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Fish Balls (Bolinho de Bacalhau)

fried fish balls served with wedges of lime in a silver tray.

These fried fish balls are a favorite in Brazil, especially on the Christmas dinner table. They are bite-sized, delicious, and very simple to make-three things we love in a recipe. They are, essentially, a kind of fritter, similar to coxinha or acaraje. The filling is much simpler, however, consisting only of salt cod, potato, onion, garlic, egg, and a few herbs and spices. 

Salt Cod for Brazilian Fish Balls

The traditional recipe for bolinho de bacalhau uses salt cod. We have used this ingredient before in our bacalhau com natas, or salt cod in cream. Like many salted meats, salt cod originated as a means of preserving the fish year round before refrigeration.

Cod was once especially plentiful in the Atlantic ocean, so many countries sharing a coast with these waters have a long-standing culinary partnership with this type of fish. Portuguese colonists likely brought their recipes for salt cod to Brazil, where it remains a favorite ingredient in a variety of recipes. 

While you can use fresh cod for our Brazilian fish balls, we recommend the salt version. It is easy enough to find in most online super markets and specialty stores. Salt cod has a milder flavor and chewier texture that really lends itself to a croquette. Plus, you don’t need to worry about overcooking or undercooking it.  

Preparing Salt Cod for Bolinho de Bacalhau

The salt cod we are using for our fish balls is, technically, already cooked. It does need to be soaked for at least a day, however, to rehydrate the meat somewhat and rinse away most of the salt. Ideally, you should change the water at least three times over this period, since it will become saturated with the salt and unable to draw anymore out. 

Making the Filling for Fish Balls

The filling for our bolinho de bacalhau consists of shredded salt cod pureed with potatoes, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, egg, and heaps of fresh parsley. We like to saute the onion and garlic beforehand to keep the flavor mild, but you can use them raw if you like a little bite. If you don’t have a food processor or blender, you can just as well mash the ingredients together using a traditional potato masher or whip them using your stand mixer. 

Brazilian Fish Balls Recipe (Bolinho de Bacalhau)


1 lb of salt cod
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small chunks
½ small onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 eggs
1.5 tsp salt (more to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper
1.5 oz chopped fresh parsley (about 3 tablespoons)
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup flour
Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Remove the salt cod from the water in which it has been soaking. Transfer it to a stock pot or large saucepan and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a rolling simmer. Cook for fifteen minutes, then remove the fish to a plate (keep the boiling liquid).
  2. Put the chopped potatoes into the same water used to boil the salt cod. Boil them until they are fork tender (around 20 minutes). 
  3. While the potatoes are boiling, heat a small skillet over medium. Add in a drizzle of olive oil, then put in your diced onions. When they have softened (1-2 minutes), add in the minced garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds.
  4. When the salt cod has cooled enough for you to handle, shred it finely with two forks or your fingers.
  5. In the belly of a food processor, add in the cooked potatoes, shredded fish, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and parsley and pulse to combine. Then add in one egg and pulse again until you have a uniform-looking mixture. It should be fairly cohesive. If it is too crumbly, add in a little water. 
  6. Fill a large pot with enough oil to submerge your fish balls (about four cups). Heat over medium-high until it reaches 350 degrees fahrenheit. 
  7. While the oil heats, make a dredging and breading station: put ½ cup all purpose flour in one dish; beat two eggs together in a second dish; add the panko bread crumbs to a third dish.
  8. Scoop a small amount of your fish ball filling into your hands (oil them beforehand) and roll into a ball. Coat each ball with flour then dip it into the egg mixture (shake off excess). Finally, roll the ball into the breadcrumbs. Repeat until you have used all of your filling.
  9. When all your fish balls are breaded and the oil is ready, fry them in batches until they are golden brown. Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Serve piping hot with your favorite dipping sauce. (We recommend this creamy garlic sauce.)

