Brazilians sure know how to cook – with five Brazilian chefs working with us at Bespoke, I should know.
The first thing you think of is their big, bright, bold, extroverted flavours, like a culinary version of their carnivals – but there’s also real zing and lightness coming from their love of fresh herbs, and tropical fruits like acai and citrus, not to mention a deep, soulful and velvety richness – like in their national dish feijoada– a slow-cooked, sinfully dark black-bean and meat dish loved and served daily in kitchens across the country.
Ice-cold Brahma beers – a Brazilian BBQ essential
A culinary melting pot, Brazilian food is naturally eclectic and an amalgamation of settlers’ experimentation combined with the beguiling local tropical produce – with tell-tale Japanese, West African, Portuguese, Polish/European and Arabic influences laced throughout – and BBQ that’s rumoured to be better than Argentina’s.
And in the run up to the Rio Olympics, London’s interest in Brazilian food has reached fever pitch – with everyone from M&S to Sushisamba taking inspiration from the nation’s colourful and vibrant food identity.
So with the Rio Olympics having just kicked off and with one of our Brazilian head chefs Jorge Pimenta leading the way, here are our bespoke recipes for impressing your friends and barbecuing Brazilian style – from BBQ meats to classic sides to cassava chips and a refreshing marinated tuna dish – so get those Brahma beers on ice, pronto. Saúde!
A Brazilian BBQ
Black garlic aioli
The ideal weight for a whole picanha (rump cap) is between 1.3kg and 1.5kg
The “rump cap” is a triangular cut from the top of the rump region of the cow
We sourced our Brazilian sausages from a Brazilian butcher in Tottenham, but they are very similar to Italian sausages.
1.) Rub the beef with coarse sea salt. Leave for 30 minutes then cut the picanha into steaks (1.5 – 2cm thick).
2.) Light up the BBQ and when the coals have died down and it is giving off white heat put the steaks on the grill.
3.) Sear for five minutes and then move into a lower temperature zone and cook for three minutes for rare, five for medium-rare, eight for medium and for well-done leave them longer. If you have a cooking thermometer with a probe, you can go on temperature – up to 55C for rare, 60C-65C for medium and well-done over 65C. You want colour and crust on the steaks, and the fat should sizzle.
4.) Grill the sausages until done.
5.) Slice the picanha into thin strips.
6.) Serve the sliced picanha and sausages on a large board to share, with farofa, chimichurri and salsa as condiments on the side.
4 x cloves garlic, chopped
Coarse sea salt
170g x bacon in a piece, cut into diced roughly
Vegetable oil, if needed
240g x coarsely ground cassava flour
1 x tablespoon butter
1.) Crush the garlic and a few pinches of salt with the side of your knife until you form a paste,
2.) Place bacon in a frying pan over medium heat, and let it cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until fully rendered and lightly browned.
3.)Add a splash of vegetable oil if there isn’t enough fat to generously coat the pan. Turn heat down to medium-low, and cook the garlic until very aromatic.
4.) Add cassava flour, and cook, stirring and shaking the pan continuously until it’s a shade browner and a little crunchy, for 6-8 minutes.
5.) Turn off the heat and stir in butter. Add salt to taste.
1kg x cassava
Sunflower oil for deep-frying
1.) Cut off both ends of the cassava and then cut in half.
2.) Peel the skin and boil for 20-30 minutes until cooked through, then drain and cool.
3.) Cut into chips.
4.) Fry in hot oil (235C) for 15 minutes till crisp, then drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt.
5.) Serve with black garlic aioli.
Black Garlic Aioli
4-6 x small cloves of black garlic
2 x egg yolks, organic
1 x tsp Dijon mustard
285ml x extra virgin olive oil
285ml x olive oil
Lemon juice, to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1.) Crush the black garlic in a pestle and mortar.
2.) Place the egg yolks and mustard in the food processor and whisk together, then start to add your oils bit by bit – until it emulsifies.
3.) Once you’ve blended in a quarter of the oil, you can start to add the rest in larger amounts.
4.) When all the oil is amalgamated, add the garlic and lemon juice.
5.) Season to taste with salt, pepper and a bit more lemon juice, if needed.
2 x bunches flat-leaf parsley, washed, picked and finely chopped
I x bunch coriander, washed, picked and finely chopped
2 x garlic cloves, peeled and crushed with sea salt
2 x jalapeño chillies, deseeded and chopped
5 x tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
5 x tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
1.) For the sauce, mix all the ingredients together, then taste for seasoning and let macerate – it tastes best after it’s left for a few hours.
Yellow & Red Tomato & Pepper Salsa
10 x red vine tomatoes, deseeded and diced
5 x yellow tomatoes, deseeded and diced
1 x red pepper, finely chopped
1 x yellow pepper, finely chopped
2 x tbsp coriander, picked, washed and coarsely chopped
2 x banana shallots, finely chopped
1 x pinch of sugar
4 x tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 x tbsp white wine vinegar
Sea salt to taste
1.) Combine all chopped ingredients in a mixing bowl.
2.) Add the olive oil, vinegar and pinch of sugar, and
3.) Season with salt and garnish with coriander leaves. Store in a refrigerator until ready to serve.
Raw Tuna, Coconut Tigre di Leche, Mango & Chilli
1 x kilo sushi-grade tuna
6 x limes, juiced
1 x red onion, thinly sliced and soaked in iced water
2 x jalapeño chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
100 ml x coconut milk
3 x mangos peeled and diced
Coriander leaves washed for garnish
Toasted coconut curls
Grated palm sugar, to taste
1.) Begin by preparing the tuna.
2.) Cut the fish into 1½ –2cm cubes and place in a bowl.
3.) Add the lime juice and salt for the marinade, then cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
4.) Drain the tuna, keeping the juices.
5.) Mix these juices (the “tigre de leche”) with the coconut milk, chilli and drained red onion.
6.) Add the juices to mixture with the mango, palm sugar, chilli and coriander leaves. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
7.) Serve garnished with edible flowers and toasted coconut curls.