Brazilian food recipes, buy & try


Brazil, the largest and the only Portuguese speaking country in South America, has a great variety of traditional foods. Brazilian cuisine is a result of a combination of ingredients brought by different cultures that have arrived into the country. It all started with the colonization by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Along our history many other different nationalities introduced many ingredients and dishes to our country such as the Italians (pizza, pasta), Spanish (empanadillas – empadinhas), Arabs (spiha, lamb, kibbeh), Chinese/Japanese (wontons – pastel) among other nationalities.


The feijoada is without a doubt the undisputed national dish. It is a recipe of thick black beanstew served with rice and a variety of pork meats. It was invented by the slaves brought from Africa during the colonization to work in the large estates and plantations in Brazil. The slaves would smuggle the left-overs from their master’s houses and make a stew. Originally feijoada was made using every part of the pig, such as ears, tails, and nose floating among the beans. Nowadays it’s a more paired down dish. It is usually served with sliced oranges, farofa (manioc), rice and shredded greens. The culinary culture of Africa was mixed with the European food traditions. The African slaves had the basic bean stew, the Portuguese added the sausage (linguiça), and the native Indians added the farofa (toasted manioc flour). This heavy combination of ingredients would give the workers the energy they needed to work all day in the plantations and cattle ranches. Every household has it’s own method and recipe passed on through generations.


Some traditional ingredients of our cuisine are not widely available in the shops outside Brazil. However, there are some Asian and Portuguese shops/delis which sell Brazilian products in main cities.


Mealtimes in Brazil are usually a family and friends affair. It’s the time of the day to catch up and share special moment with loved ones. Lunch is, majority of the time, a substantial meal. Both lunch and dinner ends with a small but potent cup of coffee. Food is customarily prepared from scratch. Frozen foods are just another expensive commodity for the fast paced workers.


Brazilian Daily Meals:

Breakfast: varies by region. It’s common to find tropical fruits, local cakes, tapioca, cuscus (North), grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, bread and butter or jam, coffee, juices or tea.

Lunch: Normally the biggest meal. Rice and beans are a staple of the Brazilian diet. They are usually eaten with a protein, salads, farofa (a toasted flour of manioc or corn).

Afternoon snack (merenda/lanchinho): It is a small snack between lunch and dinner, and it could consist of coffee, tea or chimarrão, which is a traditional infusion of the South region; accompanied by cookies, typical cakes or bread.

Dinner: light meal. Soups, salads and vegetables, pasta, rice-and-beans, are the most common dishes.

Feira (street market) is a Brazilian custom, these markets occur in the main streets of every neigbourhood (bairros) in the country at least once a week. We are never far away from fresh produce. They mainly sell fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meats, spices but you can find some oddities such as handmade coconut carver among other local kitchen and household utensils.

They are also famous for selling pastel, typical street food, deep fried thin pastry filled with either savoury filling most common are minced meat, chicken meat, shrimps, mozzarella, palm heart, catupiry cream cheese. Or sweet fillings such as guava and cheese, chocolate, doce de leite, banana and cinnamon.  It is believed the Japanese introduced pastel into Brazilian cuisine by adapting deep fried Chinese wontons. Pastel are usually served with pure cold freshly pressed sugarcane juice. In some regions of the country, it’s common to drink it mixed with fruits such as pineapple, lime or mint.

Apart from the usual restaurants we have comida por quilo, which is a self-service system and the food is charged by the weight, and all-you-can-eat type which prepare a wide range of fresh dishes at inexpense prices. It’s not uncommon to find some restaurants, and street food, cafés, snack and juice bars open late night.


Food by regions

Brazil has a very rich soil and the natural crops available in each region add to their characteristic. It varies greatly by region due to the climate as well.

In the South, there is an important influence of the gauchos, cattle estate workers, and this can be noticed in a cuisine that uses a lot of meat due to the hight concentration of cattle ranches in the region. They are famous for the rodizios de carne (barbecue culture) which has spreaded all over the country. In the Southeast there is a great combination of ingredients, using much maize, beans, pork, cheese, rice, tomato, fish, eggs, onions and many other ingredients.

The central has a cuisine characterized by the use of much pork, fish, beef, soybeans, manioc, and rice. The cuisine of the northern area uses much tropical fruits, fish, peanuts, and manioc. And the cuisine of the northeastern region is characterized by using much tropical fruits, seafood, local fishes, beans, onions, manic and rice, among others.

Brazilian cuisine uses lots of root vegetables, which are rich in carbohydrates, such as cassava or manioc (mandioca, aipim, or macaxeira), yams, and peanuts and fruits like açaí, cupuaçu, mango, papaya, guava, orange, passionfruit, pineapple, and hog plum (caju) are among the local ingredients used in cooking. Brazil nut grow in a tree that is abundant in the north part of Brazil, and are a popular national snack and a lucrative export product believed to contain many health benefits.

