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A Culinary Celebration of Women’s History Month Series: Brazil

Acarajé Vender in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, recipes below

The origins of Brazil’s popular fast foods date back to the African slave trade. By the 1620s “Brazil absorbed a migration of some 500,000 to 600,000 slaves from Africa up to 1700” write historians Herbert Klein and Ben Vinson. Although they were enslaved people, Afro-Brazilian women entrepreneurs sold prepared foods such as acarajé, on the streets of Bahia and Rio. Originally a popular West African dish, particularly in Senegal, Nigeria, and Ghana, Afro-Brazilian women street venders continue to sell acarajé long after the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1888. Acarajé is a black-eyed pea cake fried in dendê oil (palm oil) and split open like a hot-dog bun served stuffed with vatapá and caruru– spicy sauces made from shrimp, cashews, palm oil and other ingredients. As I talk about in my book Hog and Hominy http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-14638-8/hog-and-hominy, black-eye peas came from Africa where they are known as cow peas. Here are two recipes for acarajé, one traditional and the other vegan:

Traditional acarajé recipe:

Vegan acarajé recipe: http://recipes.wikia.com/wiki/Acaraj%C3%A9

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