Random Ingredient of the Week: Farofa

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What is it? Toasted manioc flour used as a condiment in South American and West African cooking. It is very popular in Brazilian cuisine. Manioc is also known as tapioca, yuca, cassava or casaba.

What is it used for? Farofa is typically used as an accompaniment to Brazilian home cooking, especially the famous black bean stew known as feijoada. Sprinkled on top of everything, it adds a crunch and slight salty flavor to the dishes as well as soaking up excessive liquid used to cook the beans. The second most popular way to eat farofa is on top of grilled meats served at a traditional Brazilian cookout known as a churrasco. It is often homemade and toasted with onions and bacon, but this prepackaged version is convenient for novices to Brazilian cuisine, which is probably much of the Houston population.

Where can you buy it in Houston? Look for it at Emporio Brazilian Café (12288 Westheimer), which has a small grocery area where you can buy traditional Brazilian ingredients and goodies. Emporio's food is also the closest thing you'll find to Brazilian-style home cooking if you want to stay and have a meal without having to worry about a gaucho coming by your table and sawing off hunks of meat until you need Jamie Lee Curtis to counsel you on digestive regularity.

Recipes: Feijoada (From About.com)

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