Flavors of Brazil are, bigtime, even though we know that creaming the spinach reduces its nutritional value significantly and piles on the calories. But it's sooo delicious.
This Brazilian recipe for the green known as bredo or caruru in Portuguese and green amaranth in English is in the creamed spinach family of recipes - greens cooked for a longish time in a creamy, fatty liquid. It's just as delicious as its steakhouse sidedish from the USA.
It's well-loved in northeastern Brazil, wherever African culinary traditions predominate, and in the state of Pernambuco, it's intimately associated with the Good Friday meal. Pernabucanans don't consider the Good Friday buffet table complete without a big bowl of amaranth in coconut milk, or bredo do coco as they call it.
Unless you live in the tropics, you'll not likely find a good source of green amaranth leaves. However, this dish is wonderful, maybe just as wonderful, made with spinach or any other substantial green, like collard greens, beet greens or mustard greens. The substitution of coconut milk for the cream used in creamed spinach also means that the dish can be served to vegans.
RECIPE - Amaranth in Coconut Milk (Bredo do Coco)
2 large bunches amaranth (or other substantial green)
1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
handful chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
Wash the green thorough, then remove thick stems if present. Put into a large bowl, then pour boiling water over to scald and remove sap. Drain and rinse. Reserve.
In a large deep frying pan heat the olive oil, then saute the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is soft and transparent but not browned. Add the tomatoes, cook at medium temperature until the tomato breaks up and a sauce forms. Add the cilantro, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the reserved greens and cook, stirring frequently for about ten minutes, or until the greens are very soft. Add the coconut milk, raise heat and bring just to a boil.
Remove from heat, pour into decorative serving bowl and serve immediately.