Friday, March 12, 2010

Beijinho ('Little Kiss' in Portuguese) (Sweet from Brazil)



The town close to us (Framingham) has a lot of Brazilian residents and the down town has quiet a lot of Brazilian shops. Both V and myself love to try various cuisines. Though we have been staying here for a while, we never thought about visiting the Brazilian restaurants here. It was late last year that we got the idea to visit one of these restaurants when we had started on our weekend venture to try a different cuisine. It was an unforgettable experience when we visited this restaurant called Terra Brasilis (which is become our go-to restaurant when we are not-sooo-hungry but hungry enough to feel like eating out ;-) ...that's the exact way we describe it to our friends here whenever we talk about this restaurant. There is a reason behind it :) . And that's what made it an unforgettable experience the first time.

We entered the restaurant and the manager/employee told us that we could sit anywhere, there wasn't anybody else eating there at the time we went. We let him know that this was our first time eating at a Brazilian restaurant (thank god we did that...because....that's when this gets interesting)... The food was like a buffet, and we went to the meat section which was a grill section serving different types of grilled meats. Since I had the option for just chicken sausage, I took that while V was piling up with his favourites, then something unusual happened , they told us that we need to weigh our plates before returning to our table. The plates were weighed and a receipt was given about the amount charged for the meat served. Instead of returning to our tables, we then moved towards the rest of the buffet section , after all just eating meat was not our idea of a buffet. Like at any other restaurant buffet we went to, we piled up our plates with a lot of food from the rest of the buffet section that had various foods , some looked familiar, while others were typical Brazilian food. I was glad to pile up the plate thinking, yay ..so we need to pay just for the meat and rest of it is all-you-can-eat....while V thought, maybe we need to pay a standard buffet rate at the end. 

What both of us didn't realize until we saw more people coming into the restaurant, started taking food from the usual buffet side and moving towards the grilled meat section and weighing the total plate ! When we finished our first course of food and wanted to go for a second helping (as is normally done at the buffets we have been to in the past), we realized we didn't weigh our plates completely the first time for the food we ate. Realizing our mistake, we felt embarrassed and we apologized to the manager who realized what happened (remember we told him this was our first time !) was amused and cheerfully told us not to worry as this was our first time, it was a funny as well as embarrassing moment for us ...We then did the right thing for our second helping ,(didn't pile up our plates though ;-) .....that's why we call it 'the to-go restaurant for the not-sooo hungry , but hungry to feel like eating out' days ;-) ...you pay for exactly how much you eat ! The food was really good and we became their loyal customers from then on :) We left the the restaurant that day with a discount coupon which we got from the manager that we still use when we go there every month.


It was at this restaurant that we tried this Brazilian sweet made of condensed milk , and shredded coconut coated with powdered sugar and unsweetened powdered coconut. We relished it so much that I wanted to re-create it in my kitchen. Upon researching on internet, I found this was the simplest sweet that could be made by even children (with adult supervision of course) !




It looked and tasted exactly the same way as in the restaurant and is my husband's favorite as its a coconut based sweet.

Ingredients:

Sweetened Condensed milk : 1 can

Sweetened coconut flakes or Shredded coconut : 3/4 cup

1 tablespoon butter

Dry unsweetened coconut : for coating each ball of the sweet
Granulated sugar : for coating each ball of sweet

Method:

  • On medium heat, combine Sweetenend Condensed milk and butter in a deep bottom vessel. 
  • Stir until the mixture starts reducing and leaves the sides of the vessel while stirring. 
  • Take off the heat and add Sweetened coconut and stir until well combined. 
  • Transfer to a bowl, let it cool. Keep it in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. 
  • Then take out and the mixture should have hardened. Now using a spoon or melon scoop, form even size balls, and coat each ball with a combination of unsweetened coconut and granulated sugar. Arrange it on a plate. 
  • As a serving suggestion , you may insert a clove on the top of each ball (that's how it was served in that restaurant :) ...just remember to take out the clove before eating the sweet.
  • Cool it in the refrigerator for few more hours for the coating to harden a bit. Beijinhos taste better the next day when a slight flavour of the cloves penetrate the sweets.  .....Love this sweet and will make again :)
Note:
The left-over cloves can be used as a spice while making tea ;-)

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