Salgadinhos: Salty Brazilian Treats
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Pão de Queijo
Salgado Means "Salty"
Salgadinho (sal-gah-dee-ño) means "little salty" (Brazilians love to use the diminutive, which is really cute). There are lots of little salty treats that have individual names, but the umbrella term for them all is salgadinhos. You find them in bakeries, small cafés and grocery stores. They are popular as quick snacks or to serve at parties (birthdays, showers, holidays). I have tried many of them and these are my favorites:
1. Pastel - (pas-tel) Like a turnover with a thin, fried crust. The most common is pastel de carne (filled with seasoned ground beef with onion and sliced olives, sometimes even chopped boiled egg). There is also frango e catupiry (seasoned chicken with a creamy cheese), camarão (shrimp), and if you're lucky- bacalhau (codfish). When made well, the dough is light and crisp on the outside and the filling is full of deliciousness.
2. Coxinha - (kosh-ee-ña) Shaped like a fat teardrop, this cooked dough is first dipped in beaten egg, then breadcrumbs, then fried. Inside is a pocket of seasoned shredded chicken with usually diced onion and sliced olives. Coxinha is best eaten hot or warm with a drop of tobasco sauce for each yummy bite.
3. Rissole - (ree-sole) Basically the same dough as the coxinha, also breaded and fried, but shaped into a half moon and filled with meat, shrimp, or bacalhau (like the pastel). My mother used to make these whenever we were invited to parties, bridal showers, or baby showers. My sisters and I love them.
4. Pão de Queijo - (pow-dee-kay-sho) Cheese bread. Little rolls that are crusty on the outside and very soft (and humid) on the inside. Perfect as a snack or with a meal (like a big salad). We found a street vendor that sells them for as cheap as ,50¢ each!
Well, I hope that my attempt at adding pronounciation helps when you come to Brazil and want to try these salty treats. NONE of them are very healthy because they are fried (except for the pão de queijo, which is baked). They aren't exactly low fat or low-cal, either. I don't recommend eating them on a regular basis, but once in a while- go ahead and indulge!!! Remember, moderation is KEY to good health (and a good figure). Thank you for reading!
C. De Melo
Author & Artist