1 April 2018

Brazilian Beef and Cheese Enchiladas

This recipe was part of my Brazilian Food Week in November 2017. Turned out to be very yummy after all the elaborate process involved! Found this at Olivia's Cuisine. 

Serves 2 to 3


For the tortillas:
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cups flour
  • 1/2 cube beef bouillon
For the filling:
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small tomato, cubed
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup sliced green olives, chopped
  • Chopped parsley to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
For the sauce:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cube beef bouillon
  • Pinch of sugar if needed (I did not use it)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
For the assembling:
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Chopped parsley to decorate


To make the filling:
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic and onion until translucent.
  • Add the ground beef and cook until the meat has browned, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the tomato, the olives and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • In a cup, mix the flour and the milk and add it to the skillet along with the chopped parsley.
  • Let this mixture cook for 5 more minutes. Reserve.
To make the sauce:
  • In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and the beef bouillon and cook over medium/low heat for about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and reserve. (Use sugar here if needed)
To make the tortillas:
  • Put the milk, flour, beef bouillon and eggs in the blender and blend everything together until you have a very smooth batter, similar to pancake batter.
  • In a medium skillet (sprayed with non stick spray), preheated over medium high heat, add a ladle of the batter and tilt the skillet so the batter coats the whole surface. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes and turn to cook the other side. Reserve the cooked tortillas. The batter makes 3 or 4 tortillas.
To assemble the enchiladas:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cover each tortilla with cheese and then add the filling to 1/4 of the disc. Roll the tortilla, forming an enchilada, and place it, seam side down, in a baking dish. Continue until you've used all the tortillas or filling.
  • Pour the sauce over the enchiladas and grate the desired amount of Parmesan on top.
  • Bring it to the oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Garlic and Cilantro Soup with Poached Egg and Croutons

This Garlic and Cilantro Soup with Poached Eggs and Croutons is a diabetes-friendly version of a classic Portuguese-influenced Brazilian soup created by Brazilian chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz as part of the American Diabetes Challenge. I found this at The Latin Kitchen, which had recreated this diabetes friendly version. Makes an excellent and filling dinner or even lunch! Recipe taken from My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook. 

Serves 4

  • 2 cups whole wheat bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 to 3 cups packed fresh cilantro leaves (can be substituted with Parsley)


  • Preheat oven to 350˚F. Place the bread cubes in a bowl and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top. Season with pepper and toss. Toast in the oven until it just begins to get crunchy, about 15 minutes, mixing once during baking time. Remove from oven and reserve.
  • Prepare a bowl of iced water. Bring a pot of water to a simmer. Add the vinegar and mix well. Break each egg into a cup, and gently pour the egg from the bowl into the simmering water, coming as close as you can to the water. Poach the eggs until the whites are set but the yolks remain runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove each egg from the simmering water and transfer to the iced water bath for just a few minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Cover loosely with foil.
  • In a pot, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the garlic; cook over low heat until it just starts to get golden and develops a fragrance, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and stir slowly with a wooden spoon. Season with pepper. Add the cilantro leaves just when ready to serve.
  • Distribute the cubed bread and egg among each soup bowl, ladle the soup on top and serve.

31 March 2018

Canja (Brazilian Chicken and Rice Soup)

Found these authentic Brazilian recipes by Cynthia Presser by luck! This soup was the main course for my lunch during my Brazilian Food Week in November! Pretty filling and very yummy! As suggested this could literally lift you up while you are sick or down with a bad cold, etc.! Recipe here: http://www.cynthiapresser.com/brazilian-recipes-south-american-cuisine/brazilian-main-courses/379-canja-brazilian-chicken-and-rice-soup

Serves 4 to 5

  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 medium carrots, peeled and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken, cooked and finely shredded 
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 cups water (I used the stock from cooking chicken)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice 
  • 1/2 cup frozen or freshly cooked corn
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, finely chopped

  • Set a pan or pressure pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and allow to heat up. Add onions and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes.
  • Add shredded chicken and stir. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add water or chicken stock and allow it to come to a light boil. Stir in rice. 
  • If using pressure pan or cooker, you could pressure cook rice and continue to cook on low heat after releasing the pressure until the soup has thickened. 
  • If not using pressure pan or cooker, reduce heat to low and partially cover pot once the water returns to a light boil. Simmer over low heat for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until soup has thicken and the rice has nearly incorporated into broth.
  • Remove from heat. Fold in corn and scallions, add more salt if needed. Cover with lid and let it seat 30 minutes off the heat.
  • Serve warm, topped with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese (optional).

