Escondidinho is a relatively new dish in Brazil. Although it is claimed to have been invented in the 1930s, it actually became popular quite quickly. Escondidinho prawns are small, colourful and tasty shrimp which are boiled and served with a spicy sauce, usually made with Scotch bonnet peppers, garlic, onion, chilli pepper, and sometimes Rosemary or thyme. As is always the case with Brazilian recipes, the preparation is often influenced by the region in which they are made, with seafood being the mainstay of any Brazilian cuisine.
Escondidinho is not a traditional Brazilian recipe, nor was it ever meant to be. As is apparent from the name, escondidinho is not a cheese; it is a shrimp stew. Although not exactly an "oversweet" cheese like cheddar or parmesan, this dish certainly has its own flavour and texture, which are both different from those described above. Escondidinho can be likened to a chocolate cake in that it has a rich, creamy texture and a rich, intense flavour. As with most chocolate cakes, an easy recipe for escondidinho is to make use of prepared seafood instead of fresh shrimp, which makes the dish even more simple to prepare.
This delicious Brazilian recipe is closely associated with the town of Mambra, which is located on the north-eastern coast of Southeastern Brazil. This is where Escondidinho originally came from - although it is now often made in Sintra and Mambra, the local version of the dish is very different to the original. In fact, it is probably impossible to find this delicious little hidden one in stores in the UK, or in American restaurants - the variety of shrimp and prawns used in Brazilian recipes tends to be very limited, compared to the range of prawn and shrimp available in UK supermarkets and American restaurants.
Traditionally, an iron skillet is used in the preparation of escondidinho. An iron skillet is considered by most Brazilians to be the best tool for cooking any recipe, as well as being the perfect cooking utensil, due to its heat distribution and a non-stick nature. However, due to the variation in sizes and weights of Brazilian pans, it is not always possible to obtain a good heat transfer, even if using a skillet. This is why in many recipes for Escondido, chunks of washed shrimp are cooked directly in a large frying pan (or a large, pre-heated oven), before being placed into individual portions in the oven or directly on the burners.
Escondidinho is served with either rice or cassava bread. It is also sometimes accompanied by a spicy and sour fish stew called carambara, which is traditionally prepared with shrimp, capers, white fish and bananas. The unique flavor of this dish is contributed largely to the presence of garam masala in the recipe, which is made from dried chili peppers. Cassava bread is also commonly served alongside the meat in a delicious traditional Brazilian bowl. This dish is popular all over the country, although it is especially popular in the rural south.
Although historically this type of dish was usually served with raw vegetables, today it has developed a reputation for being one of the world's most popular baked dishes. The main ingredients for this type of dish are butter, cheese, chicken broth, fried onions, chopped mushrooms, garlic and black pepper. In addition to the cheese, onions, mushrooms and chicken broth, a variety of exotic spices and condiments are often added to the mix, depending on the recipe and the local availability. A classic recipe for escondidinho uses softened butter, sliced onions, chopped mushrooms and a pinch of black pepper. Other options for extras include substituting butter for margarine or vegetable oil, or adding cream, eggs and cream cheese to the mix.
One interesting thing about escondidinho is that it does not require a lot of skill in order to prepare. In fact, it is usually more hassle to make than it is to eat. To prepare the butter sauce, for instance, you will need to heat the oven, butter a piece of cheese and pepper. Once the butter has become buttery, mix it with the chopped onion and mushrooms. Then place the cheese in the oven and once the cheese has melted reduce the heat to keep the mixture hot. Once the cheese is fully melted, break an egg onto it and mix it thoroughly with the cooked onion and mushroom mixture, while increasing the heat to bring the egg to its melting point.
In order to serve the dish, simply break an egg into small pieces and place them onto the top of the cooled peppers and mushrooms. Once the egg is completely cooked, add the spicy tomato sauce and garnish with additional cheese and whatever other ingredients are commonly found in the Philippines. The dish is then baked in the oven until it is halfway cooked. Once the internal temperature of the cake reaches 118 degrees, it is served. The Cassava Pur is another great recipe from the Philippines that can easily be made at home, although this may take some time and patience on your part.