Two dishes going out to Joanne (also known as the Energizer Bunny), for her Regional Recipes get together, featuring Brazil this month. Since I had black beans that needed to be used muy pronto. And, shrimpies in the freezer, whipping up some Feijoada to go with a Brazilian Shrimp Stew, was definitely doable.
The stew was slightly adapted from a recipe in Ruth Reichl's Gourmet Today, They substituted black pepper for the malagueta pepper and I used Hawaiian chili pepper. Also, an orange and a yellow bell pepper for the green one, being what I had on hand.
As far as dendê oil goes, with a bit of research, I realized that it is not a product of coconut palms or coconuts, as I had assumed, but of a particular African oil palm, Elaesis oleifera if we're being scientific, grown in Africa and in Brazil. The oil is thick, dark, reddish-orange (like the nuts) and strong-flavored. Extensively used in cooking in West Africa and in Brazil, particularly in Bahia. I love how trying the foods of other lands introduces us to flavors and ingredients we would never have known. Now, if only I can find some dendê oil, to try.. And, preferably without paying a $45 shipping charge. Using a bit of turmeric for the color was my substitution.
Moqueca de Camarao originates from the Brazilian state of Bahia, hot and tropical, as it is located below the equator. Most dishes from Bahia, called “comida baiana”, are very spicy, just as in many other hot places of the world. Probably to fire up our drooping taste buds. I think the Black Beans dish, or Feijoada, is popular all throughout Brazil, though it also originates from the south east of the country. In preparing that recipe I was inspired by a video demo at Cuca Brazuca. However, I didn't add in all the hog bits. Just a little Canadian Bacon for some pork flavor.
For lovely visuals of Bahia, Brazil, check out this site. You may decide to visit and try their food first hand.