Category Archives: Exotics

Pão de Queijo / Brazilian Cheese Puffs / Crack Balls – Recipe and Methods

This recipe is good as a dinner roll or carb loading snack for those who have gluten sensitivity as it doesn’t use flour: it uses Tapioca starch. It also seems to sit fine with people who are lactose intolerant.  All of the people with a non-severe lactose intolrance or sensitivity I know have walked away fine after consuming more than just two or three of these puffs despite the inclusion of cheese and milk in the recipe. It doesn’t make too huge of a difference compared to 2%, but I use whole milk which has more fat and a fraction lower amount of lactose. Unfortunately, tapioca starch has a high glycemic index, so those who are diabetic should not consume too many.  Better yet, don’t let them have any at all. These cheese puffs  are like pringles, you can’t have just one…

Feel free to skip this intro section if you just want the “what” (ingredients) and “how to” (methods). I will be updating this periodically as I repeat and fall upon tweaks that bring me closer to my goal.

I normally wouldn’t post this because the product I create is not perfect every run yet (the inside is not as hollow as i would like sometimes). However, a couple friends (who have not had the real thing) had been requesting that I bring it for the holiday parties, as well as give a recipe so I obliged. I think that the product that I create now is already pretty sweet, enough to share, so prepare to dig in.

I first had Brazilian Cheese Puffs at Agora Churrascaria, a Brazilian steak house, and became so enamored with them, I had a chat with the general manager about the literal, little balls of joy. I went home still obsessed so i hopped online that night and began looking for recipes. I found a couple that call for more or less the same, ingredients-wise, but the proportions I’ve had the most success with came from following TheKitchn, with a few modifications.

I followed the recipe and methods to the T the first couple of times I tried it. However I ended up with a semi different version of my own because it always came out wrong/weird if I followed it exactly (see “Notes” section). I will also be explaining steps as I go along. The primary directions will be in the main bullets. Explanations and clarifications will be in lesser bullets.

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Posted by on February 23, 2017 in Exotics


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How to Pick: Taro + How to Make It Last Longer

When picking Pre-cut Segments with visible cut cross sections:

Look for the ones with as few of the purple “veins” as possible. The center should be mostly white (powdery) with few veins speckled/sprinkled in. If it starts getting more speckled toward the outer 1-3 to 1-4, that is fine. There is enough “powder” to compensate for the taste.

More white space is good because the white is “powder” (rough translation) aka the starch, and lends itself to the signature aroma and flavor of taro. It will also be “fluffy” and light in texture for lack of better words like fresh powder snow. When cooked, taro should practically melt and crumble. Dense packed, purple veiny taro  = vegetal nasty tasting taro. 

When picking out Whole Taro:

Pick the one that is the lightest for its size (least dense). Less density = more powder and fewer veins. See above for explanation of why this is desirable. 

How to Know if you Picked a Good One:

Slice it. If where is white residue clinging to the blade, congratz! You’ve picked a tasty one. That means that powder is in excess, enough to transfer onto other surfaces by contact. 

Making It Keep Longer:

When you get it home, skin it, as in slice the outer brown skin off. This will prevent the taro from “aging” futher and changing in texture.  

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY DO NOT GET THE TARO WET. NO WATER SHALL TOUCH IT. If water gets on it, it will start the decomposition process almost immediately (next day) and go bad very quickly.

To store it, wrap it in brown paper and stick it in a low humidity, cool enviorment. For me, that’s the fridge.

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Posted by on January 31, 2017 in Basics, Exotics


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