Saturday, November 26, 2011
As mentioned in yesterday's post, bolinhos are typical Brazilian bar snacks, and are probably nowhere more popular than they are in Rio. We don't know of any statistical study of bolinho-recipe popularity, but we'd venture a guess that the most popular of all bolinhos in Rio is the classic bolinho de bacalhau, made from salt-cod. Bolinho de aipim must run a close second, however.
As we mentioned yesterday, the typical bolinho recipe includes some form of protein plus some type of carbohydrate. In this recipe, the protein is mozzarella cheese (the chewy, rubbery pizza type, not fresh or soft mozzarella) and the carbohydrate is the manioc.
Properly made, bolinho de aipim is light and fluffy and is best served piping hot, right out of the deep fryer. Best accompaniments are a wedge of fresh lime and a good hot sauce. And, it goes without saying, a cold, cold beer to wash it down.
Fresh manioc root can be found in many Latin American and African food stores. It's variously called manioc, cassava, yuca, aipim or macaxeira depending on the ethnic community the store caters too.
RECIPE- Manioc Fritters (Bolinho de Aipim)
makes 20 bolinhos
2 lbs (1 kg) precooked manioc, mashed and cooled
2 whole eggs
1 Tbsp butter
salt to taste
6 oz. (200 gr.) pizza-style mozzarella, cut into small cubes
dry bread crumbs
fresh vegetable oil for deep frying
In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed manioc, one egg lightly beaten, the butter and salt to taste. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
Using wet hands shape the mixture into small balls. Place each ball in the center of the palm of your hand, press in the center to make an indentation, then place one cube of cheese in the indentation. With your hands reform the ball around the cheese cube, sealing it in well. Reserve the balls on a smooth counter surface or cookie sheet.
In one deep soup plate lightly beat the remaining egg and in a second one add about 1 inch of dried bread crumbs. Pass each ball through the beaten egg first, then roll them in the bread crumbs. Return them to the counter or cookie sheet and reserve.
Heat the deep-fryer to recommended temperature for doughnuts. When hot add a few balls at a time to the hot oil - do not crowd them. When they are golden on all sides, remove from the oil and drain on several layers of paper towel. Continue with the remaining balls, frying in batches.
As soon as all the balls are cooked serve them immediately.