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Cross-Cultural Cuisine: Brazil

By Stacey Kaslon

Beatriz “Bea” Costa, a junior psychology major, comes to BSU from Recife, Brazil. Home of the international food festival Feira Internacional da Alimentacao, some of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil and one of the top places in the world for Carnaval, Bea embraces her culturally rich home.

Occupied by the Portugese Empire from 1500 to 1822, Brazilian culture is heavily influenced by their culture as well as African and American Indian. Together, they’ve created a passionate, colorful and an underlying love for life within the country’s culture. This zest for living is especially present in their food. Bea shares two dishes that are near and dear to Brazilians’ hearts—coxihna de frango and brigadeiros

Coxihna de Frango

A street-food staple of the Latin American country, coxhina de frango’s origin comes from the Princess Isabel’s son near Sao Paulo, Brazil in the 1800s. Her son only ate chicken thighs, however, one day, the cook ran out of thighs. She then cleverly took some leftover chicken from the day before and shaped it into the shape of a chicken thigh for the young prince. He loved this new dish even more making it his dietary staple. Coxhinas come in many varieties of fillings from chicken to cheese to veggies, but the recipe below is more of a traditional take on a Brazilian classic.


(Filling)                                                             (Breading)

1 yellow or white onion                                  3 cups chicken broth/stock
olive oil                                                              1/3 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons parsley                                     1/3 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons green onion                            6 cups of flour plus extra for kneading
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken                3 eggs
2/3 teaspoon garlic powder                          ½ cup milk
1/3 teaspoon salt bread crumbs
1/3 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons cream cheese


    • Cook the chopped yellow or white onion in olive oil on medium heat. Set aside to cool.
    • In a separate pan, cook the chicken broth, salt and paprika for the breading on medium heat for five minutes. Turn off the heat and add the 6 cups of flour. Mix into a paste with a spatula and either add to a mixing bowl or get your arms workout in for the day with a whisk. Mix until the dough has thickened. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
    • In a separate bowl, add the cooked onion from before with the ingredients of the filling. Once combined, go back to the dough.
    • Roll it out using extra flour as needed. Pull a golf-ball-sized clump of dough from the base. Smooth it into a disc. Place the disc on the palm of your cupped hand. Press an indent into the dough in the middle of your palm. Next, take a spoonful of the filling and fill the indent in the dough. Wrap the edges of the dough over the filling creating a teardrop shape.
    • Separately, mix the milk and eggs into a bowl and the bread crumbs into another. Minimizing the mess with tongs, cover the tear in the egg/milk mixture and then the breadcrumbs.
    • Deep fry the coxinha at 350 degrees for 11 minutes. If doing more than one at a time, make sure that they are not touching so they can cook properly. Once done, lay them on a paper towel to dab the excess oil off and serve.



As smooth as the Girl from Ipanema and as rich as the samba, brigadeiros have become a savory necessity at any Brazilian party. The chocolaty confection is believed to have got its start during WWII when fresh milk was hard to come by. Combining chocolate with condensed milk, they discovered a cross between a truffle and fudge, and it has been accompanying birthday cakes (like ice cream in the U.S.), ever since. Brigadeiros come in a variety of flavors and toppings, but this recipe is more of a traditional approach with the option of chocolate sprinkles or coconut shavings.


1 can (14 oz.) condensed milk
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Pinch of salt
Chocolate sprinkles (optional)
Coconut shavings (optional)


    • Cook condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter or margarine and salt on medium heat. Constantly stir to avoid burning the chocolate until it is noticeably thicker. Take off heat and let the chocolate cool to room temperature.
    • Once cooled, role the chocolate into golf-ball-sized balls and then coat them in chocolate sprinkles or coconut shavings. For an added touch, place them in cupcake cups like they are a part of a gourmet box of chocolates.