A Taste of Brazil: Cuscuz Paulista

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This is a vegetarian version of this delicious Brazilian dish. The original recipe of “Cuscuz Paulista” calls for the addition of canned sardines and shrimp.

Lightly grease a bowl with olive oil. To garnish the surface of the cuscuz, place whatever fancies you (tomato slices, egg slices, olives, etc) on the bottom and up the sides of the bowl.

In a large frying pan, saute 1/2 cup of diced onion and 2 garlic cloves in 1/4 cup canola, coconut or olive oil. Add a bunch of chopped scallions and 1 cup of diced tomatoes. Simmer 10-15 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of peas, and 1/2 cup of olives. Check for salt and pepper. Add 1 1/2 cup of coarse cornmeal flour and stir over medium heat for 15-20 minutes. The cuscuz should have a paste-like consistency. If too dry, add some boiling liquid (water, vegetable broth or tomato sauce.) until you reach a thick paste consistency.

Pour some of the mixture into the bowl, taking care not to disturb the decoration and press firmly to hold the garnishes in place. Fill the bowl with the rest of the mixture, again pressing firmly. The cuscuz can be prepared ahead to this stage and left at room temperature for two hours. Unmold by inverting over a plate. Cut into slices. Serve with salad or steamed vegetables. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for a week. It also freezes very well.

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