Spinach in coconut milk is a traditional dish from Northeastern Brazil that is served as an accompaniment for codfish casseroles or other seafood dishes. It is comforting and very delicious!
Bredo (also know as caruru, the plant not the dish) is a plant from the Amaranthaceae family, some of whose species are edible. It is used to prepare regional dishes in Northeast Brazil.
Native to the Americas, bredo first became known to Europeans via the Mayans in Mexico. In Brazilian culture, it was first introduced by the Africans.
Besides being a great indicator of soil type, it is rich in iron, potassium, calcium, and vitamins A, B1, B2, and C.
Bredo is also an indispensable dish at Easter in Brazil. I personally like to serve it as an accompaniment for a cod fish casserole, whose recipe will be posted at Easter time.
Since it is not available in many countries — not even in certain regions of Brazil– spinach would be a suitable substitute. Why? Because they belong to the same family.
Spinach in Coconut Milk (Bredo no Coco)
- 2 bunches bredo* or 20 oz ( about ½ kg) baby spinach, washed and pat dried
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion small diced
- 4 medium tomatoes blanched, deseeded, small diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced and pasted
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder or ¼ teaspoon cumin (vegetarian version)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk 1 cup if using alfredo
- *If you are using bredo instead of spinach, before following the directions below, separate the bredo leaves from the stalk, wash them, and scald to remove the sap. Drain and reserve.
Blanching: To peel a tomato, first use your paring knife to cut out the stem. Then slice a shallow X in the bottom end. Using a slotted spoon, plunge the tomato into boiling water for about 20 seconds, then plunge it into a bowl of iced water. This will stop the tomato from cooking and further loosen the skin. Remove the cooled tomato and peel away the skin.
Over medium-high heat, sauté the onion until translucent. Low the heat to medium, add the tomatoes and garlic, and sauté for about 60 seconds.
Add bredo/spinach, sauté a little bit more. Then, add the coconut milk, salt, pepper, and chicken bouillon powder or cumin. Stir. Let cook for about 5 minutes over medium-low heat (10 minutes if using bredo). Serve spinach in coconut milk as an accompaniment for seafood dishes.
For the vegetarian version, omit the chicken bouillon and add a bit more salt.
This side is also an indispensable dish at Easter in Brazil. I personally like to serve it as an accompaniment for a cod fish casserole, whose recipe will be posted at Easter time.