CHENNAI: If you’re looking to ditch the usual burger and pizza or taco and noodles with gravy fare, there’s an exciting new cuisine that you can dig into this weekend. The Kitchen at The Raintree, Anna Salai, is hosting The Brazilian Food Festival from till September 1, with a menu that will be a refreshing change for Chennaites.
Brazilian food is a seamless blend of cuisines from Africa, Portugal and native Brazil. You can devour dishes made of root vegetables, sea food and meat from Brazil and relish traditional sweet egg breads and coconut-flavoured dishes inspired from Portugal. The dominant African influences include pineapple, coconut milk, shredded coconut and palm hearts that work their way into everyday dishes, flavouring meat, shrimp, fish, vegetables and bread.
“The menu took us about one week to curate,” said S Vinoth Kumar, sous chef at The Kitchen. “Whenever we make a menu, we always choose dishes keeping Indian tastes in mind. For instance, if we were to stay true to the authentic Brazilian experience, we would cook with pork larder but have not done so due to our cultural context. So, we have made the menu suitable for our tastes and slightly tweaked the recipes accordingly. But, those who want to experience the typical Brazilian food cooked in that way are welcome to try it. All they have to do is let us know that they would like it to be cooked that way.” The coxinha (chicken croquettes) is a delightful way to start the meal.
The pear-shaped appetiser is crisp on the outside and is stuffed with a delicious chicken filling. It also happens to be the chef ’s recommended appetizer right from the streets of Brazil.
The roasted chilli prawn skewers, marinated and grilled to perfection, are delicious and provide just the right amount of heat that can be balanced out by the mouth-watering frango churrasco (grilled lemon and garlic chicken). Unlike a lot of Western grills that many find bland and boring, all the grilled dishes at the festival were bursting with flavours and yet not overwhelmingly packed with spices and condiments.
A special mention needs to be made about the moqueca de camarao (Brazilian shrimp soup), which will warm the cockles of your heart and keep your tummy satisfied with its unique and unforgettable flavour. Vegetarians need not fret as the choices are aplenty. The feijoada (fritter with collard green) is a musthave. It melts in your mouth; you won’t be able to stop with just one.
The pastel de palmito (cheese and peppers stuffed pouches) is the other fuss-free and fabulous appetiser to watch out for. The salads serve as the perfect sweet and tangy accompaniment to the meal.
For the main course, the Brazilian pork and black bean stew is a real treat for meatlovers. The moqueca de peixe (Brazilian fish stew) will leave you craving for more. It is a magical blend of different spices that complement the fish well. The lamb feijoada with mango salsa is another hearty and lip-smacking dish that’s heavily recommended.
For vegetarians, the bahia (vegetable and plantain moqueca) is sumptuous and flavoursome. “The menu on all the days is going to be different with a wide variety of dishes to choose from. We have planned a balanced menu that has enough choice for vegetarians too. India is an experimental country and right now the rage is Brazilian food because it offers so much for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians, as it is an exciting blend of cultures and cuisines. It is currently the fastest growing cuisine in India and our menu is a great way for people to try something new,” said the chef.
For those with a sweet tooth, get ready to indulge your taste buds. The desserts are incredible, different and delectable. The Brazilian coconut and nut pudding is a satisfying, dry cakelike dessert that can be eaten on its own or dipped in different syrups.
The mini coconut flan is an unapologetically light, fresh and scrumptious gem that you must not miss out on. And finally, the churros dusted with cinnamon are a great way to end the meal, and it will take a lot of self control to stop yourself from eating them all.
The food festival is on till September 1 and the cost is Rs 1,500 per head plus GST. This includes three vegetarian and non-vegetarian starters, one soup each, three vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes for the main course and three desserts. In addition, there will be three live counters for grills, sausages and sandwiches or salads.
For reservations and enquiries, call: 43939999