More Delicious Brazilian Recipes to Try:


Pumpkin Fudge (Brigadeiros com Abobora)

pumpkin fudge balls (brigadeiros) with cinnamon sugar dusting

Brigadeiros are a popular sweet treat in Brazil similar to American fudge. With Halloween fast approaching, most of us here in the US are indulging in all things pumpkin spice, from lattes to donuts. But what about pumpkin fudge? It’s so easy to make and the creamy, indulgent sweet flavor is a perfect canvas for pumpkin. Skip the complicated pies and breads and make a batch of pumpkin fudge balls instead for your next Fallget-together.

Pumpkin Fudge vs Brigadeiros

We are technically making pumpkin brigadeiros today, not fudge. Both utilize condensed milk as the main sweetener and thickener. The main difference is the shape and texture. Brigadeiros are rolled into balls, as opposed to the cut squares of traditional American fudge. They are also softer than fudge, since they typically omit ingredients like chocolate chips in favor of cocoa powder or other non-hardening ingredients, like coconut milk and butter.

The cooking time is also different for brigadeiros vs pumpkin fudge. Fudge requires minimal heat, just enough to melt the ingredients together. For brigadeiros, the condensed milk and other ingredients must be cooked and stirred continuously for up to fifteen minutes to fully thicken the mixture. 

Do Brazilians Even Like Pumpkin Fudge?

You may be wondering about the authenticity of this recipe. After all, most Brazilians do not celebrate Halloween, which is the driving force behind many American Autumn traditions (including all things pumpkin spice).

Likewise, Brazilian Fall does not occur during October, but during our spring months (March-May). So the chilly temperatures we associate with the ever-divisive pumpkin spice latte are irrelevant during the same time period in Brazil. 

So the question is: do Brazilians even like pumpkin sweets, like fudge or brigadeiro? We would say, “yes!” Sweets and new flavors never go amiss in Brazil, and there are plenty of national savory dishes that already incorporate pumpkin. So it seems only natural that a sweet pumpkin dish would be appreciated.

Tips for Pumpkin Fudge Balls

There are a few things you can do to make assembling your round pumpkin fudge/brigadeiros easier:

  1. Don’t Over/undercook: the first step  is to make sure you do not undercook or overcook your mixture. If undercooked, the “dough” will be too soft to roll into balls; overcooked, and it will harden to the point that you can’t scoop any out to roll. 
  2. Grease your hands: coat your hands in a little softened butter as you roll your pumpkin fudge balls. This will keep them from sticking to your palms and fingers.
  3. Adequately chill: chill the dough just long enough to harden, but not so long it becomes impossible to scoop. One hour should be sufficient. 

Storing Pumpkin Fudge

You can make pumpkin fudge balls ahead of time. They will keep well for a week or so stored in a container with a lid. You can also freeze them, but it is better if you just freeze the mixture rather than the fully assembled brigadeiros. If you do want to freeze the individual balls, avoid the sugar dusting until ready to serve. It will absorb into the frozen balls, affecting their texture. 

Pumpkin Fudge Balls Recipe (Brigadeiros com Abóbora)


For the fudge:

One 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 oz pumpkin puree
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground cloves
⅛ tsp ground ginger
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
20 mini cupcake liners

For the coating:

¼ cup raw sugar
tsp cinnamon


  1. Combine the condensed milk, butter, pumpkin puree, and spices in a saucepan and stir over medium heat. You will need to stir constantly to avoid the mixture burning. When the mixture begins to bubble lightly, keep stirring until you can drag the spoon along the bottom of the pan and see it clearly for a few seconds. This should take around fifteen minutes. 
  2. Transfer the mixture to a plate or bowl and refrigerate for one hour.
  3. Mix your raw sugar and cinnamon together and put it in a shallow dish or tupperware for easy coating. 
  4. Remove the hardened pumpkin fudge from the refrigerator. Butter your clean hands and scoop a small amount of the fudge and roll into a bite-sized ball. Roll the ball in the cinnamon sugar, then place in a candy cup. Repeat until you have used up all of your mixture. 
  5. Serve immediately or chill for up to four days before guests arrive. 
  6. Serve with hot coffee or a mug of quentao de vinho

