Welcome to another Yuca Series post! To catch you up, in case you’re new here (well, hello there!) or 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 a delicious yuca purée. Now we are on the third post in this series to talk about Farofa!
Here’s the thing, no one I’ve ever met outside of Brazil has ever really gotten the point of Farofa. Unless you’re Brazilian, Farofa is just one of those things you can’t really compare to anything else familiar, other than… probably sand. But calling Farofa sand is sooooooo unfair because, seriously, we’ve all eaten a little sand here and there when we were kids and you’ll see that Farofa is sooooooooooo definitely not it! hahah!
I feel like I should start over because I’m talking about eating sand, and if you haven’t left yet, you’re probably about to. Please stay and give me and Farofa a chance to explain ourselves!
So, a fair question at this point would be…
What the hell is Farofa!?
Farofa is a side dish made of toasted yuca flour, more commonly known as cassava flour, or how we call it in Portuguese farinha de manioca, mainly eaten in Brazil or by the Brazilian diaspora. Yuca flour is yuca that is peeled, grated, pressed to remove the liquid, sifted, and then toasted. It sorta looks like bread crumbs, and should not be confused with yuca starch or tapioca flour. Yuca starch, aka 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.
Anyway, yuca in flour form is probably the most important sub-product of yuca in Brazil. It’s been consumed by indigenous people since forever ago, then it became a crucial part of the diet of the Portuguese explorers during colonial times, and served as main source of energy for African slaves.
With time, the way yuca flour was used to fuel the Brazilian day to day has changed, and its cultural significance can be seen today in popular dishes where yuca flour is the star. Feijão Tropeiro, Pirão, Tutu de Feijão, Paçoca Nordestina, and of course, one of the most important side dishes in Brazil, the Farofa! Farofa is THE perfect side for the dishes Brazil is most known for: the complete barbecue and black bean stew.
Long story short, Farofa is a big deal for us. You can find a good Farofa in every Brazilian home from the poorest to the richest, cooked all sorts of different ways. It can be the highlight of the day to day, accompanying our almighty rice and beans, simply drenched in butter and bacon fat, or it can be deliciously vegan with just veggies. Farofa is also a must during our holidays. We use special flavors and textures to make it even more special, such as dried fruits and nuts for Christmas and New Years time, or fresh fruits during Easter time.
What matters is, there is always a special place at the Brazilian table for some good old Farofa.
How to make 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 is perfect to top rice and beans, served tapas style with Brazilian fried chicken, or alongside fried linguiça, Brazilian salsa and yuca fries. Seriously, Brazilians eat almost everything topped with a good Farofa. Try it and let me know how you like it!
Now, off to cooking! Ready?
So, this is super easy. Just throw some bacon and some butter in a cold pan over medium heat. The pan needs to be cold to render the bacon fat first before it starts frying.
Add another blob of cold butter when the pan is hot and keep frying the bacon.
Add diced onions.
And finally the white yuca/cassava flour.
Reduce the heat, add a little salt and pepper, and let it toast a few minutes in the pan. Stir frequently to toast evenly.
You made Farofa!!
So there you go! Just serve with some Brazilian salsa, yuca fries and fried linguiça for the most epic Brazilian appetizer!
Make it, take a picture and share with me on Instagram by tagging me or using #cookingwithaline
P.S.: Don’t forget to subscribe today and stay tuned for upcoming posts in this series to see what else you can make with yuca!