We have a running joke in my family. The joke is that I have traveled next to nowhere. And the couple of places I have been, I have been repeatedly. I get so frustrated when we are planning family vacations and my husband suggests a place he wants to go, that he has always dream of going, and it happens to be one of the three places I have been.
Well, I have been one place that is exotic and exciting. It required immunizations and a visa! In 2005 my husband and I traveled to Brazil. It was amazing! The Strong Man lived in Rio de Janeiro for two years on an LDS mission, so it seemed like a good place to go on an adventure. Not only did we go to Rio, but we traveled around the entire country.
It was really the most adventurous thing I’ve done in my whole life. (I realize the irony that I suggested we go to one of the places HE has already been. But since when are you supposed to hold yourself to the same standard you hold others to?)
One of my favorite parts of Brazil was the food, specifically the fruit and the bread. There were delicious fruits and fruit juices everywhere. Sucos de abacaxi (pineapple juice), Sucos de goiaba (guava juice), sucos de caju (the fruit hooked to the cashew nut), mamao (papaya), mango (you probably can figure that one out,) and many more. They had a smoothie type of drink called vitamina abacate which was made of avocados, I’m trying to replicate that recipe, but apparently their avocados are different than ours. Then they had all sorts of delicious rolls. One of my very favorites was pao de queijo (pronounced pow gi kay-jew.) It translates to cheese bread.
I made the goal to recreate these at home while I was still in Brazil. It was a little tricky because in Brazil I was told they were made with manioc root flour. I’d never heard of that. I was getting ready to do something drastic like get a license to import some. Then with a little research I discovered that manioc is another name for cassava. Which, it turns out is not helpful either. Then I discovered that they were both names for tapioca. Bingo! I found some tapioca flour, which is much easier to find now that gluten sensitivities and intolerances are more widespread, and I went to town. I tried many recipes. But this one is my favorite.
Using tapioca flour means that this recipe is gluten free. Hip Hip Hooray! If you can’t find tapioca flour in your grocery store, or if it is insanely expensive, which seems to be the case a lot with gluten free foods, then you can buy Tapioca Flour here.
These little cheese breads have a great texture and a nice salty flavor. They are a fun and usually new experience for most people. The tapioca flour makes them chewy. They pull apart like they are full of cheesy goodness. Which is partly because they are full of cheese and partly because of the properties of tapioca, manioc or cassava starch.
See what I mean?
You can really use whatever cheese you have on hand. I will very often, just see what is in the fridge and grate whatever I have. But it is good to have a salty cheese and a softer cheese included in there.
While everybody is posting Cinco De Mayo recipes, I’m doing my duty to get you ready for the next Olympic games and the next World Cup in Rio, baby!
Get your Brazil on and try some paõ de queijo today.
**Update: Thanks to Mel at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe I remembered where this recipe came from in the first place. She posted almost this exact recipe a few days ago and had a link back to the original recipe, which as it happens is where I found it as well. Because I didn’t know I was going to be a blogger one day, I never wrote on my recipe cards where I got each recipe. I don’t know where a lot of my recipes came from originally. But this one is found! Pao De Queijo from Simply Recipes