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Brazilian Chicken and Saffron Rice (Galinhada)

Brazilian galinhada made with saffron rice and chicken thighs

Galinhada is a chicken and saffron rice dish from Brazil. This one-pot meal is healthy, delicious, and comes together in less than thirty minutes. Add in the fact that it is gluten-free, and galinhada is sure to become your next go-to meal for a busy weeknight. 

Galinhada comes from the portuguese word “galinha,” which simply means “chicken.” Chicken thighs form the protein of this meal, which is essentially a casserole. Bone-in chicken thighs are seared to crisp the skin, then braised in a fragrant liquid of broth, white wine, saffron, vegetables. Rice is added to the braising liquid and cooks along with the chicken, absorbing the flavorful broth. 

Galinhada Mineira vs Galinhada Goiana

Like many, many dishes in Brazil, there are variations of galinhada depending on which region you are in. The two most prevalent versions are mineira and goiana. The main difference tends to be in the preparation of the chicken. Galinhada mineira uses chunks of chicken, while the goiana recipe calls for whole, bone-in pieces. 

Galinhada goiana also incorporates regional flavors, such as heart of palm, that give it a unique flavor. Today, we are making a mixture of the two recipes. We will be using the traditional mineira ingredients but adding a goiana touch by with whole, bone-in chicken thighs (with the skin).

A Note on Saffron

Saffron is expensive, so you want to get the most flavor and color you can from it. In order to do this, you will need to bloom your saffron in a little hot water for twenty minutes or so before you use it. Simply add your saffron threads to about 2 tablespoons of hot water (hot to the touch, but not boiling). Steep for twenty minutes or until the water takes on a beautiful orange color. 

Many methods for blooming saffron require you to grind the threads beforehand. However, since we are only using a few threads, you can steep them whole and add this liquid to the broth. In the end, your rice will be flavorful and a gorgeous yellow color. 

Saffron Substitutes

If you do not have saffron or do not wish to spend the money on it, turmeric is a worthy substitute. It also has many health benefits, including clinically documented anti-inflammatory properties. The taste is somewhat different, but you will achieve an overall earthy flavor and a comparable yellow color. If you are substituting turmeric in this recipe, use about ¼ to ½ tsp. 

Can I Use Chicken Breast for Galinhada?

Yes, you can use chicken breast or boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this recipe. However, you will want to skip the step where you pan sear the meat to avoid over-cooking. You can also cube the meat beforehand, and your dish will come together even more quickly.

Brazilian Saffron Chicken and Rice (Galinhada)


5 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in
2 cups of short grain rice
½ large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large bell pepper, diced (you can substitute a jalapeno or two for some heat)
6-7 saffron threads
¾ tsp ground cumin
¾ cup dry white wine
2.5 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 can diced, stewed tomatoes
2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
½ cup fresh or frozen corn
Extra virgin olive oil


  1. Put your saffron threads in two tablespoons of hot water and let them steep. Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over medium heat. 
  2. Season your chicken thighs with salt, pepper, and a little cumin. 
  3. Add a drizzle of oil to the pot and sear the chicken skin-side down for 2-3 minutes, until golden and crisp. Sear the other side for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  4. Transfer the seared chicken to a plate. In the same pan, add a little more olive oil and cook your diced onion and bell pepper until softened.
  5. Add in the minced garlic and cook just until you start to smell it (under 1 minute).
  6. Add in the rice and toast with the vegetables for another 2 minutes.
  7. Now, add in the white wine and stir until it reduces by at least half. 
  8. Pour in your chicken stock, bloomed saffron, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the chicken back to the pan, and bring the liquid to a boil.
  9. Once the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. 
  10. Let the mixture simmer and reduce for thirty minutes, until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid. A few minutes before it is finished, stir in the green peas and corn.


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Brazilian Alexander Cocktail Recipe: Jaguar’s Milk

How to Make Leite de Onça for Festas Juninas

Brazilian jaguar's milk cocktail drinks on teal tabletop

In Brazil, the Festas Juninas are in full swing. Also known as the Festas de São João (in honor of St. John), these harvest celebrations are brimming with traditional costumes, dancing, music, food, and beverages. Brazilians show gratitude for the rural way of life and enjoy the fruits of the farmer’s labors. 

The festas are a kind of county fair, with each region having its own version and traditions. In general, corn dishes are extremely popular, since the festas coincide with the second national harvest of sweet corn. In addition, you will find traditional Brazilian vendor food, from insanely garnished Brazilian hot dogs to a comforting bowl of pamonha

When it comes to drinks during the festas, spiced cocktails are quite popular. Brazilian mulled wine is a favorite-a blend of red wine, warming spices, and orange peel. A similar (and much stronger) drink is made with cachaca (quentao de cachaca) in place of red wine and is also served hot. 

