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Brazilian Gumbo

The noted Brazilian historian Gilberto Freyre argues that enslaved Afro Brazilian women enriched Brazilian foodways with the introduction of African ingredients such as peanuts, peppers, okra, yarbs, inexpensive, calcium rich, and easy to grow greens leafy vegetables, palm or dendê oil, and coconut milk. The yarbs provide a rich source of fiber and vitamins that cleansed the colon. Afro Brazilian women cooks also used an abundance of vitamin C rich pepper, vitamin A rich coconut milk, and vitamin E rich palm oil which they used in making soups. Hence the palm oil, coconut milk, and pepper provided liberal amounts of vitamin C, A, and E. Carurú is an example of a Bahian gumbo dish containing many of these African introduced ingredients listed above: “‘Carurú’ is a dish eaten by the blacks, but is much esteemed by the whites, and is, to my taste, very delicious," writes traveler to Brazil James Wetherell in 1860. Here is a traditional Carurú recipe that can be adapted to make a vegetarian version.

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