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Maniçoba

One of the most famous dishes of Northern Brazil’s cuisine, maniçoba has indigenous origins and seems, at first glance, like feijoada.

Maniçoba

Article available in: PT-BR

Last update: 26/03/2020

By: Júlia Morim - N/I

One of the most famous dishes of Northern Brazil’s cuisine, maniçoba has indigenous origins and seems, at first glance, like feijoada. This similarity is due to the use of pork in the preparation and colouration of the dish. However, there are some significant differences, starting with its very constitution. In place of cooked black beans, maniçoba is a delicacy made with cassava leaves, known as ‘maniva’ in the Northern states. Its name comes from the Tupi “mandi'sowa”, which means cassava leaf. The first records of the word date back to the early seventeenth century, a time when Indians were subjected to catechesis of the Jesuits, who in turn sampled and spread the incomparable flavours of native cuisine. Thanks to this appreciation, maniçoba has spanned centuries and generations and to this day remains a special and unique dish, one of the gastronomic, affective and cultural heritages of the North.

Its preparation is not hasty. As maniva is a poisonous leaf, it takes a few steps and much zeal on the part of the chef for the dish to begin to get ready. First, the leaf is rinsed and crushed or ground and put in a pan with plenty of water for at least seven days. This process serves to remove the hydrogen cyanide present in the leaf. Those more traditional, say that the maniva must be soaked for up to two weeks until it is added to the other ingredients, and then the maniçoba cooking process begins. Pork and beef are added to the broth, which by now has lost its original green leaves and gained blackened tones. It is important to note that a maniçoba should, in fact, resemble feijoada: if the leaves are still green, it is a sign that the cooking time was less than a week and, therefore, eating the dish is not recommended.

A mandatory item in the festive meals or popular celebrations that involve thousands of people in the region, such as the Círio de Nazaré, held annually in October in Belém, the capital of Pará, maniçoba is usually served with white rice, manioc flour and tucupi sauce with hot peppers. Tradition dictates that the delicacy come to the table in clay pots or on china plates. The second-most well-known dish of northern Brazil (the first is tucupi duck), it can be seasoned with garlic, salt, bay leaves and pepper. Some, in order to enhance the exotic flavour of the dish, add an average-sized bowl of pure Brazil nut milk, preferably freshly harvested.

Another piece of advice that residents of the North usually give is to use the thorough process to prepare large portions of maniçoba at once. A recipe for a lot of people needs the following quantities: 2 panniers of manioc; 2kg (each) of bacon, pig’s feet, pig’s ears, pig’s tongues, pig’s tails, pork loins and pork ribs (all salted); 1.5kg of sausage; 1.5kg of chorizo; 1.5kg of pork sausage; 4kg of beef tripe and another 4kg of beef jerky.
 

Maniçoba is to the north of the country what acarajé is to Bahia, cajuína is to Piauí or tapioca is to Pernambuco. It is more than a traditional delicacy or a striking dish on the regional menu; it is a component of History, it is a reminder of the ancestors, it is proof that traditions survive if they are maintained with love and affection. Its preparation, its consumption and the perpetuation of its recipe, albeit with occasional differences in the region’s states, indicate its relevance in the lives of residents. The existence of maniçoba in daily life is a sign of belonging and pride in the North’s identity.

Recife, 28 May 2014.
Translated by Peter Leamy, March 2015.
 

sources consulted

MANIÇOBA. In: PORTAL da Amazônia. Available at:<http://www.portalamazonia.com.br/secao/amazoniadeaz/interna.php?id=921>.
Accessed: 27 maio 2014.

MANIÇOBA, a rainha da mesa paraense. Revista Nosso Pará, Belém. Available at<http://www.orm.com.br/tvliberal/revistas/npara/edicao8/manicoba.htm>.
Accessed: 27 maio 2014.

MANIÇOBA, o prato típico do Círio de Nazaré. In: R7 Entretenimento. 9 out. 2009. Available at:
<http://entretenimento.r7.com/receitas-e-dietas/noticias/manicoba-o-prato-tipico-do-cirio-de-nazare-20091009.html>.
Accessed: 27 maio 2014.

REZENDE, Cláudia Moraes de. Ácido cianídrico, espilantol, tucupi, jambú e maniçoba: a complexa química da cozinha paraense. In: UNIVERSIDADE FEDERAL DO RIO DE JANEIRO. Instituto de Química. Available at:<http://www.iq.ufrj.br/descomplicando-a-quimica/330-acido-cianidrico-espilantol-tucupi-
jambu-e-manicoba-a-complexa-quimica-da-cozinha-paraense.html
>. Accessed: 27 maio 2014.

how to quote this text

Fonte: MORIM, Júlia. Maniçoba. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife. Available at: <https://pesquisaescolar.fundaj.gov.br/en/>. Accessed: day month year. Ex: 6 ago. 2009.