Around the World in 80 Plates: Brazil for Feijoada and Pão de Queijo

Ola from Brazil! Today Captain Create is in Rio de Janeiro, the former capital of Brazil. In Colonial times, this coastal city was the hub of all commerce and activity because ocean travel was the only way to get in and out to go far away. (No airplanes in the 18th century!) As you can see, this city has a lot of access to the ocean, and there are often parties on the beach with lots of music and dancing.

Do you like music and dancing?

Brazilians often dance the Samba, which is a lot of stepping backwards and forwards with your knees bent while fast music plays. If you are at a dancing competition, there are rules to follow; if you are dancing at home (or at the beach) there are no rules! Just have fun! You can also have a grown up help you use the internet to find Samba lessons for kids and try it out!

Brazil used to be controlled by the Portuguese, and the national language in Brazil is still Portuguese, but there are a few small differences from what they speak in Portugal. Kind of like how the people in the American South sound different from people who grew up in the Mountain West. There are more languages than just Portuguese spoken in Brazil though. The (very large) population of Brazil speaks or signs approximately 228 languages, of which 217 are indigenous and 11 came with immigrants. Because there are so many different cultures living in the same place, the food in Brazil is very diverse and delicious.

Chef Teresa Corção, who owns the restaurant O Navegador in Rio de Janeiro, says that her favorite Brazilian food, Feijoada (black bean stew), has as many different recipes as there are Brazilians! The food she cooks in her restaurant is all either raised or grown in Brazil, and she works hard with other chefs and farmers to make sure that the unique foods of Brazil are going to be preserved because they are important to the people and history of Brazil.

She taught Captain Create how to make Feijoada, and a yummy snack to go with it, Pão de Queijo (Gluten-free cheese rolls!). Because some of the ingredients Chef Teresa uses aren’t as easy to find in the USA, Captain Create changed the Feijoada recipe a little bit, but that is okay! Remember there are as many recipes for feijoada as there are Brazilians!

Let’s get cooking!

Traditionally, the Feijoada starts from dry black beans, which need to be soaked overnight in plenty of cold water. Be sure to plan ahead, or check the notes at the end of the recipe to use canned beans. This is an easy recipe to adapt to what you like and have at home. Serving oranges along with this stew is traditional, and can even help your body absorb more iron from the stew!

Pão de Queijo is an easy and really yummy gluten free cheesy bread made from what the Brazilians call Manioc root. It grows wild and on farms in tropical regions, and it is very flavorless, but used in lots of South American and African countries. Lucky for us, it is sold in the US as Tapioca (use the powdery tapioca flour from the grains section of the store, not the pudding tapicoa pearls!)

Captain Create loves to see what you make, so share your family’s Feijoada and Pão de Queijo in the comments!

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