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.
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:
Seriously, Brazilians eat almost everything topped with a good Farofa. Try it and let me know how you like it!
Other Farofa Recipes:
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