Cold Drink for Festas Juninas

Another favorite beverage served during the Festas is called Leite de Onça, which translates to “Milk of the Jaguar.” There are many theories as to the origin of the name of this cocktail. The milk aspect is obvious when you see the drink, which is a creamy off-white thanks to its primary ingredient (which is, in fact, condensed milk). 

The “jaguar” part of leite de onça is more mysterious, but it may exist as something of a warning that this is NOT your everyday glass of milk. It is quite potent, and its effects can sneak up on you if you’re not careful-not unlike a certain sleek feline predator stalking its prey. 

Like quentão de vinho and quentão de cachaça, jaguar’s milk is garnished with cinnamon. The spice gives the cold, creamy drink a flavor similar to egg nog, but with a chocolatey undertone (thanks to cocoa liqueur). 

Leite de Onça vs Alexander Cocktail

If you dabble in mixology, you will notice similarities between the Jaguar’s Milk drink and the classic Alexander Cocktail. Both use cream and chocolate liqueur or creme de cacao. However, the Jaguar’s milk version trades cognac for cachaca and adds the distinctly Brazilian touches of cinnamon and condensed milk

How to Make Brazilian Jaguar’s Milk (Leite de Onça)

Jaguar’s milk for Festas Juninas (or any occasion) is very simple to make. For one glass of leite de onça, you will need just five ingredients:

  • 1 oz Condensed milk
  • 1 oz Chocolate liqueur (such as Godiva)
  • 1 oz Cachaca
  • 1 oz heavy cream
  • Ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks for garnish

Put your condensed milk, creme de cacao/chocolate liqueur, cachaca, cream, and a good scoop of crushed ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake well and pour into a glass. Sprinkle a little ground cinnamon on top and garnish with a whole cinnamon stick. 

Jaguar’s Milk FAQs

Can You Blend Jaguar’s Milk?

Sure! It is traditionally shaken, but you could certainly put all your ingredients and some ice in a blender and make an icy version. 

What If I Don’t Have Cachaca?

The cachaca is essential in the traditional Leite de Onca. However, there is nothing wrong with substituting a little spiced rum if you cannot find the Brazilian spirit anywhere.

Is There a Dairy Free Version of a Brazilian Alexander?

Certainly. You can enjoy a dairy-free version of the leite de onça by omitting the heavy cream and substituting the condensed milk with coconut cream or milk. 

What Should You Eat with Jaguar’s Milk?

Leite de onça is a very rich and very sweet beverage. As such, it tends to pair better with lighter food options. Try it with a seasoned corn on the cob or a serving of bite-sized Brazilian cheese bread. Yuca fries are also delicious and healthier on the waistline than fried potatoes. 

Summer Grilling from Texas de Brazil

Skip the brats and burgers. Elevate your next barbecue with a Grill Package from Texas de Brazil’s online butcher shop. We deliver premium cuts of meat right to your door, including our famous Brazilian sausages and grade A picanha. Visit our site to build your box today. 

What is Brazilian Style Pizza?

How Pizza in Brazil is Different

Brazilian style pizza with boiled egg and ham

Italian immigrants came to Brazil in the late 19th and early 20th century. They were incentivized to work as laborers, predominantly in the coffee fields. Between 1880 and 1900, over 1 million Italian immigrants arrived in Brazil, bringing their customs and cuisine with them. 

Today, over 30 million Brazilians claim Italian ancestry-the largest population outside of Italy itself. It is no surprise, then, that Italian food is extremely popular. Pizza, in particular, is a national favorite. There are over 6000 pizzerias in Sao Paulo alone, and Brazilians love it so much that many restaurants offer a set price for all-you-can-eat (“rodizio”) slices.  

Brazilian Pizza Toppings

Most Brazilian pizza starts with a thin, crisp crust and a traditional base of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. From there, the toppings range from the familiar to the adventurous. The quintessential “Brazilian” pizza is known on menus as a pizza portuguesa

Portuguese-style pizza includes ham, calabresa sausage, bell peppers, sliced tomato, onion, black olives, and boiled eggs. Variations may also include green peas or corn. 

Another favorite in Brazil is the pizza de frango com Catupiry. This translates to “chicken with Catupiry,” which is a brand of Brazilian cream cheese that finds its way in much of the country’s cuisine. The pizza crust is topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and shredded chicken, then drizzled with the Brazilian cream cheese. 

Dessert pizzas are also popular in Brazil. In fact, it is quite common to order a pizza that is half sweet and half savory. Condensed milk, coconut flakes, chocolate, bananas, and strawberries are some common sweet toppings. 

Brazilian pizza with shredded chicken and cream cheese
Brazilian pizza de frango com Catupiry: shredded chicken topped with a drizzle of Brazilian cream cheese.

All You Can Eat Pizza in Brazil

In the US, “all you can eat” is typically associated with buffets or other self-serve dining experiences. In Brazil, servers present various dishes to seated guests, who can accept or decline the offer of food. The servers come round continuously throughout the evening, a style of dining known as rodizio. This is the same style of eating found in Brazilian steakhouses, or churrascarias. 

