Get right into the center of the Brazilian carnival with this popular street food, Vatapá. Original from Africa, it is known as a specialty from the region of Bahia and spread throughout Brazil. This recipe with a modern twist comes directly from Brazil. Ground annatto seeds add a warm, earthy flavor and natural red color. Though shrimp is a typical ingredient, Vatapá is just as popular without it.
- 1 lb raw shrimp (see notes) cleaned
- 1 cup coconut milk shake can well
- 2 tomato/es diced
- 2 cups rice
- 1 cup broth fish recommended
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 2 slices sandwich bread crust removed
- salt oil (red palm oil, if available)
- 1-2 tbsp peanuts ground
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 lime for juice
- 8 oz watercress
Culinary Spice Kit
- Annatto, turmeric, ginger, cumin, white pepper, bay leaves
- Cook rice as per package instructions.
- Cut bread in small pieces. In a BOWL, add bread and coconut milk.
- Let soak for 15 minutes.
- In a PAN, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Fry onions until translucent.
- Add garlic and shrimp. Stir fry 2 minutes.
- Take shrimp out and set aside.
- Add broth, tomatoes, Vatapá spices, the coconut milk with the bread, salt to taste, and optionally peanuts.
- Cook about 15 minutes over medium-low heat to get a thick creamy sauce.
- Return shrimp to reheat.
- Add cilantro and lime juice to taste.
- Serve with rice and optionally watercress or a fresh salad of your choice.
▪ Substitute shrimp with fish filet (e.g. cod or snapper). Take it out when it’s cooked. ▪ Substitute shrimp with chicken breast, cut in 1-inch strips. Don't take it out. ▪ Skip the shrimp. ▪ Add 1-2 jalapeno pepper and/ or 4 small sweet peppers to the onions, cut in thin slices.