It could be considered to be the most national of Brazilian cuisines. It gathers the local traditions of the Indians, enriched and added to by European and African creations, along with components brought by the Japanese, Lebanese and Italian immigrants, among others, as well as by the Northeasters who migrated to the region at the time of the rubber boom. Cassava is very important to Indian cooking, being prepared in several ways: processed into flour to make tapioca or tapioca starch, mixed with water for‘chibé’ or ‘caribé’ (a kind of porridge). Its juice, called ‘tucupi’, is used for the famous dish of Belém do Pará cuisine, the tucupi duck. There are also other types of flour in Indian cuisine, such as dried fish flour, yam flour and peanut flour, among others.
Fish is also one of the bases of Amazon cooking. The best known species are arapaima, peacock bass, catfish and tambaqui. There are a lot of dishes prepared with fish, like grilled tambaqui, arapaima rice, arapaima in coconut milk or Brazilian-nut milk, ‘peixenatelha’ (catfish cooked on a rooftile), marinated catfish, as well as dishes made with turtle meat and offal, like ‘tartarugada’ and turtle-egg ‘farofa’ (a kind of flour). Açaí, guarana, Brazilian nut, ‘piqui’, ‘pupunha’, ‘murici’and‘cupuaçu’are the best known fruits and nuts of the North. They are used in several ways: açaí can be mixed with cassava flour or be consumed as a juice or ice cream; the nuts are eaten roasted, coated with chocolate, used in cakes, pies or other desserts.
“Peixe na telha” – “Fish in the tile”
An appropriate tile, 1 kg fish, 30g garlic, 20g salt, 1 lime, black pepper, chopped coriander and spring onions, 100g onions, 100g tomatoes, 50g green pepper, 50ml olive oil, 50g tomato purée, 200ml fish stock.
Cut, clean and season the fish fillets with garlic, salt, lemon and pepper. Allow to marinate for half an hour. Sauté the garlic in the oil, add onion, tomatoes, peppers, fish stock, and chopped coriander and spring onions. Do not let the vegetables soften much. Remove from heat. Place half the sautéed mixture on the tile; add the seasoned fish, and the rest of the sautéed mix. Put the tile on the fire for cooking. Serve with fish ‘pirão’ (roux made from manioc flour and fish stew), rice and pepper sauce.
1 kg sugar, 1 kg cupuaçu pulp, 1 litre water, 150g roasted chopped nuts, 150g gratednuts, 50g butter, cellophane, aluminium foil.
Place water and cupuaçu pulp in a pot and boil it for half an hour to remove the acidity, then drain. Add the sugar and the grated nuts and cook, stirring constantly to avoid burning, until the mix it thick enough to not stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the roasted chopped nuts, spread on a greased surface, roll rod-shaped (about 20cm long), wrap with paper and then cut.
Cupuaçu Sweet Compote
1 kg sugar, 1 kg cupuaçu pulp, 1 cinnamon stick, five cloves, 250ml water.
Make a syrup with sugar and water, add the chopped cupuaçu pulp, the cinnamon stick and cloves. Cook until it becomes the colour of the caramel. Allow to cool and place in a big container.
3kg duck, 3 litres of tucupi, 4 packs of Jambu, 2 tbsp (tablespoons) vinegar, 4 limes, 1 bunch chicory, 1 bunch basil, 100gonion, 10g chilli, 10g garlic (crushed), 10g black pepper and cumin, 10g tomato, 50g Amazon pepper (‘pimentacheirosa’).
Clean the duck well, cut it in the middle (vertically), and wash with lemon. Mix garlic, salt and vinegar together and marinate duck for 1-2 hours. Put it in a hot oven to roast. Once roasted, cut into medium sized pieces and leave aside. Place tucupi, chicory, basil, a clove of garlic and three whole peppers in a large saucepan. Cook for 40 minutes, adding water slowly. Clean the jambu, leaving the small branches. Wash and cook in a separate pan for 15 to 20 minutes and drain. Place the duck in the tucupi and cook till meat is soft. Add the onion and sliced tomatoes. Then add the jambu and simmer for 5 minutes. Crush the rest of the peppers and drain to make the sauce, adding three tablespoons of tucupi. Serve hot with white rice and the pepper sauce.
Recife, 22 july 2003.
(Updated on 24 august 2009).
Translated by Peter Leamy, February 2012.
LIMA, Claudia. Tachos e panelas: etnografia da cozinha brasileira. Recife: Ed. da Autora, 1999.
LODY, Raul. O sabor da natureza: o gosto do Norte. In: CULINÁRIA amazônica: o sabor da natureza. Rio de Janeiro: Ed. Senac Nacional, 2000. p. 17-41.
ORICO, Oswaldo. Cozinha amazônica: uma autobiografia do paladar. [Belém]: Universidade Federal do Pará, 1972.
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Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Amazon Cuisine. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009