A very common side dish in Brazilian cuisine, farofa has a crispy, nutty flavor terrific along side rice and beans, grilled meat, chicken and fish.
By Suzie Castello
Farofa is a very common side dish in Brazilian cuisine. It has a deliciously nutty flavor and a light crispiness partners up great with rice and beans and grilled meats, such as a picanha.
My mom tried farofa on her first visit to Brazil. My mother-in-law had prepared a huge table of comida mineira, sort of a full-court-press of Brazilian soul food including rice, beans, couve (Brazilian collard greens), okra, fried manioc, and of course farofa. My mom happily tried a little of everything. When my mother-in-law asked her how she liked the food and my mom smiled back and nodded, with her mouth full and not being able to speak portuguese. I thought all was well. Later, she confessed, “I didn’t like the sand”. “What sand?” I asked. “The stuff she served, the sandy stuff.” “Oh, the farofa.” She had eaten it by the forkful, like it was mashed potatoes. “Oh Mom, of not, you’re not supposed to eat it straight. You’re supposed to mix it into your rice and beans!”
How was she to know, poor thing? She has since learned to love farofa. But it was this experience that made me realize what happens a lot in Brazilian cuisine. The alchemy of the dish doesn’t only occur in the cooking process in the kitchen, it also happens on the plate as different flavors and textures meet each other. A whole new magic happens in the meeting of juice and crunch.
I recommend making farofa to take a ride alongside your next steak to see how it soaks up the meat juices. Rice and beans seem boring to me without it. If you want to go all out, light up the grill and make a picanha at your next barbecue. But don’t forget the farofa.
Farofa with Bacon
A very common side dish in Brazilian cuisine, farofa has a crispy, nutty flavor terrific along side rice and beans, grilled meat, chicken and fish. It is made with farinha de mandioca
- Author: Suzie Castello
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 5 mins
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- 2 cups of toasted manioc flour
- 100g (about 5 slices) of bacon cut finely into dice
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- Brown the finely chopped bacon in the oil.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the manioc flour.
- Mix until manioc flour absorbs all the bacon and oil.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
If you cannot find toasted manioc flour, you can use the non-toasted. Just cook it over the fire for a minute or two so it can take on a light golden color before serving.
Suzie Castello is an American writer living and raising a family in a small town in the mountains just outside Rio de Janeiro. She writes about finding ways to cook, with the regional ingredients, dishes that tell her life story, from childhood in the States to travels abroad, and anything new discovered along the way. She is also the Editor of Da Minha Cozinha, a Portuguese-language blog about honest home-cooking.
I had to smile when I read this. My daughter and I went to Cafe Brazil in Santa Cruz, and the farofa came on the plate, minus any instructions. So, like your mom, I said “This is like eating dirt.” Next time I will mix it with the rice and beans :)
I like the “sawdust,” sprinkled over feijoada! Nice, nutty flavor.
I just have to comment on the picture of the fingers holding the piece of beef. Brazilians do NOT touch their food. They always use silverware OR use a napkin (which in Brazil has a waxy finish) to pick up their food. They don’t touch ribs, chicken, sandwiches, etc. Just sayin’.
THNX for the recipe. Looks good to me. :)
Unfortunately my experience as well as other Expat colleauges is that it looks likes sawdust and tastes like it too, and frankly completely ruins a good steak……..or anything else for that matter.
We don’t touch our food only when not at home, because our hands can be dirty haha. Also, the waxy-napkins are usually the most poorly-made/cheap ones, brazilians hate those as they can’t properly clean your mouth or hands!
Use butter,it is going to taste much better ;)
I love farofa, but it took some time before my husband learned to appreciate it. I am making it this evening with your easy recipe for some Italian friends who also really like it.