I grew up in Brazil! Easter for us was traveling 3 hours to visit my grandad, my aunt and my great great grandma! I vividly remember running around, playing while the delicious aroma of seafood and dende oil invaded our senses….
It was like going back to the 1700s, where slaves found a way to sneak their African dishes, blending them with native ingredients that was one of the few things allowed besides the songs and beat of capoeira, telling stories of a long lost freedom.
My State was the first State to be formed in Brazil, which was discovered in the south of Bahia, my home state! My great grandma Ba used to tell us that she had a faint recollection of the time where slavery still existed and how sad she was born in a time where they were treated so poorly and disrespected as human beings.
Those times were long gone, she was in her 80s when I was born and the few years I had with her, allowed me to learn so many amazing and yet sad things about the history of African slaves in Brazil.
The culinary traditions are now a staple of Baian cuisine, the cozinha baiana!
I love bringing some of those dishes every year to celebrate my heritage with my family! This year, as in many others, I’ve made vatapa. which is a mixture of nuts, spices, seafood all blended in a delicious bread pudding cooked to perfection, crowned by dende oil.
Today I will be sharing this recipe with you, hope you will be adventurous and try it at your home!
We had an amazing meal with Brazilian friends on good Friday and had a chance to enjoy great dishes – The one we’re sharing below and a Shrimp Moqueca, highlighted in an older post.
The first question should be: where do I find dende oil? You can find it in Portuguese and Brazilian stores, you can also buy it on line in many stores, just search for it.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, which is the center piece of any Baian Typical Restaurant!
1 large loaf of bread ( stay away from french bread, look for a softer type)
1 cup of unsalted peanuts
1 cup of unsalted cashews
1 cup of cooked shrimp
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cups of milk
1 pound of cod, cooked and cut in very small pieces (optional)
1/2 cup of coconut milk
3 Tbps of dende oil
Cilantro to garnish
Immerse the bread in milk and soak it for 3/5 hours
Use blender to grind shrimp, cod, peanuts and cashews
Remove excess of milk from the bread and place it in a very large pot, I use a Wok. add the blended ingredients, salt, pepper and mix and mix it all until it starts boiling, add coconut milk slowly and mix.
After 5 minutes add dende oil and look at the color, to make sure it has a puree consistency and it’s yellow, but not too dark. I add slowly, looking at it.
Stir for another 5 minutes and serve!
Easy, isn’t it??
I can’t wait to hear you telling me you’ve tried and if you liked it!
Sharing my culture and traditions help me bond with who I am and teaches my son a little bit about where he comes from!
Hope you’ve enjoyed it! As usual, give us a Trendy Shout!