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Tapioca Breadsticks (Biscoito de Polvilho)

I know that I don’t make breads very often. But I am about to redeem myself with these tapioca breadsticks — a quick, naturally gluten-free Brazilian snack that is best served warm and accompanied by coffee, tea, or any other beverage of your choice.  Is that sounding good to you?

tapioca-breadsticks

I know… Sometimes I can be a lazy cook.  On top of that, I confess that bread is not my favorite thing to make… although it’s definitely one of my faves to eat! 🙂  Well let me tell ya, these tapioca breadsticks just became an exception, because they are quick and easy to make… and they are similar to one of my favorite breads: pão de queijo (Brazilian Cheese Rolls).  Just thinking about it has me buzzing with excitement!!!

Making tapioca breadsticks

Back in Brazil, these are known as biscoito de polvilho (tapioca “cookies”), and also by some other funny names such as biscoito de vento (“wind cookies”), biscoito voador (“flying cookies”), and biscoito globo (“globe cookies”). Originally from the southeastern state of Minas Gerais, they date back to the colonial period (18th century), and used to be served to the plantation owners along with cheese and coffee at afternoon coffee time. Over time biscoito de polvilho acquired different variations in shape (rings, sticks, or spheres), size (mini and regular sized), cooking methods (fried or baked, like ours), as well as in a few ingredients (some add cheese and/or fennel to the dough).

These are traditionally made from sour tapioca starch, eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and salt…

Eggs and yolk by Denise Browning -- www.frombraziltoyou.org

… and yet they are so popular in Brazil that they are available at supermarkets and even from food vendors at the beach. Vale D’ouro  and Panificação Mandarinho are a couple of brands that manufacture this baked goodie.

The main differences between the cheesy version of these tapioca breadsticks and the traditional pão de queijo are basically in the shape, and the fact that some like to add fennel to the dough. However, since I am not a fan of fennel, I used rosemary to flavor ours.  Yes, they are a great snack, but can also be a great substitute for crackers or other breads at the hors d’oeuvre table.  In that case, you can serve them with caipirinha instead.

tapioca-breadsticks

Enjoy!

Print Recipe
Tapioca Breadsticks (Biscoito de Polvilho)
Tapioca breadsticks are a quick, naturally gluten-free snack (or accompaniment for the hors d'ouvre buffet) that can be served with coffee, tea, or any other drink of your choice.
tapioca-breadsticks
Votes: 2
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Snack
Cuisine Brazilian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Course Snack
Cuisine Brazilian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
tapioca-breadsticks
Votes: 2
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. In a large heat-proof bowl, stir in tapioca flour and Parmesan cheese together until combined; then set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, stir in together the milk, oil, salt, and chopped rosemary and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and pour the hot liquid mixture over the flour mixture, stirring well with a wood spoon until combined. Mixture will be lumpy. Add eggs on one side of the bowl, break them with a fork and give a quick stir. Then, using your hands, mix them with the lumpy flour mixture until obtaining homogeneous dough, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (about 180 degrees C). Line two to three baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  4. Lightly grease your hands with a drop of vegetable oil. Using a tablespoon as measurement, spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the dough onto your hands, mold into balls and then roll into sticks, 2-inch (mini breadstick) to 4-inch long each (medium breadstick). Arrange them on the lined baking sheets, leaving a space (1 to 2-inches) between them. Bake for about 13-15 minutes, or until tapioca breadsticks are puffy and lightly golden on top. Yield will vary according to the size of the tapioca breadsticks (22-45 breadsticks). Mine were approximately 4 inches long a piece, yielding about 22 breadsticks.
  5. Serve while still warm accompanied by coffee, tea, or any other beverage of your choice. If desired, you can brush a bit of melted butter on top of the tapioca breadsticks. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Sour tapioca starch (polvilho azedo) is often used to make these tapioca breadsticks (biscoito de polvilho). Since it is not typically available at local supermarkets in the US, I used tapioca flour instead -- which is a suitable substitute, and can be usually be found in the flour/cake aisle.

 

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Caipirinha Baby Back Ribs (Costelinha de Porco na Caipirinha)

Are you a rib lover?  So am I!  I always welcome the sight of them with a smile… and these succulent Caipirinha Baby Back Ribs (Costelinha de Porco na Caipirinha) are no exception!!!  For those who may not know, caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail made from lime, sugar, and cachaça (a distilled beverage similar to white rum).

caipirinha-baby-back-ribs

The preparation of our caipirinha baby back ribs is quite simple. Blend cachaça (or white rum if desired), lime juice, brown sugar, garlic cloves, a few seasonings, and fresh parsley in a kitchen blender and pour over the ribs. Marinate, and then cook on the stove top (first pan-searing to brown, and then simmering until tender and liquid evaporates). The result: One of the tenderest and tastiest ribs that you will ever experience.

This recipe took its inspiration from Costelinha de Porco à Mineira (“Fried” Baby Back Ribs) —  a traditional dish from Minas Gerais in Southeastern Brazil.  The difference here is the caipirinha ingredients!  Cachaça, the main ingredient of caipirinha, has many more uses than than just as a base for the caipirinha drink in Brazil– it is also great for marinating meats,  and for making pie crust and empanada dough flakier.  It is available at large liquor stores in the U.S., but in a pinch white rum is a suitable substitute.

caipirinha baby back ribs

As for side dishes, our caipirinha baby back ribs can be served with farofa, collard greens a la Mineira, and yuca fries, or with pretty much anything else that you want.

Enjoy our caipirinha baby back ribs… and get used to being asked to make them again and again! 🙂

xx

Print Recipe
Caipirinha Baby Back Ribs
Tender and tasty caipirinha baby back ribs marinated with cachaça (or WHITE RUM), and then prepared on the stove top.
caipirinha-baby-back-ribs
Votes: 4
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Main
Cuisine Brazilian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
ribs
Ingredients
Course Main
Cuisine Brazilian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
ribs
Ingredients
caipirinha-baby-back-ribs
Votes: 4
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. OPTIONAL: Before marinating the caipirinha baby back ribs, place the full stack of ribs on a cutting board, turn the ribs over, and stick a butter knife right under that white membrane.
  2. Wedge the butter knife in between membrane and meat/bone. Pull membrane off. This will make ribs even more tender but is optional since our ribs are not supposed to fall off the bones.
  3. MAKE AHEAD (MARINADE): Cut the ribs individually (right over the meat in between each bone) and place them in a large bowl or rectangular pyrex dish, and set aside. In a blender, blend well the cachaça or white rum, lime juice, sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, annatto powder, and parsley until obtaining a smooth mixture. Pour this mixture over the ribs. Using your hands, mix ribs with the marinade to coat both sides of each rib. Cover bowl or pyrex with plastic or foil, and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours (Inactive Time).
  4. Drain the marinade from the ribs by simply shaking a bit and seting aside the marinade.
  5. In a large (wide) pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and brown the ribs evenly (do not overcrowd the pan). Transfer ribs to a plate and discard leftover oil. Then, add and mix water to the reserved marinade, place ribs back into the pan, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium-low, and let cook for 20 minutes or until the ribs are tender and liquid has evaporated completely.
  6. These caipirinha baby back ribs can be served hot (brushed with honey if desired) with any side of your choice , or with collard greens a la Mineira, yuca fries, and farofa.

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