Thursday, August 20, 2015

Spicy Brazilian Burrito Bowls

There's a new Brazilian place in Leominster, which is a big deal because we never get new places around here.  It's called Comeketo and it's where the old Al Dente used to be, for you locals.  It's awesome!  I have only ordered the same thing every single time - the Brazilian Sensation veggie plate.  It's collard greens saauteed with garlic, rice and beans, fried yucca, and fried plantains (with a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice too).  It's sooooo good.  It inspired me to try out this recipe for spicy Brazilian burrito bowls, and fry up some plantains of my own!

Imagine a Brazilion burrito, full of beans, rice, fresh herbs and fried plantains.  Now take away the tortilla, serve it in a bowl, and you have this dish.  Delicious, semi-healthy (I mean the plantains are fried but everything else is good!), and only as spicy as you make it.  All of the parts are so great, you could totally just make the beans, or the rice, or the slaw, or the plantains, and serve them as side dishes.  But put them all together, and magic happens.

The rice is actually where the spiciness comes from; it's cooked with salsa, so you can decide whether you're going mild or hot (I went with medium as a compromise!).  The black beans are simply heated up with some cumin and chili powder, so they're simple.  Then there's a garlic cilantro slaw, made with shredded cabbage and lots of fresh herbs in a Greek yogurt base with some lime juice tossed in to brighten things.

And oh the plantains.  They get sliced, fried, then smushed a bit and fried once more.  They end up being slightly sweet and caramelized, and altogether my favorite part of the dish.  Don't skip them (like Rachael!).  They're what make the Brazilian bowls Brazilian!  I fried up 4 of them; I was a little worried that one of them was getting a little too ripe, but it actually ended up being my favorite.  It was the sweetest and softest one.  I guess in that way, they are kind of similar to bananas.  Either way, this meal will be happening again.  If you're more of a burrito than a bowl person, wrap it in a tortilla!  Go portable with dinner!  Go eat it outside; there's a great breeze out there today.


spicy Brazilian burrito bowls
from Pinch of Yum
serves 6

for the rice:
1 1/2 cups white long grain rice, uncooked
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups salsa
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons oil of butter
for the black beans:
2 14-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
for the garlic cilantro slaw:
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
4 cups shredded cabbage (or a bag of slaw mix)
for the plantains:
vegetable oil for frying
4 green plantains


1) Make the rice: place the ingredients in a rice cooker and cook until done.  Or, if you don't have a rice cooker like me, bring the water to a boil, then stir in all the other ingredients, cover, and lower the heat to simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.

2) Make the beans: heat the black beans with the spices in a small saucepan until warmed though, adding a little water or oil if necessary.  Keep heat on low to keep warm.

3) Make the slaw: pulse all ingredients except the cabbage in a food processor until mostly smooth. Toss the cabbage with enough sauce to coat; reserve the remaining sauce.

4) Make the fried plantains: peel the plantains and chop them into chunks about 1 inch wide.  Pour enough oil into a heavy skillet to the plantains will be partially covered in oil.  Preheat over medium high heat.  Add the plantains; you should see bubbles if it's hot enough. Fry for a few minutes, then flip and dry for a few minutes more, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.  Smash them with the back of a wooden spoon until they break open slightly.  Put back in the oil and fry for another 2 - 3 minutes until golden-brown.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt.  They should be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside like french fries.

5) To assemble, serve a scoop of rice, beans and slaw into the bowls.  Add the plantains on top with a few cilantro leaves.  Drizzle with extra sauce.

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