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Bahian Cuisine

Bahian cuisine is plural, rich and varied.

Bahian Cuisine

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 27/09/2013

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

Bahian cuisine is plural, rich and varied. The great contribution of black slaves to Bahian cuisine is palm oil and pepper -chili pepper and Ataré pepper– brought by Africans. Palm oil in Bahia is used everywhere, from farofa (seasoned manioc flour) to beans. The sweets and desserts, however, are mostly of Portuguese influence, whose recipes were brought by the clergy (nuns) and Portuguese families, as black people were not familiar with them. Among other delights, worth mentioning are: alféola, ambrosia, cookies, cassava cake, baba-de-moça(coconut and condensed milk pudding), cocadas(coconut and sugar bars) with papaya, pineapple or peanuts, tapioca pudding, queijadinha(small cake with cheese and grated coconut), jams made of oranges, yellow mombin and cashew. An indigenous contribution is also noticed in Bahia, as it is elsewhere in Brazil, with corn dishes like canjica(a type of solid corn pudding), corn pudding and corn porridge. The fame and value of Bahian cuisine is due in large part to thefamous quituteiras(black women that cook food on the streets), with their famous delicacies like acarajé (fried bean dumpling),abará (bean cakes), shrimp bobó, pigweed, vatapá(a type of roux), chicken xinxim, hauçárice, efó, sarapatel (pig offal cooked in blood) and the Bahia feijoada (bean stew with mulatinho beans used instead of the black beans in other parts of the country).

Typical Recipes From Bahian Cuisine


1200g of okra; 120ml palm oil, 60g cashew nuts, 40g peanut, 80g ground dried shrimp, 120g onions, ½ teaspoon (tsp) grated ginger, salt to taste.

Cut the okra pods or pass them througha processor. Mixthe onion in a blender and set aside. Blend thedried shrimp, peanuts, cashews and ginger. Sautéthe dried shrimp and onionin oil palm. Soon after, add the remaining crushed ingredients. Add the okra and fish broth to cook. Stir constantly until a pasty consistency ensues. Serves: 6 portions. Cooking time: 35 min.

Papaya Cocada *

1 kg of shredded green papaya, 200g shredded coconut, 600g white sugar, 1 litre of water, 3 cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks.

Peel the papaya, remove seeds and grate. Mix with the grated coconut. Make a syrup with water and sugar. Once ready, add the grated papaya and coconut, cloves and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer, stir constantly until the right viscosity.

* Recipes from the book A culinária baiana no restaurante do Senac Pelourinho (Bahian Cuisine from Pelourinho SENAC Restaurant), 1999.



Recife, 22 July 2003.
(Updated on 24 august 2009).
Translated by Peter Leamy, February 2012.

sources consulted

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.


how to quote this text

Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Bahian Cuisine. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at:  <>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009