Coxinha: Brazil’s favorite street food

Coxinha is a popular Brazilian street food made from shredded chicken and cheese, wrapped in dough, and then deep-fried. It is often served with a dipping sauce made from tomato ketchup and hot chili sauce. Coxinha is usually sold by street vendors, who often specialize in this one particular dish.

Where did it originate from?

Coxinha: Brazil's favorite street food

When the food is good, several myths and stories emerge about its origin. And this is the case of the national passion: the coxinha. There is the National Coxinha Day to celebrate this wonder that is a crispy croquette filled with chicken meat and cream cheese that is cleverly molded into a chicken drumstick, then breaded and deep-fried.

There are many stories surrounding the origin of coxinha. The best-known tale is that of Nadir Cavazin, author of the book Stories & Recipes. In his book, the author recounted an intriguing story about coxinhas.

According to Nadir Cavazin, the son of Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil (1846-1921) and Prince Gaston, Count of Eu, a child who lived in seclusion because he had mental issues. This kid required a lot of attention while eating and was quite “boring” to consume. He ate only chicken thighs.

One day, the chef didn’t have enough chicken thighs for the boy, and fearing reprisals, she decided to transform a whole chicken into thighs, shredding it and filling the pastry with the stuffing for a flour dough shaped into a drumstick. The kid liked the results. Empress Teresa Cristina, when she visited him, couldn’t resist having some of the delicious food; she liked it so much that she asked the head of the imperial kitchen to show her how to prepare it.

This story is entertaining, but it’s not consistent. There are no archives or official records to suggest this occurred and all of Princess Isabel’s children lived with her in Rio.

According to Laurent Suaudeau, a French-Brazilian chef, the original recipe for coxinha is French, and other countries have already developed it based on French cuisine.

The work of Antonin Carême, considered by many to be the greatest French chef (1784-1833), serves as proof for the French chef’s assertion. In L’Art de la Cuisine Française au XIXe Siècle – Traité des Entrées Chaudes, from 1844, the cook instructs on how to prepare a “croquette de poulet” (chicken croquette) and recommends that it be molded “en forme de poires” (“in the shape of pears”)

The last story of origin defends that the coxinha may have arrived in Portugal at court during the reign of d. Maria I. Lucas Rigaud, a Frenchman who worked for her, published the book Cook Moderno in 1780. “Pullet thighs or new chickens” is one of the recipes highlighted in the 1999 reissue.

As you can see, there are many stories, but the origin of coxinha is still shrouded in mystery. What we do know for sure is that it’s delicious!

How to make your own Coxinha at home

Coxinha: Brazil's favorite street food

Coxinha is a traditional Brazilian street food that can be easily made at home. All you need is some chicken, dough, and a few other ingredients. Here’s how to make your own Coxinha:

1. Start by cooking the chicken. You can either boil it or bake it. Once it’s cooked, shred the chicken into small pieces.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the shredded chicken, flour, eggs, and bread crumbs. The mixture should be thick and sticky.

3. Wet your hands and shape the mixture into small balls. You can make them as big or as small as you like.

4. Fry the balls in hot oil until they’re golden brown and crispy. Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice. Enjoy!

For the step-by-step coxinha recipe visit: the spruce eats


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How Coxinha has become popular in other countries

Today, coxinha can be found in many different variations, both in Brazil and abroad. In addition to the traditional chicken and cheese filling, coxinhas can also be filled with beef, fish, or vegetables. The dough is often flavored with herbs and spices, and some versions even include fruit or chocolate fillings.

Despite its questionable origins, coxinha has become a popular food item in many different countries. In the United States, coxinhas are often served as appetizers at Brazilian restaurants. They can also be found at some Latin American markets and food trucks.

In Europe, coxinhas have become a popular street food item in Portugal and Spain. In Portugal, they are often served with a dipping sauce made from piri-piri peppers. In Spain, they are typically served plain or with a garlic mayonnaise dip.

With their delicious flavor and versatility, it’s no wonder that coxinhas have become a global phenomenon. Whether you’re enjoying them as a snack on the go or savoring them as part of a meal, these little bites are sure to please!

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