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Vatapa (Sauce for Acaraje)

Recipe by Tad Lombardo

Get inspired by the world cup with this delish recipe for traditional Brazilian street food!

  • 250g Dried shrimp
  • 1 litre Canned coconut milk
  • 75g Peanuts, unsalted, roasted, peeled
  • 75g Cashew nuts, unsalted, roasted
  • 3 Tbsp. Continental parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. Coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 Medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1-½ cup All-purpose flour
  • salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. Grated ginger
  1. In a food processor, process the dried shrimp, peanuts and cashew nuts until you have a homogenous, finely-ground mixture. Dissolve the flour in half of the coconut milk and stir to completely mix, making sure there are no lumps. In a blender, combine the parsley, cilantro, chopped tomato and onions, and blend completely.
  2. Put the remaining half of the coconut milk in a large, heavy saucepan, and heat over medium heat. When the coconut milk is hot, but not boiling, slowly add the dissolved flour, stirring constantly. Then add the herb/tomato/onion mix and finally the ground shrimp and nuts, while still stirring constantly.
  3. Cook for a few minutes then add the vegetable and olive oils, the remaining half of the dried shrimp, salt to taste and the grated ginger. Increase heat and bring to a boil, continuing to stir to make sure the mixture doesn’t lump.
  4. Reduce heat and cook, constantly stirring until the mixture is thickened, smooth and creamy. If the mixture is too thick add additional coconut milk to thin it out; if it’s too thin, add a small amount of flour, dissolved in water or coconut milk.
  5. Let cool completely, the use as filling for acarajé.

Note: The Authentic recipe calls for Palm Oil (I used Vegetable oil.) I don’t recommend the use of Palm Oil. This is due the deforestation that the harvest of palm oil creates which results in loss of habitat of Orangutans in Asia.

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