Other typical dishes are acarajé (salted muffin made with white beans, onion and fried in palm oil (dendê) which is filled with dried shrimp, red pepper; caruru, which consists of okra, onion, dried shrimp and toasted nuts (peanuts and/or cashews) cooked with palm oil until a spread-like consistency is reached; moqueca Capixaba  (Espirito Santo State) or Bahiana (Bahia State) – uses coconut milk and consists of slow-cooked fish, tomato, onion and garlic topped with coriander. It’s influence comes from the Indigenas. Famous street foods are: cheese breads (pão de queijo), pastéis (pasties) and coxinha (chicken snacks) are widely available all over the country. Brazil is also known for cachaça; also known as aguardente, pinga, branquinha (little white shot), a popular native spirit made out of sugarcane and used in the caipirinha (aguardente, caster sugar, fresh lime and crushed ice) our traditional and worldwide famous alcoholic cocktail.

Açaí berry high in oxidant content that may be of health benefits are shipped from the Amazon to all over the world. In Brazil they are consumed in bowls with granola, tapioca, or as ice cream, juices, tonics and to flavour liquors.

Each region has it’s own distinctive cooking style. However, the Southeast (São Paulo ,Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro), the industrial and financial heart of Brazil, and is home to several different cooking styles for which Brazil is probably best-known.

I hope this article helps as an introduction to Brazilian cuisine and you have the opportunity to try and even cook it one day. There are plenty of recipes to choose from. Delicious!


A list of places where to buy Brazilian ingredients in London : Shops I like
I will be updating the list soon.

Acerola (a small berry-like fruit, similar to pitanga, with lots of vitamin C. Usually in juices)

Any fish baked in folha de bananeira (banana tree leaf)

Acarajé (incredible street food served in Bahia, mostly. Made of feijão paste and shrimp.

Anything made with cupuaçu (a fruit) – excellent paired with chocolate

Arroz, feijão, bife e batata frita (rice, beans, steak and fries, everyday dish)

Açaí – A sorbet or in a breakfast bowl (very common in the NE and N, served with granola or with regular food in the N)

Agua de Coco – coconut water drink at the beach. Usually served in the green coconut itself, this keeps you hydrated

Arroz de carreteiro

Baião de dois

Bala de banana – banana candy

Bananada =banana sweet.

Batida – Sweet alcoholic fruit drink, this is made with fruit, sweetened condensed milk, and cachaça!

Beijinho– condensed milk and sweet coconut treat

Barreado (Brazil’s southern state of Paraná – South) food cooked in pan sealed with pastry

Bala de coco (birthday/wedding coconut sweets, very typical Brazilian)

Beirute (Brazilian version of Kebab) -a very nice meat sandwich)

Biscoito de polvilho (very Brazilian and irresistible little biscuits)

Bobó de camarão (a shrimp stew)

Bolinho de bacalhau (cod croquette)

Bolinho de chuva (small fried donut-like treats)

Bolo de rolo (roulade filled with guava paste)


Brigadeiro (Brazilian chocolate truffles/fudge)

Broa de fubá (a sort of bread/cake made from corn flour)

Buchada de bode (mutton stew/dish)

Cachaça – Artisan quality is best. Cachaça is sugar cane liquor

Choppe – light beer. Simple beer served at a bar. Ask for claro (light) or escuro (dark).

Cumari– pepper (hot chilli)

Café coado no filtro de pano (coffee passed through a cloth filter)

Caipirinha and Caipiroska, cocktail (made with Cachaça or Vodka)

Camarão na moranga (a shrimp stew served in a pumpkin)

Couve refogada com alho (greens cooked with garlic, a typical side dish usually with rice and beans)

Caju (the fruit, not the nut)

Cajuzinho (cashew-nut sweet)

Caldinho de feijão (bean broth)

Caldo de cana (sugar-cane juice usually served with ice and lemon.

Caldo de mocotó (mocotó is the marrow from the hoof of a cow, calf, ox, used to make a broth)

Caldo de piranha (pirana broth)

Canjica doce (sweet corn pudding)

Caruru (a type of stew, also common in

Chá mate gelado (chilled mate tea)

Chimarrão (like the Argentinian, mate)

Coxinha (street/fast/bar food, shredded chicken
filling in dough, bread crumbs and deep fried)

Curau – Brazilian sweet custard-like dessert made from the juice of unripe corn, cooked with milk and sugar.

Cuscuz paulista – made with corse cornmeal dish

Doce de abóbora (pumpkin sweet) – my favourite is with fresh shredded coconut

Dobradinha (tripe stew, tastes better than it sounds if made well)

Doce crystalizada de frutas -crystallized fruit sweets and even vegetables.

