South American cuisine is incredibly rich and diverse, in large part thanks to the food of Brazil, which fuses indigenous, European, and African influences. While a national identity, and cuisine, may be hard to pin down, it’s Brazil’s vast range of regional fare that make it unique. Brazil is home to some of the world’s best grilled meats and best stews—we especially love the salt cod. From feijoada to fudge truffles, here are our best Brazilian recipes.
Moqueca, a traditional Brazilian fish stew, takes different forms throughout the country; this version, from Bahia, originally made with a local fish, is enriched with coconut milk and palm oil, a traditionally West African cooking fat. Its vibrant red color is the product of a high concentration of beta carotene. If you can’t find it, coconut oil makes a fine, albeit colorless, substitute. Get the recipe for Brazilian Fish and Coconut Milk Stew »
Bahians like to finish this chunky salsa with a bit of juice from the moqueca, or whatever dish it is meant to accompany. The term lambão comes from the Latin lambere, “to pass the tongue over something.” In Bahia, the traditional malagueta chiles are said to ward off negative energy associated with some of the orixás, or spiritual beings. Look for malaguetas and pimenta de cheiro at farmers’ markets, or substitute drained jarred malaguetas from a Brazilian grocer and fresh serranos.
Get the recipe for Brazilian Chile and Tomato Salsa (Molho Lambão) »
Brazilian Beans with Smoked Pork, Rice and Collards (Feijoada)
See the Recipe
Use an aged cachaça like Avuà Amburana to add warm depth to this fruity drink.
Get the recipe for Strawberry Cachaça Shake »
You can find many versions of brigadeiros, but chocolate is the traditional flavor for these dense, chewy fudge balls rolled in sprinkles, a treasured treat in Brazil.
Get the recipe for Brigadeiros (Brazilian Fudge Balls) »
These Brazilian pickled chiles are a classic condiment alongside rice and beans, roast pork, or fish.
Fresh water buffalo cheese melted over filet mignon is a classic dish of Soure, Brazil; mozzarella is a perfect substitute. This recipe first appeared in our June/July 2012 issue along with Neide Rigo’s story
Passage to the Amazon. Get the recipe for Steak with Melted Mozzarella »
Fresh bananas layered with sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese combine in a sumptuous Brazilian dessert.
Get the recipe for Banana and Cheese Pudding »
Brazilian Shrimp Stew (Vatapá)
Salt cod is a staple in South America, the Caribbean, and Europe. This recipe comes from Neide Rigo, a Brazilian food blogger.
Get the recipe for Brazilian Salt Cod Stew »