African traditions, as historically the state was one of the centers of sugar cane production, which required intensive slave labor. Some of the signal ingredients of this spicy cuisine are shrimps, both fresh and dried, black-eyed peas, coconut milk, cilantro and the oil of the dendezeiro palm tree, called dendê.
I love making risotto, and am able to source authentic Italian arborio rice here in Fortaleza. I visited Fortaleza's seaside fish market yesterday, and found some wonderful fresh wild shrimp. I bought a kilo of them, headless but still in their shells for approx. $4.00 a pound. After deciding to use them in a shrimp risotto, I thought of finishing off the risotto with some of the flavors of Bahia, to create an Italo-Bahian shrimp risotto. I used cilantro, coconut milk and dendê. The result was delicious, and though not completely Brazilian in inspiration, the flavors (and colors) of Brazil enhanced the dish. The recipe can be found in the post to follow.