Doce de leite cremoso & em cubos– Made from sweetened condensed milk this is sold in a creamy form or in cubes. You can find the ‘creamy’ doce de leite with bits of fruit in it, so delicious.

Doce de leite mineiro (Brazilian doce de leite from Minas Gerais)

Farofa de içá – cassava and sauva ants – indigenous culture and in the present day is a habit of the region of the Paraíba Valley, typical of the caipira (countryside) food of the interior of São Paulo (not in the Capital)

Feijoada (the classic Brazilian dish, based on beans and varied meats served with rice, orange and couve (greens) and also in canape version Brazilian Canape

Feijão tropeiro (a variation of the feijão or beans) A traditional dish from Minas Gerais, made with beans, bacon, sausage, collard greens, eggs and manioc flour and more…

Frango com quiabo (chicken with okra)

Galinha à cabidela (free range chicken recipe)

Galinhada com pequi : a chicken stew with pequi – a edible fruit popular in some areas of Brazil, especially in Brazil’s central-west region

Geléia de mocotó – jam made of made from cow’s feet marrow

Jabuticaba no pé (typical and only found in Brazilian fruit picked from the tree) – great childhood memories

Jaca (jackfruit). Very nutritious. Ask a native to serve it

Leitão à pururuca ( whole roasted pork with special spice mix form Minas Gerais)

Mandioca frita (fried cassava )

Manjar de coco (a very sweet coconut pudding)

Melão produzido em Mossoró-RN (melon from
Mossoró, Rio Grande do Norte) – melão potiguar – DOP

Misto Quente (amazing sandwich, grilled ham and cheese sandwich that somehow tastes better in Brazil)

Moqueca (typical from Bahia, a fish stew with lobster and shrimp, coconut milk and other goodies)

Pão de melcom doce de leite (literally honey sweet pastry filled with caramel and covered in chocolate – perfect treat)

Pão de queijo(sold almost anywhere in Brazil) cheese balls or bread if you like. Make sure they are fresh.

Pingado de padaria (a must-have, served in Brazilian diners, hot milk with a little of coffee)

Pintando na brasa (BBQ fish)

Pitanga (a fruit)

Pudim de leite condensado (condensed milk
pudding, like a flan but more consistent and sweeter)

Quebra queixo (sugar and coconuy-based sweet) Gobstoppers or jawbreakers are a type of hard candy

Queijo coalho na brasa (cured and not too fat cheese usually sold at beaches in the NE)

Queijo de Minas fresco (fresh cheese from Minas Gerais, sold in other parts of Brazil too)

Quibebe (savoury pumpkin dish)

Quindim (egg-yolk-coconut based sweet)

Rabada (oxtail stew)

Refrigerante de guaraná (guaraná soft

Requeijão cremoso (the Brazilian version of
cream cheese, but more viscous and double cream consistency)

Romeu e Julieta (a slice of goiabada, guava jelly, and cheese served as a dessert)

Sarapatel (very common in Bahia) – this dish has Portuguese origin and it’s also made in India. Meat and offal. The meats are first parboiled, then diced and sauteed before being cooked in a spicy and vinegary sauce. Some people also use the animals’ blood for boiling.

Sonho de padaria (a type of doughnut)

Sorvete de milho (sweet corn ice cream)

Vaca atolada: Beef ribs and cassava cassarole, a crowd pleaser

Virado à Paulista (dish from Sao Paulo city) full-meal plate consisting of white rice, beans, manioc flour, sausage, a minute steak, sauteed greens, fried plantain and topped with an egg!

Pacu (a type of fish) – freshwater fish related to the piranha, but peaceful!

Palmito (palm hearts) pies and salads! heaven – make sure it’s sustainable source

Pamonha (sweet corn paste wrapped in corn leaf and boiled/steamed, very nice)

Pão de batata com catupiry – potato bread filled with soft cheese

Pastel de feira– fried light pastry with various fillings sweet and
savoury – it’s street/bar food found everywhere in Brazil

Pato no tucupi (some sort of duck stew) Amazonian dish

Rapadura ( sweet raw sugar sweet, mostly sold in street

Paçoca de amendoim (peanut sweet, a little like fudge with peanuts)

Queijadinha – Sweet snack made of coconut,
condensed milk and egg

Picole de Abacate – Avocado popsicle. Delicious to eat anywhere!

Rodizio Churrasco (Brazilian-style BBQ) eat as much as you can!

Tapioca (a personal favourite, made of mandioc starch…)

Tutu a Mineira- A full meal, beans that are mixed with manioc flour, Brazilian beans,rice, greens, sausage, fried egg, deep-fried pork belly, and pork chop. Minas Gerais s version of Virado a Paulista.

Also, Brazilian Christmas celebration