By Lindenberg Junior

Tacaca from Pará State

I remember and miss the Sunday nights when I used to go to a small restaurant that served food and drink in the state of Pará, on the beach of Boa Viagem, in Recife, the city I was born. I would meet with some friends, drink Cerpa beer, and of course, enjoy an invigorating “caldo” (soup) to help me with the hangover of weekend parties. I am referring to a typical dish from the state of Pará, in the north of Brazil, called “Tacaca”. Traditionally from the Indians, this broth can easily be found in the streets of the city of Belém, in the tents of the famous “tacacazeiras”, the women who make tacacá.

The Tacacá is made from the tucupi juice, extracted from yucca and boiled with garlic and dandelion, dried shrimp, and goma (a mix made of a thin white dough resulting from washing the shredded yucca and jambu – considered by many as an aphrodisiac. It is traditionally served in bowls and accompanied by a type of Brazilian pepper sauce. Bellow you will find the recipe of Tacaca and also the recipes of Caldo Heart of Palm cream soup as well the Caldo Verde (Green Soup), two delicious and energetic Brazilian soups. Great for the winter season!

Tacacá

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of water
  • ½ cup of manioc flour
  • 1 pound of dried shrimp
  • 5 dandelion leaves
  • 4 heads of garlic – smashed
  • 2 bunches of jambu (*read the observation below)
  • 2 liters of Tucupi

* The jambu is also known in the North of Brazil as “agrião do Para”. Jambo is a vegetable which is very similar to the agrião (celery), although with smailer leaves, thicker and harder, and with stronger taste. As the jambu can be hard to find outside of Brazil, chopped ¼ bunch of green onions plus ¼ bunch of celery can be used instead.

Serves 6 portions / Calories: 140 per portion

How to prepare:

Put the tucupi in a pot with the garlic, the dandelion leaves, salt & pepper. Simmer. Once it boils, lower the flame, cover and let it simmer for 30 more minutes. Put aside, cook the jambu until soft. Remove from the fire, drain and leave aside. Wash the shrimp and cook in a pot with 4 cups of water. Let it boil for 5 minutes. Remove the head and skin. In a pot, mix the manioc flour with the shrimp water, cook and stir until it thickens. To give it the real touch, serve in a bowl with a spoon of tucupi, some jambu leaves and the shrimp.

Below you will find two extra soup recipes that remind me my mother and my childhood, especially in the rainy season (from June to August) of my hometown Recife.  The soup with the heart of palms is light and we usually served at night. Delicious and easy to make! The green soup (caldo verde) is a original Portuguese recipe that use kale as the base, giving it the green soup look. Both are creamy soups and is a great alternatives for a quick and light lunch.


Creamy Heart of Palms soup

Hearts of palm cream soup

 

Ingredients:

  • 250g of hearts of palm in conserve
  • 1 teaspoon of light margarine
  • 1 medium onion sheered
  • 1 garlic head smashed
  • 2 teaspoons of flour
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of skim milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Small cubes of toasted bread
  • Hearts of palms to serve – optional

Serves: 6 portions / Calories: 65 per portion

To prepare:

Heat the margarine, add the garlic, the onion and the hearts of palms. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the flour mixing well. Slowly add the chicken broth, always stirring. Let it boil and cook for 10 minutes. Let the mix cool down and mix it in the blender. Add the salt, the pepper (optional) and the milk. Let it boil for 5 minutes. Put it in a dish; serve with the small cubes of toasted bread and small pieces of hearts of palm.

Cabbage Kale is the main ingredient of this “Green Soup”

Brazilian green caldo

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium potatoes (piled and cut in 6 pieces)
  • 1 ½ cup of chiken broth
  • 1 brunch of kale (cut very thin)
  • 3 garlic heads (chopped) & 2 teaspoons of olive oil

To prepare:

Cook the potatoes in the chicken broth for about 30 minutes. Remove, take off the solid parts and return it to fire. In a small pan place the chopped garlic, add the olive oil and the kale, saute it for about 3 or 4 min. Add the saute kale in the potatoes/chicken broth, bring to boil and than turn down the fire and leave it for another 10 minutes. Serve in a bowl.

Serves: 8 portions /  Calories: 150 per portion

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