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Friday, July 11, 2008

Bobô de Camerão - one year later

On June 17 & June, 29, 2007 I wrote about Bobô de Camerão, my experience eating it and RioRose and my experience trying to cook it. I explained how the recipe that we posted did not work well and promised that we would take a lesson on cooking this shrimp dish - and pass along the results.
We had to wait a year but finally arranged to have a lesson. [I have to be honest - Rosemary and Abel were unable to get up here from Rio in time to stand in on the shopping and cooking lesson but did get here in time to taste all the goodies.]   With this effort we served 8 people.   The lesson was given by Terazinha, our neighbor in Stucky and a transplanted Carioca. Friday afternoon Terazinha took Camillo and me to a vegetable market in Friburgo that was the 'tops'. I have been shopping in Friburgo for 5 years, the town isn't that big and I didn't know this market existed. Then we went to a fish market - we ended up buying the shrimp, some Trilha (don't know what this is in English), octopus, red fish, and salmon. (For future meals to be cooked by Terazinha - she promised!)
Saturday morning we started the cooking at 11:00 for a 1:30 lunch. Terazinha says, "this is not a scientific experiment but something cooked from the heart." You have to remember that she speaks 99% Portuguese and I speak 95% English and this is what I understood - so no complaints! This was a pre-qualifier because she didn't measure anything.... Except for the shrimp, all the amounts are my estimates from seeing when she added them together
The ingredients she used was basically the same as the recipe posted on June 17, 2007. Shrimp, (500 gm per person w/Heads) manioc root (about 2 Kilo), red peppers (2 cups diced), onion (one cup finely diced, green onion (1/2 cup) ), tomatoes (=- 2 cups), garlic (2-3 cloves, finely diced), cilantro (1/2 cup), celery leaves (some), coconut milk (1 1/2 200ml bottles), dende oil (3-5 Tbls), salt to taste (2-3 teaspoons). It is useful to clean/chop/dice and otherwise prepare before starting to cook. Peel and cut the Manioc and put in a pan with cold water ("no salt - do not add salt to anything until adding 'to taste' at the end") boil until tender (Just like you would for mashed potatoes), drain remove (stem) fiber from center of pieces - mash, set aside.
In the States I have never seen shrimp sold with heads, etc. but maybe can be found the Chinese or Vietnamese markets. In Brazil, you buy with heads, tails, skins - the whole shrimp. For this dish you buy 500 gr per person, then have them cleaned in the fish store - no need to be macho here, just let someone else clean your shrimp, and bag all the goodies to take home with you to cook the 'caldo de Camerão' 'shrimp soup' or 'broth', for use in the Bobô.

The 'Shrimp soup' - in large pan put heads et al, cold water up to where you can see it around the shrimp parts, add cilantro , tops of green onion and celery stalk and tops. Bring to gentle boil, boil about 40 minutes, drain 'soup' into separate bowl, set aside and discard shrimp parts (I am trying to be sensitive here for any Expats that may be reading this - but get over it! -
the results are really good). While the manioc root and shrimp soup are cooking, put a small amount of oil in a large, heavy skillet, use just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When oil is hot, turn heat down and add onion and garlic saute on low heat until clear, but not darkened. add peppers continue to stir, add tomato pieces - stir constantly until all are tender - then stir in about 2 tablespoons of Dende oil, [you'll love this] add 'mais or menos' 100 ml or 1/2 bottle of unsweetened coco milk. From here on you really need a helper because while this is being stirred constantly you need to puree the manioc root.
Put small amounts of root in the blender with several ladles of shrimp broth. Puree, then add more root and more broth as needed until all the manioc is pureed. (this should be the consistency of whipped potatoes but will be stickier)
Combine sauteed vegetable mixture and shrimp in a large pan and heat until shrimp becomes pink. "this is very important" About 8 minutes - DO NOT overcook or they become tough -
Put the pureed manioc root into ANOTHER large pan, add about 5 ladles of shrimp broth and the 2nd half (100 ml) of the bottle of coco milk - Salt to taste....(?)(+- 2 teaspoons) ... stir continually until well heated adding more shrimp broth as needed one ladle at a time. Add more salt to taste - again 1-2 teaspoons and another 1/2 bottle of coco milk and a touch of dende (another tablespoon?). This mixture should stay the consistency of cake mix - sheeting from spoon --- not clumpy (I know what this means I hope you do!)
When ready to serve, add shrimp mixture to manioc mixture and re-heat adding a bit of shrimp broth if needed to keep that 'cake mix' consistency. Serve in large heated bowls with rice - ADD a nice white wine AND GOOD FRIENDS! (a notation - I made a green apple crisp for desert and it went over quite well) I HOPE I DIDN'T miss anything important.


  1. Shrimp is sold with the head in every fish market around New England...
    The shrimp is usually sold cleaned in cities, like Sao Paulo and Rio, if you are in a small town, people usually have more time to cook and prefer to buy the cheaper uncleaned shrimp...
    Usually a thing of fresh fish markets...in US or Brazil...
    Great recipe!


    Ray Adkins

  2. thanks for the comments, I love it when someone leaves a note for me. I was thinking about changing this around a bit to make more coherent (?) but this was exactly as the lesson went so will leave it along.
    are you new to blogging?