This traditional Bahian dish has come to be associated with an African-Brazilian religious ritual called Candomblé – but all you really need to know is it's delicious. Click here for the recipe from Thiago Castanho & Luciana Bianchi's brilliant book Brazilian Food.
A Bahian, Pará-style okra and shrimp curry
This traditional Bahian dish has come to be associated with an African-Brazilian religious ritual called Candomblé – but all you really need to know is it's delicious
Preparation time 20 mins
Cooking time 30 mins
- 700g whole dried salt shrimps
- 40ml extra virgin olive oil
- 50g onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp crushed garlic
- 15g green pepper, diced
- 35g tomato, chopped
- 2 cumari-do-Pará or other mild yellow chillies, chopped
- 400g okra, cut into 1cm-thick rounds
- 1 bay leaf
- 250g fine, untoasted cassava flour
- pinch of ground cumin
- black pepper
- 20ml dendê (palm) oil
- 1½ tbsp hand-torn cilantro (Mexican/long coriander)
- 1½ tbsp hand-torn basil
- 150g jambu (Pará cress/toothache plant) or watercress
- Brazilian-style White Rice to serve
- 50g dried salt shrimps, heads removed
- Soak the whole dried shrimps in plenty of cold water for 4 hours. Drain and peel, reserving the heads and shells.
- Put the heads and shells in a colander and rinse well under cold running water. Transfer to a blender, add 1.4 litres of water and process until smooth. Pour the liquid into a large saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Boil hard for 10 minutes to make a full-flavoured broth. Strain and set aside.
- In a separate saucepan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, garlic, green pepper, tomato and cumari-do-Pará until softened.
- Add the peeled shrimps and okra and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the shrimp broth and heat until simmering.
- Add the bay leaf, then gradually add the cassava flour, stirring constantly with a whisk to prevent lumps forming. Cook for 7 minutes or until thickened.
- Stir in the ground cumin, a little black pepper and the dendê oil. Lower the heat and cook for 4 minutes.
- Add the culantro and basil, stirring to combine. Adjust the salt to taste and keep the caruru hot while you prepare the garnishes.
- Rinse the dried shrimps under cold running water to remove excess salt. In a saucepan of boiling water, cook the shrimp for 4 minutes then drain and set aside.
- Bring another saucepan of water to the boil, add the jambu leaves and blanch them for 1 minute. Drain and refresh in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking and keep the leaves bright green. Drain before plating.
- To serve, place a spoonful of cooked white rice on serving plates, add a portion of caruru and garnish with the jambu leaves and shrimps.