Saturday, February 6, 2010

Brazilian Rice and Beans

I lived in Brazil for 18 months while serving a mission for my church. The local members of the church invited the missionaries to dinner every day so I got really familiar with the local cuisine...rice and beans. They ate this EVERY would think that one might get bored of such a simple daily meal, but I got so used to it, that on the rare occasion that we did not have a dinner appointment my body would go into withdrawal and I would crave it...after just one day!

So here is how to make authentic Brazilian rice and beans...although each region prepares their beans differently, this is what I learned:

You will need:
Pinto Beans
White Rice
Onion (I prefer sweet onion)
Oil (they use corn oil in Brazil)

The following measurements makes 3-4 servings:

Pour boiling water over 3/4 cup pinto beans and soak for one hour.

The beans will plump up to about 2 cups of beans. Transfer beans to pressure cooker and add water...3 cups water to each cup of beans, so in this case 6 cups of water.

Cook beans in pressure cooker. When steam starts to pour out in a steady stream, set the timer for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, prep your rice by rinsing it until the water runs clear, then leave it to dry want your rice to be pretty dry so that the grains don't stick together. 2 cups of rice is just about right.

You should also chop your onions and prep the garlic...I use about one cup onions and 3 cloves garlic.

Once the beans have cooked you are ready to cook the rice and season the beans.

I do both these things at the same time. Pour a little oil into 2 pans.

Saute half the onions in each pan...then add the garlic to whichever pan you'll be using for the beans.

Pour your cooked beans with all their liquid in with the onions and garlic and leave to simmer. This will thicken the sauce a bit. Salt beans to taste (it might take more than you expect...they taste really bland, then all of a sudden when you've added enough salt the flavor really pops).
Then add your drained rice to the other pot and stir it around in the oil and onions for a minute or two.

After the rice has a quick saute, add boiling water to about 1/4 inch above the rice level. I heat this water in a kettle while I'm cooking the onions. I also salt to taste at this point.
Cover the rice, reduce heat to low, and let cook until all moisture is absorbed...10-15 minutes.
In the region where I lived, the people usually threw some salad on top...just thinly sliced lettuce and tomato with a fresh squeezed lime for dressing so while the rice cooks and the beans simmer I prep the salad.

Finished! This meal brings back such memories!!!


  1. I am eating my leftovers as I read this! Yum!

  2. Can't wait to make it! This is a great healthy dinner.

  3. Made it for the second time last night. Yumm! Served it to my babies this morning with avocado to bump up the calories.

  4. We make Puerto Rican rice and beans, but I'll have to try Brazilian, too. I think it's really interesting that most of the world LIVES on rice and beans, but Americans have such a sense of entitlement that rice and beans is "beneath" us. We miss out on so much!