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The story

I met up with Isabel, who´s a 21-year-old chef that works in a hotel in the small village Jericocoara in the northeast part of Brazil. Isabel, or Bel, is originally from Rio de Janeiro but she decided to move to Jericocoara to be able to live a calmer life, where she’s not just living for work but also has time to enjoy her life.

She´s a vegan and she believes that food can prevent and heal diseases. She’s now working in two restaurants that want to focus more on vegan and vegetarian food.

I love Bel’s energy, she’s such an adorable girl that already has so much life experience. She’s been living in many different places and countries, I don’t even understand how she’s managed to do that when she’s just 21. She’s very open minded and happy, and I kept smiling when I edited the movie from our night together.

 

About the food

Moqueca is a dish that is eaten much in the northeastern parts of Brazil. It´s made traditionally with fish, but since Isabel is a vegan, she uses bananas instead of fish. Many people think it´s a curry stew because of the yellow color, but it´s an oil called Dendé oil that gives it its characteristic yellow color. The taste is mild and if you like coconut milk and hot banana then you’ll like this dish.

 

Next link in the chain

Bel has given me the contacts to a lot of people in the south of Brazil, and I plan to meet up with some (or all) of them. Since Brazil is such a huge country I plan to make some stops on the way down to Maceió (straight from Fortaleza to Maceió is a 13-hour drive by car). My first stop is Pipa, an even smaller village than Jericocoara, where I will try to find someone who wants to cook me their favorite food.

The recipe (vegan moqueca de banana/vegan coconut milk soup)

Ingredients

4 persons

Vegan moqueca de banana:
1 tbsp dendé oil, or 1 tsbp coconut oil + turmeric
1 spring onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, minced
1 yellow bell pepper, minced
0,5-1 red chili pepper, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tomato, minced
2-3 bananas, sliced
2 cups of coconut milk
Juice from 1 lime
Fresh coriander, chopped
Salt

How to

 

Vegan moqueca de banana

Tips!
A traditional moqueca is prepared in a crock pot made out of clay, use one if you have one at home. Otherwise a normal pot is totally fine. Isabel has been taught to always use a wooden spoon, and to stir the food clockwise while you’re cooking it. This will make all of your energy go into the food, and it will taste much better. You decide what you believe in and if you dare to try it without the wooden spoon and the clockwise stirring. Let me know how it goes!

The dendé oil has a very specific flavor that is hard to recreate in any other way, and it´s the dendé oil that gives the dish its yellow color. Try to find dendé oil in a store to make the moqueca authentic.  If you can´t find it, you can replace it with an equal amount of coconut oil and some turmeric to make it yellow. It won´t taste exactly the same, but it will still be good. Sometimes we just have to adapt to the local market.

Do not use green bananas, use those that are completely yellow or slightly more mature. The green bananas become too harsh even after boiling and do not get as good in taste.

How to
In the pot, heat the dendé oil (or the coconut oil + the turmeric) and add the spring onion and fry them until they have gotten some color.

Add the garlic, the yellow and red bell peppers, the red chili pepper and a bit of salt and fry until the bell peppers are a bit more tender.

Add the tomato, the bananas and the coconut milk. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until the bananas have softened.

Take the pot from the heat and add the lime juice and the coriander. Salt more if needed.

In Brazil you normally eat this dish with rise or with Farofa, which is toasted cassava flour mixture. Farofa doesn’t taste so much, but myself, I prefer to eat rice with this dish.

Svenskt recept / swedish recipe (vegansk moqueca de banana/vegansk gryta på kokosmjölk och banan)

Ingredienser

4 personer

Vegansk moqueca de banana:
1 msk dendé olja, eller 1 msk kokosolja+gurkmeja
1 gul lök, skivad
1 röd paprika, tärnad
1 gul paprika, tärnad
0,5-1 chili, tärnad
2 vitlöksklyftor, tärnade
1 tomat, tärnad
2-3 bananer, skivade
5 dl kokosmjölk
Saft från 1 lime
Färsk koriander, hackad
Salt

 

Så här gör du

 

Vegansk gryta med kokosmjölk och banan

Tips!
En moqueca tillagas traditionellt i en lergryta, använd en om du har en hemma. Annars går det lika bra att använda sig av en vanlig gryta. Isabel har blivit lärd att alltid använda sig av en träslev vid omrörning i grytan, och att man alltid skall röra åt klockans håll. På det här viset går din energi ned i maten och maten kommer smaka mycket bättre. Du bestämmer självklart själv vad du tror på och om du vågar testa att tillaga maten utan en träslev och att utan att röra åt klockans håll… Låt mig veta hur det går!

Dendéoljan har en väldigt specifik smak som är svår att återskapa på något annat sätt, det är även dendéoljan som ger rätten dess gula färg. Försök att hitta dendéoljan i en butik för att göra moquecan autentisk. Om du inte kan hitta oljan så kan du ersätta den med en lika stor mängd kokosolja plus lite gurkmeja för att göra grytan gul. Det kommer inte smaka exakt likadant, men den kommer fortfarande vara god. Ibland behöver vi helt enkelt anpassa oss till vår egen lokala marknad.

Använd inte gröna bananer, använd de som är helt gula eller aningen mer mogna. De gröna bananerna blir för hårda även efter kokning och blir inte lika goda i smaken.

Såhär gör du
Värm upp dendé oljan (eller kokosoljan plus lite gurkmeja) och tillsätt löken och stek tills de har fått lite färg.

Tillsätt vitlöken, den gula och röda paprikan, chilin och lite salt och stek tills paprikan har mjuknat något.

Tillsätt tomaten, bananerna och kokosmjölken. Låt koka i 10-15 minuter tills bananerna har mjuknat.

Ta av grytan från värmen och tillsätt limesaften och koriandern. Salta mer om det behövs.

I Brasilien äter man normallt sätt den här rätten med ris eller med Farofa, som är rostad cassava som malts ned till ett grovt mjöl. Farofa smakar inte så mycket, själv så föredrar jag att äta ris till.

Do you have any questions about this recipe? 

Don’t be shy, just ask me and I will answer as soon as possible. Maybe you have cooked it and want to share your thoughts about it? Go ahead, I’d love to get in contact with you 🙂

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