Special Brazilian Ingredients
abóbora Brazilian pumpkin. Abóbora is a member of the squash family.
If abóbora is not available, use acorn or butternut squash instead.bay leaves The dried leaves of the bay (also called laurel) tree
carne seca Cured and salted beef that has been dried. Carne seca must be soaked for at least eight hours before being used.cilantro an herb used fresh or dried as a flavoring and garnish cinnamon a spice made from the bark of a tree in the laurel family.
Cinnamon is available ground or in sticks.
dendê oil the strongly flavored oil from the dendê palm tree, native to Africa. Latin American, Caribbean, and African markets may carry dendê oil. If you can’t find dendê oil, you can substi tute peanut, vegetable, olive, or another cooking oil, but the taste will not be quite the same.
garlic an herb that grows in bulbs and has a distinctive flavor that is used in many dishes. Each bulb can be broken into sev eral sections called cloves. Most recipes use only one or two cloves. Before you chop a clove of garlic, remove its papery covering.
gingerroot a knobby, light brown root used to flavor food.
To use fresh gingerroot, slice off the amount called for, peel off the skin with a vegetable peeler, and grate the flesh. Freeze the rest of the root for future use. Fresh ginger has a very intense taste, so use it sparingly. (Do not substitute dried ground ginger in a recipe call ing for fresh ginger, as the taste is very different.)
hearts of palm the tender stems of certain palm trees. Hearts of palm are available in the canned food section of most grocery stores.
malagueta a chili, or hot pepper, favored by many Brazilian cooks.You may be able to find fresh or preserved malagueta at Latin American or Asian markets. If you have trouble finding it, you can substitute fresh poblano, Anaheim, jalapeño, or other hot peppers for this chili. If you do not eat spicy food very often, try a milder pepper, such as poblano or Anaheim, before moving on to hotter chilies.
manioc a tuber (root vegetable), similar to the potato. Also called cas sava or yucca, manioc can be baked, mashed, or fried. It is also made into flours and starches that are staples of Brazilian cooking. Manioc flour, called farinha de mandioca in Portuguese, is a relatively coarse meal made by drying and grinding the entire tuber. Manioc starch, called polvilho, is a finer powder that is made by a different process. Manioc starch and manioc flour cannot be substituted for one another. Latin American, Caribbean, and Asian markets often carry both products.
olive oil an oil made by pressing olives. It is used in cooking and for dressing salads.
rice flour a flour made from ground rice and commonly used in desserts
salt cod codfish that has been salted and dried to be preserved for long periods of time. Salt cod must be soaked before using. It can usually be found in the seafood or specialty section of grocery stores or at Latin American markets.