Beans that can be found in Brazil (2015) by Alexandre SchneiderInstituto Brasil a Gosto
Manuel Querino, Camara Cascudo and Raul Lody are three of the most renowned authors who wrote about products introduced by the Africans in Brazil. It is their knowledge, mixed with the research carried out by chef Ana Luiza Trajano for the book Misture a Gosto, that is used here
Ingredients of acaraje (2018) by Bel MoherdauiInstituto Brasil a Gosto
"It was the African who introduced the scented oil, dried shrimp, chilli pepper, coconut milk and other elements in the preparation of the various meals in Bahia", Manuel Querino, in A Arte Culinária na Bahia (1900)
1. Coconut milk
It is a versatile ingredient that can be added to many stews, rice dishes, deserts, porridges, ice creams, cakes and candies. Learn more about it here.
The extraction of the coconut milk
It is obtained from the fresh coconut pulp, which is processed with a little hot water, then squeezed and strained.
In his book Kitutu: Histórias e Receitas da África na Formação das Cozinhas do Brasil, Raul Lody states “Coconut (Cocos nucifera), already called Indian coconut, becomes the culinary base for many sweet and savory recipes. (...)"
3. Coconut Oil
Lody continues: "Coconut oils, without a doubt, are found in a good part of our recipes, on our table, combining the East with an African path here transformed by Afro-descendant creation, still mixing with dendê oil, a product of different cultures in Africa"
4. Dried Shrimp
Small, salt-cured, dehydrated shrimp. The Bahian cuisine would hardly be the same without the presence of this shrimp, quintessential to a number of traditional recipes. Its pronounced flavor can also add interest to every-day dishes.
5. Malagueta Pepper
A kind of chilli pepper, fresh or preserved, the elongated fruit can be used both unripe, when it is green, or when it is very ripe and deep red.
6. Dendê oil
Traditional in Bahian and African-Brazilian preparations, it is extracted from a palm nut. In História da alimentação no Brasil, Câmara Cascudo states that its use “was passed along among slaves and the black servants cooking in the master’s residency, as an act of loyalty”
“With palm oil, yams (a plant of the Dioscorea genus), okra (Hibiscus esculentus) and other products 'from the coast' also arrive from Africa, such as cloths from the coast, whelks from the coast, straw from the coast, among many others who have had that name”, Lody
Chopped, the leaves impart a natural acidity to recipes and can be used instead of lime. The sepals that surround the fruit of this plant of the hibiscus family are dried and used to make tea.
Native to Africa, this vegetable has adapted very well to the Brazilian cuisine. Without it, the country would lose at least two traditional recipes: a flavorful chicken and okra stew from Minas Gerais cuisine, and Bahian Caruru, okra cooked with dried shrimp.
Although in appearance the plant may be similar to ginger, the yellow powder extracted from the dried and ground rhizomes, used as a condiment, is more associated, in Portuguese, with saffron, although there is no botanical link between the two species.
It is a green leafy vegetable with purplish veins, similar to African blue basil. Easy to cultivate anywhere in Brazil, this tropical herb is known by several names, both in Portuguese and in English − pigweed, Chinese spinach, red leaf amaranth, common tumbleweed.
12. Pigeon Pea
These beans have strong personality and need to be parboiled (and the water discarded) before being used in recipes, or they will become bitter.
Originally from Africa, but as linked to the Brazilian image as soccer, caipirinha, or feijoada, coffee arrived in Pará in 1727, via French Guyana, and then migrated to the Southeast region, where it adapted very well to the climate.
Fruit of a creeping plant of African origin, watermelon is a far relative of melons. One bite and the red, crunchy pulp releases its delicate aroma and sweet taste.
15. Helmeted Guinea Fowl
Originally from Africa, the bird was soon baptized, in Portuguese, with a name that denotes its origin: galinha-d'angola ("Angola chicken"). In many states of the Northeast, however, it is called capote.
Acaraje (2017) by Alexandre SchneiderInstituto Brasil a Gosto
Palm oil, beans, dried shrimp... and you can make acarajé
“Acarajé took to the streets when slavery still existed. It was one of the first street foods in Brazil, and an important source of income for women. It's history is more than 300 years old ”, says Eleonora Alves, a Doné, from the National Association of Baianas de Acarajé