Category Archives: Brazil

Pão de Queijo!

I’ve been wanting to make Pão de Queijo since I first came back from Brazil in 1999. Pão de Queijo is a chewy, cheesy, delicious little roll. Many Brazilian restaurants including Rodizios, Tucanos and Fogo de Chão have them, so you may have come across them. They’re often listed as ‘Brazilian Cheese Bread’ or something similar.

Pão de Queijo is made mainly from manioc flour. Back in 1999 you couldn’t get manioc flour in Ironwood, MI where I lived. Actually, I wouldn’t be too surprised if you still couldn’t get it there, but that’s not where I am at the moment, so better success was had.


After some friends were recently discussing Brazilian foods on Facebook I decided to try to find tapioca flour again. Manioc is also known as casava or tapioca. It’s a tuber that grows in hot places. Caroline found it at the Easside Food-Coop.

I used this recipe from Tudo Gostoso — Pão de Queijo Mineiro.  It’s very healthy.

The Recipe

  • 4 cups manioc/tapioca/casava flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup oil
    • Note: My dough turned out super oily. I’ll probably cut back by a couple tablespoons next time.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 cups shredded dried Minas cheese
    • Note: We used 2 cups Romano, 1 cup Mozzarella and 1 cup Parmesan
  1. Pre-heat an oven to 350
  2. Put the tapioca flour in a big bowl
  3. Heat the salt, milk and oil on the stove
  4. As soon as it starts boiling, pour it over the tapioca flour and mix it really well until no little flour balls remain
  5. Let it cool until you can handle it
  6. Add the eggs and cheese bit by bit, kneading it well after each addition
  7. Make cheese balls and put them on a pan.
    1. The recipe says to make 2cm diameter balls, but we did them bigger
    2. To accommodate the larger dough balls, I lowered the temp to 300 for the 2nd set I put in the oven.
  8. Bake until golden brown (about 30 minutes, but watch them!)

Action Shots

Here are all the ingredients laid out. Cheese, tapioca flour, eggs, oil, salt and milk.

All the Ingredients for Pão de Queijo
All the Ingredients for Pão de Queijo

We bought some Queso Fresco to use next time we make Pão de Queijo. It’s wet right now, so we can shred it. We’ll leave it up here on top of the fridge until it gets hard. Seems a little questionable to just leave it out, but that’s what I remember my host mom doing with the Minas cheese. So we’ll see.

Queso Fresco For The Next Batch
Queso Fresco For The Next Batch

Heating up the milk, oil and salt mixture. As soon as it started boiling I took it off and dumped it into the tapioca flour.

Heating oil, salt and milk
Heating oil, salt and milk

At this point I knew we be successful. It smelled just like Pão de Queijo. It’s super oily, very stretch and pretty hard to stir.

Mixing Hot Liquid With Tapioca Flour
Mixing Hot Liquid With Tapioca Flour

After it had cooled, I folded in the cheese and eggs, then made some balls. Most were just smaller than ping-pong balls, but we made a couple of big ones.

Pão de Queijo Dough Balls
Pão de Queijo Dough Balls


Pão de Queijo Baking
Pão de Queijo Baking

Success! They’re stretchy, chewy and super delicious just like they’re supposed to be!

Heaven In a Cheesy Delicious Bun
Heaven In a Cheesy Delicious Bun


Posted in Brazil, Projects, Something Interesting | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Drinking In Brazil (A 1998 Journal Entry)

This is a journal entry from 1998 through the eyes of a 16 year old small-town Michigan boy. Despite my naïveté, I did my best to record what I saw and experienced so others would know what it was like. Try to interpret anything you read here through that lens and realize that it may not completely match reality.

Drinking (Entry 1)

Drinking here is very different. Anyone can buy beer. It’s weird because there are vending machines where you can buy it, just like treats or pop. Drinking is more like  pop than something “special”. It seems that they think at lunch”oh, a beer might be good, or coke?”

The appropriate age to drink seems to be around 12-13 to start and at 15-16 just drink w/ the adults. For example,  we were at a club and my host sister wanted a drink (not a whole can) of beer, but her mom said no; but later on the way home my host mom offered her a cup of wine.

