Monday, 18 April 2011

(Brazilian) food for thought

I’m currently looking to buy a flat and, after a few weeks of research, decided that Kensal Green in north west London is my preferred location. Interestingly, NW10 is also a popular part of the city with Brazilians (see last week’s blog post). I’d love to say that there was a spiritual, unconscious connection that led me to Kensal Green, but I’d be lying if I did. Price, space, a community feel and the fact that Alexandra Shulman reportedly lives nearby, were the driving forces. Anyway, when I was there last weekend flat-hunting, I popped into Kero Caffe, a Brazilian deli, café and general store.

The owner, Linda, says that despite a thriving Brazilian community in the area, about 70% of her customers are Brits; she says that the community as a whole is very integrated, with Brazilians mixing with Londoners, and vice versa.
Kero Caffe serves all the traditional Brazilian savoury snacks, popular in cafes in Brazil. And the most popular in Kero Caffe is the “coxinha”. So popular (and, in most cases, delicious) are these snacks in Brazil, that I thought I’d provide a glossary of terms below, together with a recipe.

Coxinha: deep fried chicken balls enclosed in flour and sometimes filled with cheese; meaning “little thigh”, a coxinha is shaped like, um, a little thigh.

Pastel de carne/queijo/palmito/camarão: the best translation for this is a pasty, but the pastry is much thinner and crispier than, say, a traditional Cornish pasty, and is deep fried. The fillings vary from meat, cheese, heart of palm and prawn. They are delicious.

Empadinha: these are my favourites. Another pasty based snack, empadinhas have a thicker pastry to a pastel and are either baked or friend. Chicken, heart of palm and praws are the traditional fillings, together with olives and tomato sauce.

Below is my mum’s recipe for empadinhas. I’m hungry.

Makes 10 empandinhas

For the pastry
560g of plain flour
350g butter or margarine
3 eggs
1 tsp of baking powder
3 tsp of cold water
Pinch of salt

For the filling
300g heart of palm
2 big tomatoes, chopped
70g chopped olives
1 tin of peas
2 tbsp of chopped onions
1 chopped garlic
120g of milk
2 tbsp of chopped parsley
1 tbsp of corn flour
A pinch of salt and pepper
3 tbsp of olive oil


Preheat the oven to 180C.

Save the egg white of one of the eggs. Combine the yolk and remaining whole eggs with the flour, butter/margarine, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Mix all ingredients with your hands for about 10 minutes or until it becomes dough while holding the bowl with the hand.
Add the cold water to the mixture to reach a dough-like consistency.
Pat dough into a ball and let it rest while you prepare the filling.

Fry the onions and garlic in the olive oil. Then add the remaining ingredients except the corn flour and the milk.
Cook them for about 8 minutes. In a separate dish, dilute the corn flour in the milk and pour it onto the filling mixture, stirring until it thickens.

Roll out the pastry and cut 10 circles large enough to line the bottom and sides of a standard 10-muffin tin. Line the tins with dough circles, pressing them into the bottom and sides of the tin.
Divide the filling between the 10 lined muffin tins.
Cut 10 circles to match the diameter of the muffin tins. Place the circles on top of the filling and pinch around the edges to seal them with the dough lining the tin. Seal them well so that the filling doesn't leak out during baking.
Brush the top of the pies with a beaten egg.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

1 comment:

  1. Hummm adorei! Moro na Holanda e fiquei com muita vontade de comer essas delícias!