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One of the defining features of eating out in the capital over the past few years has been the Street Food scene in London. From workers exchanging stale sandwiches for fresh cooked lunches from their local market to the popularity of a street feast on a Friday night, it has transformed the way we socialize. Chefs in London once came to cook in restaurants, now true foodies are brought up on the streets. Bak, Breddos, Tand Lucky Chip were so popular they’ve set up permanent shop.
Keen to feature some Street Food on surrey K I booked onto a course at Leiths School of Food and Wine with Brazilian chef Jorge Baumhauer da Silva. Talented Jorge is head chef of the Brazilian embassy in London.
Jorge began his career as a chef in the military back home in Brazil. It’s not only his passion for Brazilian food that makes him so engaging as a teacher, it’s also his zany sense of humour. In true Jorge style he said his military career in Brazil was short-lived as he was deemed too fat to be a soldier and was sent to the kitchens instead, and so began his illustrious career as a chef. When he eventually came to London he studied at Kings college in London where he still teaches today.
(No vegetarians allowed! lol!)
Acaraje, Dried shrimp Vatapa & Molho a Campanha
(Black-eyed bean fritters with shrimp and salsa)
Espetinhos de Picanha
(Picanha skewers with cassava, bacon and salsa)
Beijinhos de Coco
(Caramel & Coconut truffles)
Brazilian Street Food requires a high level of skill so I’ve decided to split my write up of the course over two blog posts. In this blog post I will focus on the Black-eyed bean fritters with shrimp and salsa.
Acaraje, Dried shrimp Vatapa & Molho a Campanha
(All of the recipes featured in my blog post are Jorge’s own.)
3oog of black-eyed beans
100g of white onion
salt to taste
1 tbsp of palm oil
half scotch bonnet chilli or any medium heat chilli
Vatapa – filling
100g of dried shrimp
200g white bread
100g shallots finely chopped
30g of garlic puree or 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 tbsp of freshly grated ginger
100ml of coconut milk
30 ml of palm oil
250ml of prawns or chicken stock,
Molho a Campanha
1 x finely diced tomato – deseeded
1/2 medium-sized red onion finely diced
1/4 of red bell pepper finely diced
2 x sprigs coriander – leaves only – finely chopped
2 x steams spring onion finely chopped – green part only
50 ml virgin olive oil
juice of 2 limes and zest of 1
half scotch bonnet finely chopped (optional for extra kick)
pinch of ground cumin
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
- Soak the black-eyed beans over night, while soaking gently rub the beans between your hands for the outer skins to come away from the grain. Discard the skins. This step can be done way in advance and the skinned beans can be stored in the freezer for future use. Allow more soaking time if needed, ideally all the skins should come off.
- Drain the beans and add to a food processor with the raw onions, and blitz to a smooth paste, do it in small batches. If the dough is too dry to process to a smooth paste, add a little of water to the blender in every batch, but not too much, just enough that the blender blades do its work. For the last batch add the palm oil, scotch bonnet and coriander leaves and salt.
- Transfer the mix to a big bowl and with an electric mixer or whisk beat the dough for 10 minutes to air the mix, this is to make your fritters fluffy in texture. Keep the dough in the fridge until you are ready to fry them.
- Using a food processor, blitz the bread and dried shrimps into a fine crumb.
- Add the Palm oil to a large pan and place over a medium-high heat. add the garlic, ginger and chopped shallots, sauce for five minutes, add the bread and shrimp crumbs, combine all well, slowly add the stock and the coconut milk, let the crumb slowly absorb the liquid and thick the mix.
- It’s best to add the liquid and crumbs slowly so you adjust the quantity as you are cooking, you want a nice thick consistency. Once you get the desired consistency, correct the seasoning to taste. Keep it warm until you need it.
- Place some vegetable oil in a deep pan let it get hot, with the help of two table spoons, scoop the dough in between them shaping a “quenelle”, drop in the hot oil, fry the fritters for about 3 minutes each side, they will be ready when golden in colour – place them over some kitchen paper to drain the excess oil.
- Get all the chopped ingredients for the MOLHO A CAMPANHA into a bowl, fold with the olive oil and lemon juice, add the dried seasoning, salt to taste and reserve until you need.
(Note, this salsa should be put together just a few minutes before you need it for fresher flavour.
9. Carefully cut a slit across the longest side of the Acaraje and spoon some of the Vatapa into each one and lots of the salsa campanula over it. Serve immediately!
Arcaje dough is super healthy as it’s gluten-free. This is also part of the success of street food in London, you can have take out but eat clean too.
I’ve never made fermented dough. The whole experience was bizarre to me. Dough that looks like risotto (what!) It even smells and tastes a little like prawn risotto. This is what I mean about Jorge’s classes being zany and engaging. It’s bit like an accomplished saxophonist taking you places in jazz that you didn’t quite expect to be taken.
A top tip is to blitz the dough and black-eyed beans with spices. If the dough is fermented properly the texture will be much more fluffy.
You can add chicken, prawns, shrimp to the Vatapa to liven things up. Lots of street food is made with seafood and meat in Brazil (good luck surviving the streets of Brazil if you are vegetarian/vegan lol!).
This starter is so filling that Brazilian housewives will serve as an aperitif before a BBQ to show off their cooking skills or as a main course at home. This is a very traditional dish found across the whole of Brazil.
Jorge used as a phrase I loved as he was cooking this dish – “bringing me back home”. His passion for authentic Brazilian food is captivating if not a little loveable at the same time which makes him an unforgettable teacher. You’ll not be disappointed if you book a class at Leith’s with this guy, I promise you!
Palm oil – Palm oil is the cheapest and most common cooking oil in Brazil. Found in all homes across the country it’s one of Brazil’s biggest exporters. Other countries who are also big players in the export of Palm oil include Malaysia and the Philippines. ALWAYS use palm oil for this recipe otherwise it’s like Sunday roast without the Beef – The dish just won’t be there without the Palm oil!
The next Brazilian Street Food course at Leith’s is on Saturday 1st September 2018. Do not miss out!
Watch this space for more of Jorge’s Brazilian Street Food course at Leiths!
Also as I am a total literary geek we might as well celebrate Brazillian literature as well as Brazillian food with one of my favourite quotes from the great Angelica Calheiros.
“I am very careful about who I choose to build memories with. Some of them might last a lifetime.”