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If you do not know what farofa is, I am here to change your life and introduce you to this gluten-free delicious side dish!
Farofa is a toasted cassava flour recipe that is among the most traditional dishes in Brazil and is normally available in Brazilian restaurants worldwide. When it comes to delicious Brazilian food, farofa is a tried-and-true staple.
Cassava flour is also known as manioc or yuca flour, or as we call it in Portuguese, farinha de mandioca. It is a dry ingredient that calls for fat.
We can prepare it in all sorts of different ways; with butter, olive oil, onions, garlic, and sausage (or bacon), or it can be deliciously vegan with just olive oil, onions, garlic, and optional veggies. For this recipe, I chose the most basic and common ingredients. It has few ingredients and is done in less than 15 minutes. See notes for the variations.
Farofa is a big deal for us, and it has an extraordinary place in every Brazilian home, from the poorest to the richest.
It is a low-cost dish and very easy to prepare. It is delicious and adds a flavoursome touch to any dish.
Since farofa is considered the official side dish of Brazil, you will find it served with various meals.
It tastes exceptionally delicious when mixing farofa with the flavoured broth of feijoada!
For the most epic Brazilian appetizer, serve over fried sausage (we call it linguiça)!
During the holidays, you can use it to stuff poultry. Think of it as similar to the American version of stuffing but with a ton of Brazilian flavours and flair. Unlike lots of Brazilians, I do not stuff my roast turkey. I serve my Farofa on the side. It is also a delicious side dish for Baked ham. Those are the two typical Christmas dishes in Brazil.
Seriously, a Brazilian BBQ (churrasco) is not the same without farofa. It is usually served in barbecues together with the Brazilian vinaigrette salsa.
It is also commonly found served with hearty stews like Moqueca.
Some people just eat it by the spoonful! (That is a great way to make me happy!)
Farofa adds an amazing texture and flavour to dishes. Brazilians eat almost everything topped with a good Farofa. Try it and let me know how you like it!
Farofa can be found commercially seasoned, produced, and packaged, although the homemade version is much more flavorful.
And if you have never tried it, I bet you are wondering – what farofa tastes like? – I think it is fair to say that, overall, farofa has a “crunchy” texture, similar to breadcrumbs or large grains the size of cracked bulgur wheat or couscous, but with much more flavour and a very mild toasty taste. It can also be smoky if you add bacon or sausage and very aromatic since it almost always has butter, garlic, and onions. What makes it so great is that cassava flour soaks up the flavours of the stuff you cook it with. It is soooo good! It will make you want more!
I hope you will love farofa as much as I do! Enjoy your meal! Or as we say in Portuguese, Bom apetite!
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- In a large skillet, over medium heat, add butter and oil.
- Add the finely chopped onions and Sautée until transparent, about 2 mins.
- Note: The onions need to be finely chopped to flavour the farofa rather than competing in texture with it.
- Then add garlic and cook until golden brown.
- Add cassava flour to a large pan, and then add this mixture.
- Season with paprika, salt and pepper to taste.
- The secret to a good Farofa is always butter (and roasted garlic). You may want to add more. As Julia Child would say: "With enough butter, anything is good!
- Turn heat down to medium-low, and let it toast, stirring gently and constantly to toast evenly and avoid burning, for about 3-5 minutes.
- Once the farofa is nicely and evenly toasted, remove it from the heat. To finish up, add parsley and green onions (or chives) and mix the ingredients well.
- Transfer your farofa to a serving plate and serve warm or at room temperature.
Still, it became an essential ingredient for the Portuguese and slaves in the country during colonial times. Back to the present times, cassava is still widely used in plenty of dishes, such as pirão and farofa, and as a side dish with churrasco de picanha (Brazilian top sirloin cap BBQ). Oh, and farofa is also a delicious side dish for roast turkey and honey-baked ham, two typical Christmas dishes in Brazil. Literally, every part of the plant is used, from the leaves to the roots – proof that cassava is a flexible plant. White raw or toasted Cassava flour? You may find white raw or toasted cassava flour. The toasted one has a stronger/nuttier flavour, and I usually use it when making Farofa to save some time. However, if you buy the white raw cassava flour, start by pan roasting it. In a large pan, roast it on low heat for about 5 minutes or until it is golden brown. Remove immediately from the heat and set it aside. Is farofa gluten-free? Yes!! Farofa is made of naturally gluten-free cassava flour. What is the difference between Cassava flour and Tapioca flour? They are absolutely NOT the same. Although many recipes and packages use these names interchangeably, tapioca and cassava are two different things. Both products are made from cassava, a long tuberous starchy root often found in Latin American and Caribbean cuisines. Cassava flour is a flour that incorporates the whole root. To make the flour, the cassava root is peeled, dried, and then ground into flour. Cassava flour is the entire root with all its nutrients and dietary fibre still intact. In essence, cassava flour is the real whole food. Tapioca flour is a starch extracted from cassava roots. It is made up of only the starchy part of the plant. To make Farofa, be sure to look for coarse manioc/yucca flour (Farinha de mandioca) and not tapioca flour, as that won't work. The fine ground stuff is definitely not the same at all. If you try, it will basically just soak up all the fat and "cake" it up and will never get that crunchy texture. Save your tapioca flour/manioc starch to make delicious pães de queijo (Brazilian cheese rolls)! Is cassava the same as yuca? Yes, as mentioned above, the cassava flour is made from the cassava root, which is also known as yuca or manioc root. Leftover Once cool, you can store Farofa in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Variations There are numerous farofa recipes. The recipe can vary depending on the individual chef's taste or Brazil's region where it is served. Most recipes will also contain varying amounts of salt, smoked meat, some herbs, spices, and condiments to add an exceptional taste. This combination of ingredients delivers a punch of rich flavour to any dish. However, Chefs can add or subtract whatever they choose to make a custom farofa dish. You can tweak the recipe to suit your own personal taste and add extra flavours:
- Garlic, herbs, and other spices will give it a nutty, mild fragrant smell and bring this side dish to the next level.
- Diced Smoked sausage (or bacon) is my favourite option; I always like to add it. It adds a unique smoky crunch to your meal. If using any sweet option, the smoked sausage smokiness (or bacon) offsets the sweet flavour.
- Do not skip butter and olive oil to fry the sausage (or bacon). It makes it really delicious.
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, add butter, oil, and sausage (or bacon). Once the sausage (or bacon) is nice and crispy, add onions and Sautée until transparent, about 2 mins. Follow the basic recipe from here.
- If you're vegan/vegetarian, you can simply leave the bacon out or substitute it with vegan sausage.
- Chopped walnuts or slivered almonds. It makes the Farofa chunky and perfect to be served with turkey during the Holidays.
- Dried fruits (usually raisins) give farofa a subtle sweetness - Hydrate the raisins in warm water for 5 minutes. Drain before use.
- Hard-boiled or scrambled eggs
- Banana - To really take things up a notch, bananas are typically added to the recipe. It gives farofa a subtle sweetness
- Chopped Apples
- Chopped black olives
- Chopped prunes
- Collard greens
- Carne Seca (a type of Brazilian jerked beef)
- Palm oil (dendê oil) - In the state of Bahia, it is common for farofa to be prepared with "dendê oil," giving it a stronger taste and a rich yellow colouring.
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