Thursday, April 26, 2012

RECIPE - Water Farofa (Farofa d' Água)

Most recipes for farofa, the Brazilian side-dish made from dry manioc flour toasted with some form of oil or far, aim for a finished dish in which the grains of manioc flour remain separate and retain the particular gritty, sandy crunch of the flour itself. The grain is heated with enough flavored oil and seasonings to give the dish some character, but not enough to cause the grains to clump together.

There is one very old and very traditional recipe for farofa that doesn't abide by the "keep it dry and keep the grains separate" rule of thumb. It's called Farofa d' Água and it adds one step to the traditional recipe. After toasting the manioc flour with oil or far, a relatively small amount of water is added to the pan and the dish is cooked until the water is absorbed. The additional of water causes the grains of manioc to plump up, soften and begin to stick together. The result is a texture something like a poultry stuffing, very different from garden variety farofa.

Farofa d' Água is eaten everywhere in Brazil, but it's particularly popular in the Northeast. Just as with the other recipes for farofa that Flavors of Brazil has been presenting the last few days, it's most commonly served with grilled or roasted fish or meat. It also makes an excellent side dish for meats or fishes cooked in a sauce.
RECIPE - Water Farofa (Farofa d' Água)
Serves 4

2 cups farinha (dry manioc flour)
2 Tbsp butter
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup green onion, green parts only, chopped
salt to taste

 Melt the butter in a large, preferably cast-iron frying pan. When the butter is hot and begins to bubble, add the chopped red onion and cook just until the onion is softened. Add the manioc in a steady stream, stirring constantly with a wooden or silicon spoon, making sure that all the grains are covered with butter. Toast for a minute or so, then reduce the heat and slowly pour in the water, stirring constantly to moisten all the grains. Cook for just a minute more, or until the grains are softened and begin to clump together.

Remove from heat, season with salt as desired, and stir in the chopped cilantro and green onions. Serve in a decorative bowl as accompaniment to a main dish of meat or fish.

Recipe translated and adapted from Nordestinos na Cozinha.


  1. I have to agree, I kind of like this one the best. Probably due to all that turkey stuffing I used to gobble down when I was a kid!

  2. Hi James!

    I love your blog by the way. It's incredible the frequency and quality of your posts. As someone living in Brazil, I love that you get down the regional differences in food.

    I actually had a question: Do you know the difference between polvilho used to make tapioca (the pancake you buy on the street) and farinha de tapioca (which you used to make cuzcuz de tapioca)? Everyone says that they are different, but I swear that farinha de tapioca is just cooked tapioca crumbled up. Do you know?

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