When someone gets a beer they offer everyone in the group a drink and if I say no, it’s no big deal. It’s just “ok you’re not thirsty”. If I say I don’t drink then they look at me funny for a second and then say ok. It’s no big deal and they don’t pressure me to drink.

Drinking at Carnival (Entry 2)

Brazilians know how to handle their beer? I have never seen so many drunks in my life. At Carnival everyone (almost) was drinking and drinking and…

All You Can Drink Night At the Club (Entry 3)

One night the disco had a special. Buy 1 beer for R$5.00 and trade your empty can for a new one, as many times as you want. So everyone gets plastered right away and then slows down. But what happens when you slow down? Your beer gets warm. And hey! If you can get a free beer with an empty can, why not dump your beer on the dance floor and…

There were 1/2 inch deep puddles everywhere

2012 Update

Not every 12-13 year old in Brazil is being given drinks on the side by their parents, but it happens a lot more than in the US. Not every 15-16 year old in Brazil gets plastered at parties and at the clubs, but the number drunk teenagers I hung out with back then only gets more disturbing the older I get. When I say drunk I’m not talking about just a slight buzz after a can, I really mean altered-state, crying on the floor drunk.

Part of the blessing and curse of being an exchange student is that the most outgoing people approach you first and invite you to join their circle of friends. It seems logical that there would be a correlation between being outgoing and doing social activities such as going to parties, clubs and bars as a group where drinking occurs.

I love the group of friends I made in Brazil, but at the same time I wish I would’ve had more friends who didn’t drink, or at least more friends who drank responsibly. It’s completely possible that if I had found a different groups of friends my perception would be that everyone in Brazil was a responsible drinker.

If you go to Brazil as a teetotaler like me or someone who loves getting really drunk, you will find plenty of people to be accepting of your stance on drinking.

Posted in Brazil, Rotary Youth Exchange | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Pizza in Brazil (A 1998 Journal Entry)

This is a journal entry from 1998 through the eyes of a 16 year old small-town Michigan boy. Despite my naïveté, I did my best to record what I saw and experienced so others would know what it was like. Try to interpret anything you read here through that lens and realize that it may not completely match reality.


I can’t say for all pizza, but it is very different, but very good.

No tomato sauce, cream cheese instead, but not the same as Phillidelphia.

A typical pizza has shredded chicken, mozzarella cheese, a few tomato slices and a few black olives.

2012 Update

I’m not sure why that entry on Pizza was so short. I love Brazilian pizza, so here’s some more info.

Most pizzas don’t have much tomato sauce, if they do it’s generally a very thin layer. Pizzas are nearly always thin-crust and very often wood fired.

Most pizza places deliver, frequently by motorcycle. The motorcycles have fiberglass or metal hot boxes bolted on the back and zip around the city delivering deliciousness to your doorstep.

Some of my favorite Brazilian pizzas include:

Frango com Catupiry — Shredded chicken and Catupiry cheese. Catupiry is a creamy cheese with the uncookced consistency of corn starch mixed with water. It’s got a creamy, delicious, salty, taste and goes really well with the chicken.

Frango com Milho Verde — Shredded chicken and corn. Milho verde is like sweet corn, but not sweet — just large fresh kernels.

Gorgonzola — You can get gorgonzola cheese in the US, but I’ve never seen it on a pizza here (except at my house!). It’s got a strong flavor and goes well on a pizza with thinly sliced onions.

Margherita — A traditional Italian pizza with just buffalo mozzerella, basil and tomato. When wood fired it’s deliciously simple.

Desert pizzas are also prominent, but I’ve never liked desert pizza. I would rather have real pizza for desert than desert pizza.

Pizza Rodizios

A Rodizio is a brazilian steak house where the servers carry various cuts of meat to your table and you eat from each type until you’re stuffed. If you’re lucky you’ll also run into a pizza rodizio where they bring all sorts of types of pizza by your table and you eat till you’re stuffed. The pizza at the pizza rodizios aren’t usually as high of quality, but you get to try a lot of flavors and it’s lots of fun.

Posted in Brazil | Leave a comment