What a coup for Brazil (Brasil) to be able to host the Summer Olympic Games.
In the early 1960s during my scattered global childhood, my family and I had the glorious misfortune to spend a few years in this huge Latin American country; the only country in South America where the official language is Portuguese.
Glorious, because of the white sand beaches, beautiful old colonial period architecture, the warm friendly people, the relaxed lifestyle and the Brazilians’ love of music, especially Samba. Even at such a young age, I fell in love with the regional cuisine.
The misfortune was because in 1960, three months after our arrival, yet another military dictator seized the reins of power in Brazil. What little I saw of it made a lasting impression upon me.
I was 11 years old at the time, and at that age children try to accept what life hands them and cope as best they can. New school, new climate, new city; my younger brother and I had enough to cope with and life went on.
We were living in Salvador, Bahia, a fairly large city on the eastern elbow of South America that is closest to Africa. This was where slaves were brought from Africa when the country was a Portuguese Colony.
This week, here in Colorado, I have so enjoyed seeing the Opening Ceremonies in Rio de Janeiro and various Olympic events involving Brazilian atheletes.
A few days ago, it was especially exciting to see Brazil, the self confessed under dog in a soccer match with the team from Denmark. The Brazilans handily beat Denmark 4-0.
As I write this, the Brazilian soccer team has just beaten their arch rival for decades, the team from Colombia. The final score was 2-0.
I have a cookbook that my mother purchased back in 1960, entitled “Cooking with Ease in English and Portuguese.”
I have a particular favorite, with ingredients readily available in the United States. It is not spicy and very easy to prepare.
These days my son Dan Hesselgrave works the restaurant side at Bronco Billy’s Casino here in Cripple Creek, Colorado and when he described the ingredients to his co-workers, they were quite intrigued and thought it sounded delicious.
So, here’s the recipe.
Shrimps a Bahiana (Shrimps ah bi-YAH-na)
I prefer to use medium or large frozen cooked shrimp, peeled with tails on. It is also easiest to get the rest of the ingredients ready ahead of time.
I like this dish served over rice, which can be started before you begin.
1 Lb. cooked shrimp
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
Chopped parsley, Cilantro and Fresh Basil to taste
2 dozen or so grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 Tablespoon flour
1 or 2 minced fresh jalapenos
Juice of half a lemon
1 clove minced garlic
1. Thaw the shrimp, rinse and pat dry.
2. In a large frying pan, sauté the onion and jalapeno in the olive oil then
add the chopped garlic.
3. Sprinkle the flour over the cooking onion mixture and
stir gently until flour is incorporated.
4. Stir in the shrimp and lemon juice.
5. Pour in the coconut milk and stir to blend.
6. Gently stir in the tomatoes, parsley, cilantro and basil.
I hope you enjoy this Brazilian seafood specialty as much as I do. Ciao!