More Delicious Brazilian Recipes to Try:

Chocolate Orange Cake (Bolo de Laranja)

chocolate orange cake

Orange season is fast approaching, and we can’t wait. There is nothing better than the refreshing bite of a ripe navel orange, or a glass of freshly squeezed juice. Oranges also lend themselves nicely to a variety of recipes, both sweet and savory. Today, they are the star of a truly special dessert: chocolate orange cake. 

Brazilian Chocolate Orange Cake

Strictly speaking, this is not a traditional recipe. The original recipe is from Portugal, where it is known as bolo de laranja. The Portuguese climate is especially conducive to growing oranges and other citrus, so many national dishes incorporate these fruits. Recipes vary, but orange cake is oftentimes a sheet or bundt cake eaten on Sundays during Lent. A light dusting of powdered sugar is the finishing touch. 

Brazilians (famous for their sweet tooth) prefer an orange-infused syrup to soak into the finished cake, which is also baked in a bundt or tube pan. We are taking it one step further and making a chocolate ganache to drizzle over the orange cake. 

You may find recipes for bolo de laranja that call for beaten egg whites. This gives the cake an extra lift and a crisper texture. You can certainly do this, but we are feeling lazy and are opting to get our rise through oil, baking powder, and baking soda. 

Oil vs Butter for Bolo de Laranja

You can use butter or oil for your chocolate orange cake, but we recommend oil. Oil tends to produce a more moist, even crumb than butter. This is not only important for mouth feel, but also for presentation when you slice into the cake. You won’t have any pieces crumbling away when you serve this cake. 

If you do wish to use butter, you can use the same amount of melted butter as you would oil. When using solid butter, you will need to use 25% more in volume. Our recipe today calls for ½ cup of oil, so you would use ⅔ cup of butter or other solid fat. 

Ganache for Chocolate Orange Cake

Ganache is simply chocolate slowly melted with cream. The ratio of cream to chocolate for your orange cake will depend on the type you use. In general, dark chocolate (semi-sweet) calls for a 1:1 ratio of chocolate to cream; milk chocolate requires slightly less cream, usually 1 part of cream to two parts of chocolate. 

We recommend the semi-sweet ganache for the bolo de laranja. It is already quite sweet, so the slightly bitter taste of the chocolate helps to off-set that. Plus, the appearance of the glossy dark chocolate makes it a real show-stopper. 

Feel free to add in a little boozy flavor to the ganache as well. We’re adding a splash of Grand Marnier to suit the orange theme, but a little spiced rum would do nicely, too. 

Fresh Orange Juice vs Bottled for Bolo de Laranja

Of course, we are going to recommend fresh squeezed orange juice for this recipe; and with navels coming into season soon, there is no reason to go store bought, in our opinion. Not only is the flavor unparalleled, you will benefit from the antioxidants and enzymes that are destroyed during the bottling process. 

That being said, if you don’t want to squeeze it yourself or you don’t have a good supply of fresh oranges near you, bottled will be fine. Just choose a version with pulp and no added sugar. 

Chocolate Orange Cake Recipe (Receita de Bolo de Laranja com Chocolate)


For the Cake Batter:

2.5 cups AP flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large eggs
1 cup orange juice
2 cups white sugar
For the Ganache:
9 oz bittersweet chocolate chips or roughly chopped bars
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp Grand Marnier


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour. 
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in your eggs, sugar, and olive oil. Mix on low until combined. Add in the orange juice, and mix again until blended.
  4. Add in your sifted dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Try not to over-mix.
  5. Grease a bundt pan with non-stick spray or butter and a coating of flour. Pour the cake batter into the pan and place in the center of the oven. 
  6. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the batter comes out clean.
  7. Turn the cake out onto a serving tray and let it cool for at least an hour.
  8. When the cake is cool, make your ganache. Heat a double boiler over medium-high heat and pour in the cream. Let it heat for a couple of minutes, then add in the chocolate. Stir constantly over the heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is glossy. Finally, whisk in your Grand Marnier. 
  9. Drizzle the ganache over the top of the cake. Garnish with fresh orange zest and a few fresh orange slices. 

