Brazilian farofa is a quintessential Brazilian side dish! It pairs wonderfully with many dishes, like rice and beans, stews and barbecue! This toasted cassava flour recipe is ready in under 10 minutes and will add a special bacony crunch to your next meal.
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Welcome to another Yuca Series post!
In case you missed it, here is the link to the first post in this series, loaded with cool information and an easy step by step yuca fries recipe. The second post is just as awesome, and it shows you how to make delicious instant pot mashed yuca. This is third post in the series where we talk about Brazilian farofa, or farofa Brasileira, as we say in Portuguese.
And, if you’re not Brazilian, haven’t been to Brazil, or haven’t eaten at a Brazilian restaurant before, you probably don’t know what farofa really is.
So, let’s get to it!
What is Farofa?
Farofa is a traditional Brazilian side dish made with toasted yuca flour/cassava flour, or how we call it in Portuguese farinha de mandioca. This dish is mainly eaten in Brazil or by the Brazilian diaspora and it’s normally available in Brazilian restaurants all over the world.
Farofa is kind of a big deal for us and it has a very special place in every Brazilian home from the poorest to the richest. We can prepare it all sorts of different ways; with butter and bacon, or it can be deliciously vegan with just veggies. Seriously, a plate of rice and beans is not the same without some farofinha (a little farofa) sprinkled on top! It’s so great! If you haven’t tried it yet, DO IT! It’s so worth it.
And if you’ve never tried it, I bet you’re wondering what farofa tastes like, yea? I think it’s fair to say that, overall, farofa has a “crunchy” texture, similar to bread crumbs, and a very mild taste. What makes it so great is that cassava flour soaks up the flavors of the stuff you cook it with, like the bacon, butter, garlic… It’s soooo good!
What is cassava flour made of?
Cassava flour is made from yuca that is peeled, grated, pressed to remove the liquid, sifted, and then toasted. It sorta looks like bread crumbs, and it’s not the same as yuca starch or tapioca flour, even though it comes from the same veggie. Yuca starch/tapioca flour, is a product of the milky liquid extracted from the yuca in the flour making process. This liquid is decanted and the white sediment that separates from the water is the yuca starch.
How cool is this? One vegetable can make all these other products!
Cassava flour in Brazilian Cuisine
Toasted cassava flour, in other words, yuca in flour form, is probably the most important sub-product of yuca in Brazil. It’s been the star ingredient in indigenous people’s diets, then it became a crucial part of the diet of the Portuguese explorers during colonial times, and main source of energy for African slaves.
With time, the way yuca flour was used to fuel the Brazilian day to day has evolved, but it is still at the center of our culinary culture.
Now you know all the things about farofa. It’s time to learn how to make it!
How to make Farofa
- Heat the fat
Just add the bacon to a cold pan over medium heat. The pan needs to be cold to render the bacon fat first before it starts frying it. When the bacon starts to melt, add the butter.
- Add the onions and the garlic
and saute until nice and gold.
- Add the white yuca/cassava flour
season with salt and pepper, and stir.
Reduce the heat and let it toast a couple of minutes in the pan. Stir frequently to toast evenly.
Ideas for serving:
Serve your farofa with some Brazilian salsa, yuca fries and fried linguiça for the most epic Brazilian appetizer! Or use it to top some Brazilian rice and beans!
Seriously, Brazilians eat almost everything topped with a good Farofa. Try it and let me know how you like it!
Other Farofa Recipes:
Picanha Steaks with Egg Farofa
Sadly, you won’t find white yuca/cassava flour at your local grocery store very easily (or at all). But, as with most other things in the world, you can definitely find a few options to choose from at Amazon like this one, or this one. Alternatively, you can also find white yuca/cassava flour at a Brazilian/Portuguese store near you.
Farofa itself has a mild toasty taste. It can also be smoky if you add bacon or sausage, and very aromatic since it almost always has garlic and onions. Farofa tends to be crunchy, similar to bread crumbs.
No, they are different. Check out the What is cassava flour made of section of this post to read more.
YES!! Farofa is made of yuca/cassava flour which is naturally gluten free.
Farofa – Toasted Cassava Flour Recipe
- 2 thick strips of bacon diced
- 2 tbsp of butter cold
- 1/2 onion diced
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 c of white yuca/cassava flour
- s+p to taste
- add the bacon to a cold skillet, and heat up over medium heat
- when the fat from the bacon begins to melt, add 1 tbsp of butter
- when the bacon begins to fry, add the second tbsp of butter
- add the onions and sautee until transparent, about 2 mins
- add the garlic and fry until golden
- add the yuca flour and season with salt and pepper to taste
- let it toast, stirring gently and constantly to avoid burning, about 2 mins
This was an interesting dish. I had never eaten farofa before so I have nothing to compare the recipe to but it was quite tasty. The texture was a little like bread crumbs so you would definitely need to eat with something. I used as a grit replacement (since a am sans corn these days) and cooked up some fried cheese, eggs, and bacon. While it did not cure my craving for grits, it was a satisfying breakfast.
