Vatapa

Vatapa
Vatapa is a Brazilian dish made from bread cumbs, shrimp, coconut milk, finely ground peanuts and palm oil mashed into a creamy paste. While it looks like a stew or creamy soup, vatapa has its unique creamy puree texture.
This food is very popular in the North and Northeast, but it is more typical in the northeastern state of Bahia where it is commonly eaten with acarajé, although Vatapá is often eaten with white rice in other regions of Brazil.

It is traditionally served with rice or alongside the bean fritters called acarajé.

Authentic recipe often call for dendê oil, or palm oil, which gives the dish a bright yellow-orange tint. If you can't find it, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of turmeric to the onion-shrimp paste to achieve a similar result.

Ingredients

    * 2 Onion, chopped
    * 1/2 dried shrimp, if you don't have dried shrimp, you can puree about 1 cup of fresh raw shrimp in a blender and substitute it for the dried.
    * 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
    * 1-4 Malagueta or jalapeño chile peppers, chopped
    * 3 tablespoons oil
    * 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
    * 1/2 peanut or cashew butter
    * 1 cup breadcrumbs
    * Salt and pepper, to taste
    * 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
    * 2 cups coconut milk
    * 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced (optional)
    * 1 cup tomatoes, chopped (optional)

 Steps

   1. In a food processor or a blender, put together the onion, dried shrimp, garlic and chilies and blend until fully mixed. Add a little water if needed.
   2. Put a large saucepan over medium heat, heat some oil and saute the onion-shrimp mixture until cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the stock or water and whisk in the peanut or cashew butter until smooth. Then stir in the breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5-8 minutes to meld the flavors.
   3. Stir in the shrimp and coconut milk and simmer another 5-6 minutes, or until shrimp is almost cooked through.
   4. Remove from heat, stir in the dendê oil and serve.

Variations

The shrimp in this dish can be replaced with ground tuna, chicken, or turkey, among other options, to make some variations.

    * Vatapá de Galinha: substitute 1 1/2 pounds of cooked, shredded chicken for the shrimp.
    * Vatapá de Peixe: substitute 1 1/2 pounds of firm white-fleshed fish, cut into chunks, for the shrimp.
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