Americans might be surprised to learn that Brazilians eat pizza in this style as well. After all, we tend to think of pizza as a quick meal to be eaten on the go or carried out. But Brazilians do not prefer to eat quickly, and pizza is no exception. Most pizzerias in Brazil offer an all-you-can-eat option for a set price. Rather than ordering an entire pizza with pre-selected toppings, you have the opportunity to sample many different slices at a leisurely pace . 

How to Eat Pizza in Brazil

Brazilians, as a rule, do not eat with their hands. This means you can expect to see people eating pizza with a fork and a knife. If absolutely necessary, you may hold your pizza slice with a napkin, but never with a bare hand. 

Enjoy Rodízio at Texas de Brazil

Rodizio style dining is a truly unique experience that combines the convenience of a set price with the luxury of fine service. At Texas de Brazil, our gauchos are trained in this traditional way of serving, offering the finest cuts of churrasco-style meats carved right onto your plate. Visit one of our 50+ locations across the US and internationally to sample authentic Brazilian cuisine in a truly refined atmosphere. 


Homemade Cream Cheese Recipe (Requeijao from Brazil)

Brazilian Cheese Spread is Delicious and Easy to Make

Brazilian cream cheese in glass bowl with wooden spoon

Requeijao is a famous cheese spread in Brazil similar to American cream cheese. Like cream cheese, it has a wide variety of applications, from sweet to savory. It is commonly used in pasta sauces, for example, or spread on top of crusty french bread for an afternoon snack.

Requeijo originated in Minas Girais, a state in Brazil that continues to be the highest producer of milk in the country. In 2015, it is estimated that the state produced over 9 billion liters of milk! Unsurprisingly, many other famous Brazilian milk and cheese dishes have their roots in Minas Girais, including the ubiquitous pão de queijo.

While requeijao is likened in taste to cream cheese, the name is actually Portuguese for “ricotta.” In fact, many homemade recipes for requeijo call for some amount of ricotta. 

The texture of requeijao, however, is unlike either cream cheese or ricotta. It is generally much softer, sometimes even approaching a liquid-like state. In this way, it might be compared to a creme fraiche or thinner sour cream. 

Whatever you compare it to, it is distinctly Brazilian and very delicious. Requeijao is sold in stores and online in a signature pot with a plastic lid. Brazilians eat so much of it that you can find loads of sites dedicated to reusing requeijao pots in craft or DIY projects around the house. 

Luckily, you can avoid a back-log of plastic requeijao containers by making your own Brazilian cream cheese at home. It is extremely simple to make and will keep for up to 10 days in the refrigerator. 

Requeijão Cremoso vs. Requeijão de Corte

Today we are making requeijao cremoso, the creamy spread that cannot be sliced like a hardened cheese.There is another dish in Brazil called requeijao de corte. This is a regional cheese that is mild, yellow in color, and hard enough to cut into slices. 

Questions About Making Brazilian Cream Cheese at Home

Do I have to use whole milk?

No, you can substitute 2 percent milk in place of whole milk. It is not recommended that you use anything leaner than that, though, or you will have a hard time attaining the desired consistency.

What if I don’t have lemon juice?

You can substitute the lemon juice in this recipe for another mild acid, like white vinegar.

Do I have to add parmesan and mozzarella?

No, the addition of these cheeses is completely optional. If you choose to omit them, you will not need as much liquid milk when you blend the ingredients, and you may want to add some additional salt. 

Can I freeze Brazilian cream cheese?

Unfortunately, this recipe does not freeze well. The mixture tends to separate or develop a granular texture. 

Homemade Cream Cheese Recipe (Requeijao from Brazil)


7.5 cups (60 oz) whole milk
½ cups heavy cream
2 oz lemon juice or vinegar
½ tsp salt
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1.5 tablespoons butter 


  1. In a large pot, bring milk to a boil. Remove from heat and add vinegar or lemon juice. Stir until curds begin to form.
  2. Line a colander with cheese cloth and place over a large bowl. Ladle the curds into the colander and press to strain any excess liquid. Rinse curds with cold water to remove any additional vinegar or lemon juice.
  3. Squeeze curds in cheese cloth to remove as much liquid as possible.
  4. Place curds in a blender with salt, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, butter, and half of the whipping cream. Blend until smooth, adding more heavy cream as needed to attain a smooth, spreadable texture. It should be fairly runny (it will thicken as it cools).
  5. Pour cheese mixture into a clean, sealable container. 
  6. Refrigerate for four hours or overnight before using. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days. 

How to Eat Requeijao

There really is no limit on what you can pair with your Brazilian cream cheese. It can be used as a substitute in any recipe that calls for ricotta, as well as a filling for sandwiches, Brazilian cheese bread, and crepes. It makes a delicious sauce for pasta, either mixed with tomato sauce or on its own in macaroni and cheese. 

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