A bit about Curry and Ginga

Perhaps the best way to introduce our blog is to say something about its title. 

On one hand, Curry and Ginga stands for the two cuisines discussed in this blog: curry, a staple Indian dish, represents our interest in that part of the world. Ginga, a Brazilian expression meaning to groove, speaks to our passion for Brazilian flavours (and our nationalities). On the other hand, we chose the name Curry and Ginga because our recipes often and unconventionally marry both culinary traditions - our curries have ginga and our Brazilian dishes are full of spice. 

What is more, these two cuisines are surprisingly compatible. Ingredients like peppers, coconuts, cashews, mangoes and banana leaves, for example, are prominent in recipes from either country. It seems that shared colonial histories (Brazil and regions of India were, in the past, Portuguese territories), a similar climate and maritime trade routes approximated India and Brazil's cuisines. As a result, not only do Brazilian and Indian flavours work harmoniously and deliciously well together, but they also make for the perfect opportunity to explore and discover new and interesting recipes. 

Ultimately, that is what Curry and Ginga is all about: borrowing from the best in Brazilian and Indian cooking to create original, mouth-watering dishes. 

Monday, 27 April 2009

Spiced pão de queijo (cheese bread)

Pão de queijo, which means cheese bread in Portuguese, is a wildly popular snack in Brazil. These small, cheesy, soft rolls are sold at bakeries and supermarkets, routinely served at steak/grill restaurants and invariably had alongside espressos at coffee shops. Surprisingly addictive (pães de queijo give new meaning to the expression 'once you start you just can't stop'), it is a real shame that these tasty cheese bites are not to be found outside Brazil. 
Perhaps the reason why it is so hard to come across pães de queijo anywhere else is that the main ingredients are frustratingly difficult to find. Pães de queijo, to begin with,  are not made with wheat flour but with a special type of mandioc flour called "polvilho." To be exact, polvilho is mandioc startch. Now, although polvilho might be hard to find, it is definitely worth the search and it can at times be found in specialist stores. It is also sold occasionally through online food distributors. For those readers who don't want to go through the trouble of finding polvilho, I've been told tapioca flour is a good substitute. 
Making pão de queijo abroad can also be complicated because it is nearly impossible to find the cheese (called meia-cura) used in its recipe. Fortunately, however, this ingredient can easily be substituted by other mild tasting cheeses such as gruyere, or, for a stronger taste altogether, with parmesan. Having said something about pães de queijo's ingredients, it should be noted that the recipe given bellow is unconventional. To keep with our blog's theme, we have added a pinch of curry powder to our recipe to give our Brazilian cheese breads an Indian twist. The end result is a batch of unpredictably scrumptious cheese rolls that will simultaneously surprise and please the palate. 

300 gr "polvilho doce" (mandioc startch) or tapioca flour (You might need a little more if using the tapioca flour)
1/2 tablespoon salt
80 ml vegetable oil
1 teaspoon butter
125 ml whole milk 
125 ml water
1/4 of a "meia-cura" cheese, grated OR a handful of grated gruyere and a couple of pinches of parmesan cheese. 
2 eggs, whisked
1/2 teaspoon curry powder (or garam masala powder for a different end result).

How to make:

1. In a large bowl, mix the "polvilho", the salt and the garam masala/curry powder. 
2. In a saucepan, bring the milk, water and oil to a boil. Make sure to turn the heat off as soon as the mixture boils. 
3. Add the butter to the saucepan, mix well, and add the contents of the pan to the the bowl containing the dry ingredients.
4. Using a spoon or a kitchen blender, blend/knead the mixture together for approximately 10 minutes. Only use a kitchen blender if it is powerful enough to knead dough. 
5. When the dough has cooled, add the whisked eggs and cheese and knead the dough with your hands until if feels smooth and no longer sticky. Leave the dough to rest for at least 30 minutes. 
6. While the dough rests, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celcius or 356 degrees farenheit.
7. Using your hands, roll the dough into small, ball shaped pieces and place these on a greased baking tray. Bake them for about 20-30 minutes or until they turn golden brown. 
8. Serve hot. 


Pães de queijo should be eaten while still hot. Cold, or re-heated paes de queijo will not taste as good. If you feel you have made too much dough, simply place the already shaped pães de queijo on a tray and freeze them. Once frozen, store the pães de queijo in a zip lock bag and consume within the month.  Make sure to defrost the dough before cooking. 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Let me try again (computer issues?) - I LOVE pao de queijo... always a treat when I visit Brazil. Can't wait to try them spiced!