Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Brazil Festival NYC And Finding Inspiration To Cook At Home

I love finding inspiration for cooking when I am out and about on my wanderings. I have the good fortune to live in a city where there is never a shortage of inspiration  .

I visited the Brazilian festival in Little Brazil on 46th Street today. It was extremely crowded so photography was a little difficult but I wanted to share some of the sights. There was an huge amount of food vendors and I could have spent many hours just tasting the food. When I arrived home I decided to do some research on Brazilian street food so I could try something out. I came up with  Pastels which are fried pastries with various type of filling.

I decided to try making my own. The filling I made was a slightly thick chicken pot pie filling. Now the pastry is very easy to make but you do need Cachaça which is a Brazilian sugar cane liquor apparently you can replace it  with vodka. I had neither liquor but went ahead and made it anyway. These are probably far removed from what you’d buy in Rio but I had fun experimenting.

I found a dough recipe at Taste Of Brazil which this one is adapted from.
Pastel dough:
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoon of canola oil
1 tablespoon of Cachaça (Can also use Vodka)
1 tablespoon of white vinegar
About ½ cup warm water

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, add the oil, the liquor and vinegar, then the water, little by little until the dough is fully mixed smooth, but not wet. Knead the dough on a floured surface for a couple of minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in refigerator several hours or overnight. Roll out the dough so it’s a little thinner than a pie crust. Cut in the size and shape desired, usually its round or square.Put the filling in the center, fold and press the dough together so it won’t open, like when you do raviolis. Deep-fry the pastel in very hot oil, serve hot.
I think I may not have rolled them thinly enough and would be curious to see how different the dough would be if I added the liquor. That being said they really were quite good.
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