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World Cup food from Brazil: Shrimp balls

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Editors Note: As the eyes of the world are focused on the World Cup and Brazil, maybe now would be a good time to look at some of the food of this soccer-crazed nation. One of South America's culinary capitals, the food of Brazil is as varied and original as each f the countries vying for the acclaimed World Cup! To celebrate the food, we have gone back into the Examiner archives for a few dishes presented by best-selling cookbook author and chef, Larry Edwards when he wrote about Brazilian food for the Brazilian holiday known as Carnival.

When you consider than half of the nation of Brazil sits on the shores of the mighty Atlantic Ocean, you can bet your life they have some exceptional seafood dishes. Shrimp Balls are actually quite a popular dish throughout Brazil and for a very good reason, they are simply delicious! Think of them as the Brazilian version of the always popular (and always artery clogging) little gems of premature death called popcorn chicken you can buy to take years off your life from KFC -- albeit these are more natural, healthy and better tasting.

If you're lazy and think you can get away with making this dish using that "stuff" in cans they call shrimp, you're right, you can. You will have a disgusting taste, a tragic texture and an all-around dismal time eating them but if you've had too many beers, you probably would care anyway.

When these morsels of munchdome are indeed prepared properly, using fresh shrimp, you will be in for one incredible taste treat. They are very easy to prepare and you don't have to worry about any strange ingredients. Everything you need can be found in your local market.

Ingredients needed to make Shrimp Balls (makes about 24 balls, depending on size):

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. minced cilantro
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • Peanut oil for frying

Steps:

  1. In a medium saute pan or skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp, onion, spices and cilantro and cook 5 minutes.
  2. Into the saute pan stir in the flour and milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and stir the mixture until it begins to pull away from the pan (in other words, you want a gloppy mess).
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.
  4. Into a shallow plate add the breadcrumbs.
  5. Remove enough of the shrimp mixture (glop) to form 2-inch balls. Roll each ball in the breadcrumbs to coat. Set the balls aside 15 minutes.
  6. In a medium saute pan or skillet, add a couple inches of peanut oil and bring to 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer (or use a deep-fryer).
  7. Add the balls, in batches if necessary, and fry until they are golden brown.
  8. Remove from the pan and let drain on paper towels of excess oil.

The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."

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