Monday, December 13, 2010

On the Road - Maranhão (Pt. 11) - RECIPE Caldeirada Maranhense

One of Brazil's legion of seafood stews or chowders, caldeirada maranhense (Maranhão Chowder) is an iconic dish of traditional cuisine in the state of Maranhão. Click here to read about caldeirada as it's served in Restaurante Antigamente in São Luís.

This recipe, although it is not from Antigamente, is a typical version of the dish. Like recipes for many old-time, traditional dishes it should serve as a general guideline to the essential elements of the dish and need not be followed slavishly. The dish existed long before cooks bothered with precise measurements of ingredients and every cook has his or her own way of making it. So feel free to alter at will - Flavors of Brazil can guarantee it will be delicious. That is, unless you decide to add chocolate, or strawberries! Of course, then it would no longer be caldeirada maranhense.
RECIPE Caldeirada Maranhense
Serves 2 (generously)

1/2 lb (250 gr) medium or large shrimps, peeled and deveined
1/2 lb (250 gr) firm white fish (halibut, sirigado or similar), cut into 1 inch (2 cm) cubes
juice of one large lime
salt to taste
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
1 small green or red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 chili pepper (japaleno, serrano or other) seeded and finely diced
1/2 cup (125 ml) tomato sauce
1 cup (250 ml) water
2 medium potatoes, peeled, pre-boiled
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
1/2 cup (125 ml) thick coconut milk
1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup green onion, green part only, finely chopped
Rinse the shrimp and fish in cold fresh water, then season with salt and lime juice. Reserve.

In a large saucepan, or clay cooking bowl, heat the olive oil then add the chopped tomato, onion, bell pepper and chili pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are softened and the onions are transparent. Add the reserved shrimp and fish, the tomato sauce, water, potatoes and eggs and finally coconut milk. Mix thoroughly, bring quickly to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, mix in the parsley and green onion, then serve immediately accompanied with white rice.

Translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brasileira by Abril Editora

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