The cuisine of a nation is determined largely by the societies, customs and traditions within that culture as well as by accessibility and availability to certain foods and ingredients.
Because Brazil is such a melting pot of colours, languages and customs, its cuisine is similarly varied. In addition, the various types of dishes and ingredients used depend on the geographical location within Brazil.
In general, root vegetables are commonly used. Fruits grow well in the tropical and sub-tropical conditions and are also, therefore, used extensively, even in savoury cooking. Mangos, papayas (also known as paw paws), guavas, granadillas and pineapples are all firm favourites.
These make for delicious dishes, whether savoury or sweet. Many dishes use rice or beans as a staple or base ingredient, since these are widely available, filling and fairly nutritious. Common meats include beef, pork and different kinds of fish and seafood.
Breakfasts are often fruit-based and refreshing. In general, lunch is the main meal of the day and, therefore, the largest and most filling.
Appetisers refer to the starters of a meal. However, in Brazil, they also refer to the food commonly available from street vendors. Popular Brazilian appetisers include: • Acarajé - fried balls of shrimp, black-eyed peas and onions. • Bolinhos do Arroz – deep-friend balls made from a rice-based batter. • Empadinhas de Palmito – a bread or pastry stuffed with palm hearts. • Coxinha – chicken croquettes
Main courses are varied, filling and very tasty. They may include the likes of:
• Feijoada – black bean stew with smoked meats. This is a time-consuming dish and generally served to friends and family that are staying overnight.
• Vatapá – a shrimp and cashew nut dish.
• Pastel de Acelgas - swiss chard and chorizo sausage tart.
• Moqueca de Peixe – a fish stew with plenty of coconut flavouring.
• Cururu de Camarao – a gumbo (stew or soup) made from shrimp and okra.
• Pizza – the Brazilians have adopted pizza as one of their own unique foods, using a variety of toppings to enhance its flavour.
• Chancaca - Glazed salmon with pineapple salsa.
Breads and pastries are often used to enhance and bulk up the main course of the meal. Some of these traditional accompaniments include:
• Pao de Queijo - cheese bread.
• Farofa - toasted manioc meal.
• Couve a Mineira - garlicky collard greens
With the variety of fruit available in Brazil, the desserts are truly delicious. Some of these are:
• Banana Frusta Com Canella Angular - fried banana with cinnamon sugar.
• Bolo de Minho Carioca - Carioca cornflakes.
• Crème de Papaya - cream of papaya (made with ice cream).
• Passion fruit mousse cake
• Quindin – mini coconut flans.
Brazil boasts plenty of ethnic restaurants, which have introduced dishes like sushi to the locals. Gradually, such dishes and ingredients have infiltrated the homes of the locals, adding a modern dimension to their traditional dishes.
Here is a web site with many Brazilian Recipes: http://www.maria-brazil.org/