Brazilian Crunchy Topping (Farofa)

Portugal’s 16th century quest to dominate the lucrative spice trade merged the cuisines of its colonies with native ingredients to form new dishes. Farofa is a perfect example. The Portuguese flavored breadcrumb side dish called migas met fufu, the ground cassava root and dengue (red palm oil) of West Africa. They then brought that to the northeast coast of Brazil where ground cassava was replaced by toasted flour made from the local manioc root and flavored with pork products.

That journey of Portuguese migas to West Africa and ultimately Brazil has created the iconic farofa, loved everywhere throughout the country. It sits alongside pretty much everything like Brazil’s national dish feijoada and the vegetables and grilled meats of a currasca (Brazilian BBQ).

It can be served lightly flavored as crunchy topping or as a fully flavored side dish with bacon, onion, and linguica sausage.

Farofa – Toasted Cassava Flour

Farofa is a traditional side in Brazil with many variations depending on region. It is similar to Portuguese migas but it is less a moist side dish and more a dry crunchy topping. Farofa is usually sprinkled on top of savory dishes like roasted meats, rice, beans, stews, and sausages. This recipe is very basic but can be enhanced with bacon, sausage, greens, eggs, bananas, or raisins. Cassava flour (aka manioc or Yuca flour) can be found online, and at international, Latin, and African markets.
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Course: Condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine: Brazil, South American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Author: My Hungry Traveler

Equipment

  • Skillet

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 medium Onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • cup Toasted yuca, manioc, or cassava flour
  • ¼ tsp Ground coriander
  • ½ tsp Smoked paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup Scallions, finely chopped

Instructions

  • Melt butter and oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When foamy, add onions and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Stir in remaining dry ingredients and cook until golden brown, around 7-9 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, stir in scallions, and serve.

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