My journey continued to Manaus, the largest amazonian state, where I met my guide, Raphael Lopes. At 23 years old, he is the youngest food hunter of the national food blogging movement. But his young age doesn't stop him being extremely decisive about what he does and doesn't like. He's a serious foodie and a strict critic. Raphael introduces me to Pedro Bezerra, he runs one of the busiest food stalls in Manaus' market and serves up to a whopping 500 Amazonian breakfasts every Sunday! It includes coffee (of course!), tapioca pancakes filled with different fruits, cassava cake and x-caboquinho - the ultimate Amazonian sandwich with fried plantain, cheese and tucuma fruit (a native palm fruit). Pedro says that he has to stay ahead of the game as there are 28 competitors all located in the small market. The high demand is only a two-hour gap and he has the average preparation time down to 5 minutes and all seven of his team have perfected their specific technique. He says they run as smoothly as a 'formula one pit stop team' ;)
I certainly think that the Amazonian breakfast gives the British fry up a run for its money and that a fruity breakfast can be as delicious. I love all the options on the table and different dishes you can eat at once and it's given me a brilliant idea for my own Brazilian brunch.
My Brazilian Brunch
FOR THE PANCAKES:
- 7 oz (200g) sour manioc starch
- Pinch salt
- 4.4 fl oz (125 ml) water
- 7 oz (200g) gouda cheese, grated
- 8 thin slices air-dried ham
FOR THE GUAVA FRENCH TOAST:
- 1¾ oz (50g) caster sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 0.4 pt (250 ml) whole milk
- 3 eggs
- 1 vanilla pod
- 2 tbsps icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 8 slices day-old brioche loaf
- 5¾ oz (160g) guava paste, thinly sliced
- 3½ oz (100g) curd cheese
- 1¾ oz (50g) unsalted butter
For the pancakes pour the flour and salt into a large bowl then gradually sprinkle in the water, mixing with your fingertips as you go.
Rub the water and flour together until the mixture resembles very fine breadcrumbs then sieve into a clean bowl.
Heat a small, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mixture.
Use the back of a spoon to spread the mixture into an even layer then cook for 20 to 30 seconds until the pancake easily lifts from the side of the pan.
Turn the pancake, sprinkle over a little cheese and top with a slice of ham. Cook for 30 seconds then slide onto a board and either fold in half or roll up. Repeat with the remaining flour and filling.
For the French toast combine the caster sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. whisk together the milk and eggs. Split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and whisk into the mixture with the icing sugar.
Spread the curd cheese over half of the brioche slices and top other half with the guava paste and sandwich together.
Dip the brioche sandwiches into the egg mixture, making sure the liquid soaks into the bread. Heat a knob of butter in a large, non-stick frying pan and fry the bread slices for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown.
Transfer to a plate and dust with cinnamon sugar. Serve the pancakes and French toast with a fresh orange juice and black coffee.