Whats Cookin' Mama: A community blog

Follow Kristi Ondo's adventures feeding her little family! Neither Kristi nor her husband are chefs, but they enjoy cooking fun new recipes and raising their daughter.

Cuscuz Paulista

Written by Kristi Ondo, Community blogger | Oct 1, 2012 7:19 PM

Last week I made one of our favorite salmon dishes.  While I was sharing with our exchange student the difference that evening: rice instead of couscous, she became excited.  She asked to see the couscous I would have made.  When I showed her the raw couscous, she laughed.  I understood the laughter after I saw a picture of “her” cuscuz. 

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 This was our finished product.

Brazilian cuscuz is nothing like what we know as couscous.  To begin with, couscous is a pasta that you can flavor.  Cuscuz is a dish, a dish with a page-long list of ingredients.  I know this because we all took to the internet to search out a translated recipe to make. 

We found one at the Brazil-Consulate.org that seemed doable, if not a little involved for a weeknight meal.  It starts with cooking chicken and making a stock.  It ends with pouring a sauce mixture into a mold I did not own.  After a trip to the store for the ingredients (and a brand new Bundt pan), we were good to go! 

The chicken stock, chicken, and hard boiled eggs were all made the night before to cut down on prep and cooking time.  Evie got right to work peeling eggs, Maria was in charge of the garnishes, while Mark took pictures in between dicing vegetables.  Meanwhile, I got the bacon (mmmm…bacon) going in the pan. 

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The ingredient and task list is daunting, but in reality, it isn’t too difficult once you get the prep work done.  We all had fun making it together, which is what really counts.  Mark and I also tried hearts of palm for the first time, as did Evie.  It was a hit with two out of three.  Maria and Evie did a lovely job placing the garnishes in the pan ahead of the cuscuz.
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Maria helped with the final steps with the sauce, adding the tapioca flour and then corn meal.  It was only later after further research we discovered that we should have used corn flour, not American corn meal, but all in all, it turned out okay. It did however get somewhat difficult to stir, so we had to call in reinforcements.

DSC_0125.JPGDSC_0129.jpgAfter the mixture gets to the point that it is formable, you then place it into the bundt pan and pack it down.

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With our Brazilian sous chef, we did our best.  We all had a lot of fun cooking together and learning about a new dish.  We've ordered some cookbooks with Brazilian recipes so we can make Maria dishes from home and she can help us learn how! 

DSC_0143.JPGMaria said it was good, not exactly like home, but we got close!

Published in Cookin Mama

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