Chicken Parmigiana (Frango à Parmegiana)

One of the dishes I tried for my Brazilian Food Week in November 2017 and served over linguini as suggested in the recipe. Had to make only one substitution for Panko breadcrumbs as it is not available in our Indian markets. Did turn out very good - my nieces can vouch for that! Recipe here: http://www.cynthiapresser.com/recipe-blog/main-dishes/chicken/313-chicken-parmigiana-frango-a-parmegiana

Serves 4

  • 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 4 fillets
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs (I used 1/2 cup extra bread crumbs)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (I used fresh) 
  • 2 tablespoons basil, finely chopped
  • 4 slices ham
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used mozzarella - a combination of cheeses can be used)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan, shredded
Chicken Parmigiana

Served over a bed of linguini

  • Season chicken fillets with salt and pepper. Keep bread crumbs in a bowl. 
  • Dip fillets into egg, and then dredge in the bread crumbs mixture, letting excess drip off.
  • Place 2 tablespoons olive oil on a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When oil starts to shimmer, fry chicken fillets 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove from heat and transfer fillets to a baking dish.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Add remaining olive oil to the same pan. Add the onions and cook over moderate heat until soft, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Reduce heat to medium and add the tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Fold in basil.
  • Top chicken breasts with tomato sauce, ham, shredded cheese, and parmesan. Bake until chicken is cooked through and cheeses have melted, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve over a bed of linguini. 

Coxinhas (Brazilian Chicken croquettes)

I came upon this recipe in Olivia's Cuisine for my Brazilian Food week in November 2017. It is a wonderfully delicious snack which can be used as main dish for dinner too and which it was for me! Recipe here: http://www.oliviascuisine.com/the-world-cup-gourmet-series-brazil-coxinhas-chicken-croquettes/

Makes: 30 


For the Filling
  • 1.5 lbs chicken
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp poultry seasoning (Recipe below)
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 package of cream cheese (I used substitute - given below)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
For the Dough
  • 1 large potato
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cube of chicken bouillon
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Bowl of almost freezing water
  • Vegetable oil for frying

  • Pressure cook the chicken and potato with 1 chicken cube. After pressure is released, drain and reserve 2 1/2 cups broth for the dough.
  • Mash the potato and reserve.
  • Shred the chicken in a food processor or blender and reserve.
  • Add the broth to a pan with the mashed potato and butter. Bring to a boil and add the flour, little at a time, stirring constantly till it forms a dough. Turn off heat.
  • Knead the dough while it is still warm until smooth.
  • To make the filling, sauté the onions and garlic until translucent and the add the chicken, poultry seasoning and the parsley. Mix everything together and season with salt and pepper. Add the cream cheese and cook until the cream cheese is melted and everything is incorporated.
  • To make the coxinhas, take a little piece of the dough and form a ping pong sized ball. Flatten it into a disc, hollowing up the middle for the filling. 
  • Spoon a tablespoon of the filling into the middle of dough.
  • Press the dough closed around the filling, shaping it like a teardrop.
  • To coat the coxinhas with breadcrumbs, first wet one of your hands with cold water and pass it on the coxinha. Then, coat the coxinha with breadcrumbs. Set it aside in a baking sheet and continue to coat all the coxinhas.
  • Heat oil in a saucepan and fry them in batches till they are golden brown.
  • Place them on kitchen tissues and serve with hot sauce.

Recipe for Poultry Seasoning:
  • tsp ground sage
  • tsp ground thyme
  • tsp ground marjoram
  • 3/4 tsp ground rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • Mix thoroughly and store in airtight container
Substitute for cream cheese:
Strain yoghurt overnight in cheesecloth and use as substitute for cream cheese.

