Pão de queijo – Brazilian Cheese Rolls

pdq n1

No visit to a Brazilian Churrascaria (Steak House) is complete without trying the authentic Brazilian cheese rolls - the “ Pão de queijo” .

These melt in your mouth cheese rolls are crispy from the outside and soft-to - gooey on the inside, when served warm. Originally served as a snack with coffee or breakfast in Brazil, they are what I call a “Perfectizer” ... perfect appetizers ..more so when you throw a party and prefer not to stuff your guests with just the first course! How good can it get! Its gluten free/ wheat free and made from tapioca starch!

Be it at Fogo De Chao or Texas De Brazil or Rafain, though the highlight always remains the various cuts of meats served by Gauchos, ranging from – Picanha ( Rump Cover), Pork, Chicken, Fraldinha (Bottom Sirloin), Filet Mignon, Lamb & Brazilian Sausage- these cheese rolls have eternally held a special place in my list of “Favorite chow” . My love for them just seems to be increasing with every visit.

So after a recent visit I decided to google for recipes and found a plethora of them. Not sure which one would give me the authentic taste, I decided to ask a couple of friends from Brazil. Surprisingly one of them was not only kind to share her mother’s recipe, but also make a whole lot of them for me!

We had a bunch of friends over one Friday evening, and I thought what best than try out my friend's mom’s recipe. So I planned this to be paired with aged Merlot so that mildness of the cheese in the roll is balanced by smoothness of Merlot.

And Lo!! Before I even realized, I was turning out batches of these little rolls - more than I had ever imagined. Honestly, I had my own apprehensions as to how it would turn out, I certainly didn’t want a disaster in my kitchen minutes before my guests arrived! So I did have back up plans of store bought know just in case.

But, thanks to my friend and her mom, I was sitting that Friday evening as an extremely happy hostess sharing the recipe with my guests – contended with the fact that I had done justice to my Pão de queijos! So folks here I present to you my “perfectizer” of the week...

Ingredients & Method

1 cup of water
1 cup of milk ( 2% reduced fat)
½ cup oil ( canola oil)
1 teaspoon of salt ( iodized)
1lb of tapioca starch
2-3 eggs ( large)
7 oz of grated parmesan cheese

Boil in a wok the following: water, milk, oil and salt. Remove the wok from heat and sift in the Tapioca starch. Add grated cheese into the above mixture and knead well. Allow to cool to room temperature. Add eggs , one at a time, into the mixture and mix well using a wooden spoon. Knead the mixture into a smooth textured dough. Allow the dough sit for 30-45 minutes at room temperature. Shape spoonful of the dough into small balls ( lemon sized) by rolling with hands. Preheat oven to 350F. Place the balls of dough atleast ¼ inch apart on parchment paper or greased baking sheet. The cheese rolls will become twice their original size when done. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Stick in a toothpick/ fruit fork into some the rolls, if it comes out clear the rolls are done. Allow time to cool. Serve warm.

Some Tips:
If using medium sized eggs, then you may want to use 4-5of them. Mixing /kneading by hand gives a far smoother texture to these rolls. Grease your hands/ table spoon with oil before making the balls to prevent sticking. Place the balls well apart from one another to prevent sticking to each other when done. Enjoy with your favorite wine. Add some finely chopped jalapeno to add some spice- if you prefer.



Suganya said...

That looks lovely. Any suggestion on a substitution for tapioca starch?

Eskay said...

Thank you for stopping by Suganya. I now have your blog on my blog roll.

I tried the PDQ out with corn starch recently, but it didnt turn out as well. At this point of time, I am unaware of an alternative..though I am on the hunt for one. Meanwhile, I am resorting to just Tapioca starch
(If you are wondering where to find this, I got this in an Asian food store, as I couldnt find one in any of the Desi Stores).

Suganya said...

Thanls Eskay. BTW, is it really me or have you changed yr blog layout overnight?

Eskay said...

Anytime Suganya! Being left handed I thought it may be good to have the links on the left....but then it struck me that most are changed it:) You are indeed a keen observer.

my comfort food said...

Hi there!

I have been to Brazilian Churrascaria in Manhattan, and I loved these rolls. I would love to make them. But I hope I will be able to find the tapioca flour.

Btw, this is the first time I am on your site, and the food and photos look good.

Eskay said...

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Me too!! I'm a big fan of the PDQ. I bought the flour from a local Asian/Chinese grocery store. You could probably check it out in a one close to you or look for it in speciality/organic food stores.

Anonymous said...

FYI, tapioca flour, tapioca starch, cassava flour...its all the same thing by different names. Can be confusing because with potatoes, corn or wheat, the "flour" is the whole food ground up, and the "starch" is just the extracted starch from the plant, but in the case of the cassava root (also called tapioca or manioc), its all the same thing. If you have a good Latin market in your area you may find it called "harina" (flour) or "fécula" (starch) de mandioca or de cassava. Also Whole Foods or health food stores that a good range of gluten-free products should have it.

zclay said...

The recipe from the restaurant is easier. It does not involve any kneading. If fact it is a liquid that you just pour into the little muffin tins.