Hey Desiree! Yes, this is very different from grits, but I’m glad you liked your first farofa experience nonetheless 🙂 try it with some rice and beans next time! It’s super yummy!
I have never heard of farofa or cassava flour before but I am so interested now! This looks so good and I can totally imagine it served with salsa, fries or rice as you mentioned. I bet it adds an amazing texture and flavor to dishes.
Yes, it absolutely does! I’m glad you curious and hope you try it soon!
I have had the most difficult time locating both cassava flour and garbanzo flour locally. I may just have to purchase off amazon. Great recipe.
Yes, I just buy it off Amazon to make it easier as the Brazilian store here in LA is on the other side of town for me. There are some Brazilian stores in Miami and in the tri-state area that deliver all over the country too. It’s never been easier!!
Never heard of farofa, but it looks delicious. I bet it is perfect with rice and beans, especially with the smokey flavor of bacon mixed in.
You got it, girl! Rice and beans with farofa are a match made in Brazilian heaven aahahah so good!!
This sounds like an amazing side dish. I like the idea that the farofa takes on the flavors of the added ingredients.
Yes!! It soaks up all that delicious bacon, or butter fat – its so tasty!!
I’ve never tried Cassava Flour, but this definitely looks like the perfect addition to an appetizer!
Yes – its great with fried sweet plantains or yuca fries and salsa!!
Mila Clarke Buckley
I can’t wait to try this! I love mixing it up and this looks like something delicious!
I hope you try it!! Let me know how it goes!
I think this would be great on mac & cheese! Thanks for sharing so much detail and background.
Interesting idea! We typically don’t add farofa to pasta, but hey, the sky is the limit!! Let me know how it turns out!!
I agree! This would make a great gluten free “crumb” topping fore most anything….
Gloria | Homemade & Yummy
This is new to me. I have NEVER heard of this before. I love trying new flavors of the world. I need to find the ingredients to make this. Sounds like some fun in the kitchen for sure.
I have never heard of forofa, but I love trying new foods from around the world. You have me intrigued on this one!
This is a fun Brazilian recipe! I’ve used cassava in baking but never knew I could make it into a side dish like this! I’m excited to try this recipe out!
Wow, I have never heard of this dish, but you have me avidly wanting to find and cook with some Cassava flour. It sounds so interesting and I can’t wait to try it!
I’ve been wondering about the differences between tapioca and cassava so I’m happy to have read your post to learn more. I love the idea of serving this with Farofa with Brazilian rice and beans as you’ve suggested.
Wow! I’ve never heard of this but can’t wait to try it! What a great way to add some more flavor to meals
Um, you had me at “bacony crunch”!! And ready in 10 minutes, even better! Can’t wait to try this!
I have a jar of cassava flour at home that needs a purpose and this is it! This sounds so delicious. I’d love to try sprinkling it over salad for a little crunch!
Jessica (Swanky Recipes)
I need to use more of this flour. Anything with bacon fat and onions is my jam. I had no idea that it’s the prime ingredient to use in Brazil but it makes sense that you use what’s naturally produced in your country.
I have never heard of farofa but your post really makes me what to try it.I am all about trying new things. So informative and educational. Now i just need to get my hands on Cassava Flour.
Whoa thanks so much for sharing all about cassava flour! I learned so much reading your post :)!
Oh this is interesting. I have never had a chance to try cassava flour. It being naturally gluten free makes it really interesting. Wish I could get to try this sometime soon.
Should we use fine or coarse cassava flour to make farofa?
Oi Carla, definitely the coarse. The texture should be almost like granulated sugar. The fine one is used to make cakes and is not the same texture we need to make farofa. Hope this helps! Any other questions let me know! Beijos xx
I could only find the fine ground kind so I tried it anyway. I liked it but it was not crunchy and it was dry. It brought me back to Brazil a bit but it wasn’t as good as what I had in Brazil!!
Oh yeah, the fine ground stuff is definitely not the same at all. I tried it once, very excited thinking it might be the same and it basically just soaked up all the fat and “caked” up 🙁 I could never find a way to make that work either and get that crunchy texture… I always just order the right kind of farinha online – I hope you can find that soon!
I have a Brazilian girlfriend and have visited Brazil several times. I like Brazilian food very much…except farofa! Come on, it just tastes like sand! 🤣
hahaha Stop it – it does NOT!!! lol Farofa is the best 😛