Vatapa (Brazilian Fish and Shrimp Stew with Coconut Milk)

I was looking for authentic Brazilian recipes for my Brazilian Food Week in November 2017 and came upon this very easy and yummy recipe in The Latin Kitchen by Aaron Sanchez. This seems to be a popular street food in Brazil made with fish fillets, shrimp and coconut milk. Recipe here: http://thelatinkitchen.com/r/recipe/vatapa-brazilian-shrimp-and-fish-coconut-stew

Serves 4


  • 1/2 cup dried shrimp
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, (medium or large), shelled and deveined
  • 1/4 lb sea bass fillet, cut into cubes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup almonds, blanched and finely chopped
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup fish stock
  • 1/8 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/8 cup olive oil, plus 1 tbsp 
Vatapa - Brazilian Fish and Shrimp Stew with Coconut Milk

Served with Brown Rice

  • Soak the dried shrimp in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain and puree in blender to a fine paste. Set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions, garlic, green chilli, cashews, almonds and dried shrimp paste for 10 minutes. Add the fish stock and coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the sea bass cubes and poach it in the sauce for about 12 minutes or until the fish becomes flaky.
  • Add the shrimp and cilantro and cook for another 4 minutes or until shrimp is cooked.
  • Drizzle with one tbsp olive oil and switch off. Serve hot with white or brown rice.

29 March 2018

Greek Pastichio (Pastitsio)

I wanted to do an authentic, traditional Pastitsio for my Greek Food week in October 2016. I was looking at a flood of recipes and was not sure if they were authentic when I suddenly came upon this video on my screen. I decided that this was original and authentic when the person in the video was very particular about how certain things were done to honour the Greek heritage. I was so taken up by the video that I visited her blog immediately and found so many other Greek dishes there too. I was so happy that I found this blog. Thank you, Didi, for the recipe and the blog!!!. Of course, as usual, I could not find some ingredients in my place and had to do some substitutions. But the end product was definitely out of the world and my two nieces could vouch for that. Recipe and video here: http://www.dishinwithdidi.com/2013/03/homemade-greek-pastichio-video.html

Serves 4

For the Sauce:
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I used 450 grams fresh tomatoes, pureed in a blender)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 stick cinnamon or 3/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
For the Bechamel (White Sauce):
  • 2 cups milk
  • 55 grams butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup Kefalotyri cheese (I used Parmesan)
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg 
For the Pasta:
  • 225 grams long macaroni (I used Penne Rigate)
  • 1/2 cup Kefalotyri (I used Parmesan)
For the Topping:
  • 1 tbsp Kefalotyri (I used Parmesan)
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan with a couple of pinches of salt.
  • In another large saucepan, add the ground beef and saute till completely browned. Add the onions and saute for 3 to 5 minutes till onions are soft and succulent. Add the pureed tomatoes, tomato paste and the cinnamon. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add the pasta now to the boiling water and allow to boil till al dente, about 15 minutes. Drain the pasta and keep it under running water to stop the cooking process. Drain well, add to a large bowl and sprinkle the cheese. Toss to mix well.
  • Take a baking pan and brush it with butter. Arrange the pasta, one next to the other facing one direction. Now add the beef mixture over the pasta.
  • Meanwhile, take another saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour and cook for a minute. Then add the milk, whisking all the time till the bechamel thickens, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat, add in the cheese, pepper, salt and nutmeg.
  • In a small bowl, ladle 2 to 3 spoonfuls of the hot bechamel. Add the beaten eggs to it. Once incorporated, add the tempered Bechamel to the bechamel in the saucepan. Whisk thoroughly to mix well. 
  • Pour the now tempered Bechamel sauce over the beef mixture in the baking pan, sprinkle with a topping of cheese and some nutmeg and bake in a preheated oven at 175 degree Celsius for about 55 minutes or till the edges are starting to become brown. 
  • Remove from the oven, let rest for about 20 minutes and serve.