Monday, October 19, 2009

RECIPE - Caruru

Caruru, made with okra, dried shrimps, dendê oil, and ground cashews is a staple of Bahian cuisine. The cooking of Bahia derives many of its dishes from the African tradition, and caruru, or very similar dishes, can be found in West Africa, the Caribbean and the Southern US.

Caruru is a ritual food of the Candomblé religion, and is used as filling in the typical Bahian street-food acarajé. It also makes a delicious and substantial side-dish to any Bahian meal.

Click on "read more" for the recipe...


2 lbs. okra, trimmed and cut into small rounds
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 lb. dried small shrimp (found in Asian markets), ground in food processor
1/2 lb. roasted, unsalted, cashews, ground in food processor
3/4 cup dendê oil
juice of one lime
hot water

Heat the dendê oil in a large heavy saucepan, add the onion and garlic and fry until soft. Add the ginger and cook for an additional minute or two. Add the okra, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the okra is soft. Add the ground shrimp and cashews, and cook for an additional five minutes. Add water just to cover. Continue to cook at low temperature, checking consistency. If the dish becomes very thick and slippery, add the lime juice. Let cook until the okra seeds change color from white to rosy-pink, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.


  1. Sounds really good. What can you substitute for Dende oil?

  2. For flavor, unfortunately there is no substitute. Read about dende in this post, including info. on mail order purchase in USA and availability in Latin and African shops.

    For color only, you can substitute annatto oil.