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World Cup food from Brazil: Tapioca bread

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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.

Carnival is the worlds largest party. No matter where you go in Rio you will run across revelers offering you drinks, food and other such inspiring goodies to help you make it through the festivities. A few years ago when I was part-taking in the festivities I was offered a plate of these incredible golf ball-size breads and in a rather strange voice this person told me, in broken English, they were called Tapioca Bread. I starred at him. Not because the breads looked beyond incredible but he looked exactly like Britney Spears! Yes, this is Carnival, not just the worlds biggest party, but the grandest drag queen show on earth and no offense to Ms. Spears but this guy had her down better than she has her own self down!

...but back to the bread. I fell in love with this bread and I couldn't find a recipe which matched what I ate on this night that I remember not that well. It wasn't until about one year ago when I was conversing with a Brazilian Chef that I was able to find a recipe which came pretty damn close to the bread that won me over and I am going to share it with you in the hopes you will enjoy it as much as I did (and still do).

Ingredients needed for Brazilian Tapioca Bread (makes about 30 pieces):

  • 2/3 cup corn oil
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 cups tapioca flour (found in most supermarkets)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat stir together the corn oil and milk and bring to a boil.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk the tapioca flour to remove any lumps.
  4. Stir the hot milk mixture into the tapioca flour until just combined.
  5. Once the mixture has cooled slightly, stir in the eggs and Parmesan cheese until a soft dough forms.
  6. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into a ball (about the size of a golf ball).
  7. Place the breads on the prepared baking sheet.
  8. Place in the oven and bake 20 minutes or until golden in color.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.

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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