First time I saw couscous in the UK, I was surprised. First, because it was a savoury dish. Second, because it wasn’t made of white tapioca. I have no idea what couscous is actually made of (is the name of the grain couscous?!), but it’s certainly not tapioca. But then I remembered that there is a savoury couscous in Brazil as well, although I don’t even know how it looks like (not to mention what it is made of).
The couscous I know – and it is cuscuz – it a sweet dish, very popular in Bahia (the whole of the Northeast?) and in Rio. Apparently in São Paulo and in the south they have a different type. As a kid, I was a pain when it came to food and cuscuz was something that I wouldn’t eat in a million years! A few decades later, I changed my mind and tried it (yeap, firt time eating it, despite always saying I didn’t like it) for the first time during our trip to Bahia, in January.
I not only liked it but also learned to make it. And it’s so easy! Wanna see? Sorry i don’t have the step by step photos, but I only thought about posting the recipe now, after the whole thing has been eaten.
What will you need?
500 grams of tapioca (I saw it in supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s, in the UK, in the “food of the world” section. Brazilian shops abroad might sell it too)
1 liter of milk (we used skimmed, long life one, but some people might prefer to use full fat fresh milk)
1 cup of sugar (it depends on how sweet you like your food – I prefer it to be not so sweet so I can use lots of condensed milk on top. Haha)
Grated coconut (we used two freshly grated coconuts; the brown dried ones, but I don’t think these are easy to find in the UK)
Condensed milk to taste
How do you make it?
Heat – not boil – the milk in a big pan. Once it’s hot, add the tapioca and the sugar to te milk and stir it a bit. Keep it in the fire for 5 minutes or less – this is just to soften the tapioca, not to cook it. Remove it from the fire and pour the content in a baking tray, no need to grease it. Put the grated coconut on top, cover it with a towel and leave it to rest for a few hours. Serve it as it is or with some condensed milk on top.
When we grated the fresh coconut, some milk came out of it. We used part of it in the mixture, but it’s up to you.