galinha.” Sounds like two diminutives put together, right? Not so fast, dear students! The first part is indeed a diminutive. It derives from “coxa” (thigh), so coxinha is a small thigh. Now, moving to the second part: galinha… that is not a diminutive per se, it is a real word that means chicken. The word for rooster is “galo.” So, in Portuguese a male rooster gets a beautiful word, but the female is defined by its diminutive form. How sexist is that?
All jokes aside, let’s make sure you can pronounce the words correctly. The “inha” component might be a bit tricky, be patient, listen carefully and repeat after me…
Sheila, a Brazilian graduate student from our department…
For the filling:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, finely minced
1 celery rib, finely minced
3 cups cooked (or rotisserie) chicken, finely shredded
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
A pinch of red pepper flakes
¼ cup cream cheese, softened
3 Tablespoons minced green onions
minced cilantro leaves to taste
For the dough:
3-1/3 cup chicken stock
A pinch of salt (enough to taste)
¼ teaspoon annatto or turmeric
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
For dredging and frying:
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs, whisked with a tablespoon of water
2-3 cups breadcrumbs
enough vegetable oil to fully immerse the coxinhas
Prepare the filling: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. In a large bowl, place the finely shredded chicken and stir in the cooked onion and celery mixture, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes , the cream cheese, green onions, and cilantro. Set aside. It can be made a couple of days in advance, keep refrigerated.
Prepare the coxinha dough: In a large, non-stick saucepan, place the chicken stock, salt, annatto or turmeric, and olive oil, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. When the stock is hot, add the sifted flour all at once while stirring very well. It will get more and more difficult to stir but continue to stir vigorously for about 1 minute or so until obtaining a uniformly lumpy dough.
Remove from heat and transfer the coxinha dough to an electric mixer fitted with a hook attachment. Knead dough at low-speed for about 5 minutes or until it becomes soft and smooth. Scrape dough from mixing bowl onto a well-floured surface with a dough scraper or spatula, and knead a little bit more by hand. Shape the coxinha dough into a flat disk and let rest for 10 minutes at room temperature.
Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough onto a well-floured surface until it is about ¼ to ⅛-inch thick. Using a 3-1/4-inch round cookie cutter, cut out disks of dough and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (a metal spatula can be useful to help pry the disks from the rolling surface). Aggregate the dough leftovers, re-roll, and cut out more disks. You should have between 30 and 35 disks.
Form the coxinhas: Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the chicken filling onto the center of each disk. Lightly oil your hands and shape the filled disks into drumsticks by folding the dough up and around the filling into a beggar’s purse shape, forming the neck of the coxinha between your encircled index finger and thumb, and gently press the filling down into the center as you close. Pinch and seal the edges. Pull the dough at the top out slightly so that it resembles a drumstick. Use a moist towel to clean your fingers off each time they touch the filling. Make sure the dough has no cracks; if it does crack, wet your fingers in water and pinch the dough together. Flatten the rounded bottom of the coxinhas very minimally with the palm of your hand (just enough that they will be able to rest upright), and placed shaped coxinhas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Dredge and fry the coxinhas: Prepare three separate bowls for the all-purpose flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs. Pass the fritters through each bowl (flour, egg whites, and then breadcrumbs), shaking off any excess. Pour enough vegetable oil into a frying machine or heavy-bottomed pot. Heat to 350 degrees F. Fry the fritters in batches. Please, do not place too many coxinhas or chicken fritters in at the same time because this will lower the temperature, making the fritters oily. Make sure to turn all sides while frying the fritters so that they will brown evenly. Transfer coxinhas or fritters to a baking sheet lined with a double sheet of paper towels to absorb any excess oil. To serve coxinhas warm, keep the finished batches in a warm oven until serving.
Comments: I won’t sugar coat the pill, this is a pretty involved culinary project. If you have a couple of friends to join in the fun it will be a lot easier. In that particular Sunday I had two friends over, Cindy, who has been a regular in our kitchen since the days we lived in Oklahoma, and Sheila who wanted to introduce Brazilian cuisine to her friends on campus. We made the full recipe, ending up with 33 coxinhas, more than enough for us to enjoy and share. Perfect!
Shaping takes some practice, but even if you don’t hit it perfectly it will taste great, it’s all about the crunchy outside, the soft dough, and the flavorful meat inside.
Nothing better than biting into one of these babies….. The turmeric gives the dough a characteristic yellow color, but you can definitely omit it. The same dough could be used to enclose all sorts of goodies, you can even opt for a vegetarian filling, but if you do, please don’t call them ‘veggie coxinhas,” and don’t worry about the shaping, go for a simple round or oblong fritter. I am so glad Sheila asked me to dive into this culinary adventure! I hope you enjoyed this post on a super traditional Brazilian delicacy. It was a great weekend, actually, because the day before Cindy and I made French macarons for the second time together. You will read all about it soon…