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facts and tidbits

What is Brazil's
ethnic heritage?

Soon after the Portuguese navigator Cabral claimed Brazil in 1500, slaves from Africa were being imported in great numbers to Bahia, in northeastern Brazil, to work the sugar cane plantations. Over the years a racial mixture called mulatto began to emerge, and eventually it became the dominant population group. The mulattos of Brazil are people of three continents - the blood of black slaves, white settlers, and native Indians runs in their veins.

Does Brazil have
a melting pot cuisine?

Yes. An amalgamated cuisine developed, borrowing from the culinary styles and ingredients of West Africa, Europe, and South America. A dish that is typical of this melting-pot cuisine is the Bahian specialty called Vatapa, a hot and spicy stew cooked with dende (palm nut) oil and coconut milk. The main ingredient can be seafood or meat.

How did you come upon
the Vatapa recipe?

I enjoyed a Vatapa made of dried shrimp and fresh fish in a fisherman's palm-sheltered hut along Bahia's beautiful coastline. Like most Bahians, my host and his family were quick to smile and went out of their way to make strangers feel at ease and welcomed. But the grandmother of the house made the most delightful impression on me - she prepared the Vatapa that would please almost any guest, as this recipe will verify.



Famous peasant dishes

Arroz Con Pollo  Spain
Cassoulet  France
Cha Chiang Mein  China
Couscous  Morocco
Houskove Knedliky  Czech Republic
Huevos Rancheros  Mexico
Nasi Goreng  Indonesia
Osso Buco  Italy
Oyako Donburi  Japan
Roghan Josh  India
Tom Yam Kung  Thailand
Vatapa  Brazil
Yalanci Dolma  Turkey

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