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Experience the aromas and flavors of the Amazon
Paras cuisine is considered to be the most typically Brazilian out of all the country's varied regional cooking. And, as far as Paras population is concerned, undoubtedly the most delicious. This is because it was inherited directly from the Indians who, out of the Amazon's bounty, intuitively melded ingredients to form a rich and surprising array of flavors. With little or no outside influence from Europeans or Africans, Paras typical cuisine has remained basically true to its origins over the centuries. Try it! You are going to find the rich aromas and flavors of these fruits and dishes.

Pato no tucupi
Oven roast a whole duck until browned and tender, cut in large pieces and simmer in tucupi sauce which has already been prepared and seasoned with garlic and herbs. Jambu leaves have been parboiled in salted water and added to the tucupi, together with the duck. Served with whites rice, flagrant pepper (pimento-de-cheiro) and, optionally, manioc meal.


Tamuata in tucupi
Tamuata is a horny-Scaled catfish typically found in Amazonian river. It should be well scrubbed and seasoned with lemon and salt. Boil in tucupi sauce seasoned with herbs. Finally, add parboiled jarnbu leaves. Serve with white rice, manioc meal and fragrant popper, to baste.


Tucupi
A golden yellow extrated from the manioc root, the same way Indians do, in a straw press (tipiti). Or you can buy it ready made. It should be boiled with herbs and used in duck, pork, game, fish or shrimp dishes. It is a basic ingredient for making tacaca.


Vatapa
Vatapa from Para is different from Bahia's. Dried, salted shrimp is peeled and sauteed with onion, tomato, green onion and African palm oil (dende). Add Coconut milk and thicken with rice or wheat flour (corn starch or bread cubes can also be used). Serve with white rice and, if desired, hailed jambu leaves and dried shrimp.


Caruru
Saute peeled dried shrimp together with onion, garlic, green onion, green pepper, black pepper and African palm oil (dende). Add water and simmer, thickening with sifted manioc meal and plenty of sliced okra cooked until tender. Accompaniments are the same as for vatapa.


Manicoba
Simmer ground manioc leaves (maniva) for at least four days. Add large cubes of jerked beef, bacon and varied sausages, chopped tripe, veal shanks, salted pig's ears, feet and ribs, practically the smne ingredients used in the famous Brazilian national dish, feijoada. Served with white rice, manioc meal and fragrant pepper (pimenta-de-cheiro).


Crab a la Toc Toc
Boil whole, live crabs in water seasoned with salt, lemon and garlic. Serve hot in the shell as you would boiled lobster, using wooden board and stick to break the crustacean's legs and claws (toc-toc is alliterative for the sound of wood on shell).


Pirarucu in Coconut Milk
After re-hydrating and desalting pirarucu, simmer thick, slices in coconut milk (do not boil milk, as it will curdle). Serve with white rice and manioc meal. 7his dish can also be made with the "milk" extracted from fresh Brazil-nuts, also known as Parra-nuts.


Crab in the Half Shell
Boil crabs in salted water. Remove meat from legs and main shell and saute in olive oil, with chopped onion and tomato. Season with cilantro, lemon and fragrant pepper (pimenta-de-cheiro). Stuff washed crab shell with mixture and top with manioc meal sauteed in butter (farofa). Serve as an entree.


Tacaca
Pre-cooked ingredients are arranged in a gourd bowl at the very moment the dish is served: tucupi, cooked tapioca starch, jambu leaves and dried, salted shrimp. People from Para like to have their tacaca towards the end of the afternoon at the vendors whose carts can still be found on street corners.


Crab Claws
Boil the large crab claws and season with salt, garlic and lemon. Prepare a soft dogh using pureed potato, wheat flour and eggs. Envelope the crab claw, along with some loose crab meat, in a portion of the dough; roll in bread crumbs and deep fry in very hot oil.


Fish Stew
Use a fish with firm flesh, like cod, hake or bass, and marinate in lemon, salt and garlic. Separately, make a broth with fish head, cilantro, onion and garlic. Use the broth to cook halved potatoes. When nearly done, add fish to boiling broth and cook until flesh becomes opaque and fork-tender.


Shredded Pirarucu
Soak dried, salted pirarucu (largest freshwater scale fish of the Amazon, comparable to cod) in water to re-hydrate and remove excess salt, as is done with codfish. Boil and shred, adding crushed garlic, onion, cilantro and tomato sauteed in olive oil. Drizzle with more oil to taste.


Grilled Pirarucu
After soaking pirarucu to re-hydrate and remove excess salt, place on grill or over coals until golden. Cover with onion rings and drizzle with olive oil. Accompaniments are water moistened manioc meal seasoned with chopped onion, tomato and herbs, as well as Santarem's manteguinha bean salad and vinagrette suace.



FRUITS

Regional fruits are quite another subject. There is an infinity of fruit species consumed in natura by Para's population or used to manufacture ice creams and prepare sweets. Consequently, desserts are another jewel of Para's cuisine.


Cupuacu
A brown, hard-shelled fruit some 8 inches long, Cupuacu has numerous almond-shaped seeds covered with a tart; fragrant white pulp of incomparable flavor: Very versatile, it is used to ice cream, jams, bonbons, liqueurs, creamy desserts, tarts and various other sweets, in addition to °vinho de Cupuacu° (wine) which, in truth, is a nonalcoholic beverage made with the pulp.


Bacuri
Bacuri grows on enormous trees. One must wait for the fruit to ripen and fall from the tree. Its skin is thick and hard,its large seed covered with thin slivers of pulp whose flavor is absolutely unique and used to make innumerable sweets, as is its skin.


Para-Nut
Or Brazil-Nut, as it came to be known fear exhortation purposes. The tree can reach heights of 150 feet. The nut is found within a hardshelled pod which resists bursting open when falling from great heights. It is used in various kinds of sweets, ice creams, toppings, as well as in the preparation of savory dishes.


Acai
Although this palm fruit has garnered followers in other regions of Brazil, making a hit among athletes and fitness center habitues, in Para, Acaiis a liquid dessert imbibed cold, sugarsweetened and sprinkled with tapioca flakes or manioc meal. Or, it can be part of a meal, unsweetened and accompanied by fried fish, pirarucu or some other kind of meat. It is also used to make ice cream, liqueurs and mousses.

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Experience the aromas and flavors of the Amazon

Paras cuisine is considered to be the most typically Brazilian out of all the country's varied regional cooking. And, as far as Paras population is concerned, undoubtedly the most delicious....