Storing Chocolate Orange Cake

Your bolo de laranja com chocolate will keep under a cake dome or in a storage container at room temperature for two days, and up to ten in the fridge.  

More Great Brazilian Recipes to Try:

The Best Date Night Restaurants Have Churrasco

Couple at Table

When it comes to planning a memorable and romantic date night, choosing the right restaurant is key. You want a place that not only offers delicious food but also creates a warm and intimate ambiance. You might also want something fun and unique. Luckily, Texas de Brazil ticks all those boxes and more. Read our article to discover why we think the best date night restaurants include churrasco, a bustling atmosphere, and unparalelled service. 

Date Night Restaurants Should Have Great Food (Obviously)

It goes without saying that a good date night spot should have delicious food. But we take it one step further by presenting said delicious food in a truly unforgettable manner. 

One of the top reasons why Texas de Brazil tops our list for best date night restaurants is its unique dining concept. We are a churrascaria-style restaurant: you’ll be treated to an all-you-can-eat feast of flame-grilled meats, cooked to perfection and served right at your table. Our expertly trained gauchos will bring skewers of succulent, sizzling meats, including beef, lamb, chicken, and pork, and carve the best morsels directly onto your plate. 

The gauchos, by the way, are an integral part of Texas de Brazil’s lively atmosphere. Wearing traditional dress (minus the deadly facón) and whirling around the tables with their loaded silver skewers, you are instantly transported to the authentic churrascarias of Brazil. A touch of whimsy and cultural immersion never killed the mood, did they?

A Date Night Option Should Have…Options

The best date night restaurants should also have variety. While the meats are the main attraction, Texas de Brazil’s gourmet salad bar is a delightful complement to the experience. It features a wide array of fresh vegetables, cheeses, charcuterie, and other delectable items. This is not your average salad station: it’s an opulent selection of appetizers and sides that can please even the most discerning palates. 

The salad bar is also flanked by our hot side dish offerings, including our famous feijoada (black bean stew), silky lobster bisque, and fluffy jasmine rice. Your gaucho will bring other sides directly to your table, the most important of which are the chewy, melty Brazilian cheese bread bites.

The Best Date Night Restaurants Facilitate Conversation 

Sharing is an essential ingredient in any successful date night. Texas de Brazil encourages a communal dining experience, making it ideal for couples. You can indulge in the various meat and salad bar selections together, savoring each bite and discussing your favorites. The process of selecting and trying different cuts of meat creates a sense of adventure and togetherness that enhances the romantic atmosphere.

A Cozy and Intimate Atmosphere is Crucial

Texas de Brazil takes great care to create a romantic atmosphere without too much pressure. The dimly lit dining area, comfortable seating, vibrant decor, and attentive staff all contribute to a cozy and intimate ambiance. And while it is certainly a high end dining experience, it never feels overly posh or stuffy. You are just as welcome in jeans as you are in a tuxedo.  

We think the best date night restaurants should want to help you celebrate your romance with free tokens for special events. If it happens to be your birthday or anniversary, for example, let your gaucho know so he or she can help make the night even more special. Also, be sure to sign up for Texas de Brazil’s eClub. It’s free, and you’ll receive a gift when you choose to celebrate your milestone with us. 

Extensive Wine and Cocktail Selection

No romantic dinner is complete without the perfect drink to accompany your meal. Texas de Brazil offers an extensive wine list that includes a variety of reds and whites to suit your tastes. Of course, we also serve delicious cocktails to pair with your dinner. A passion fruit caipirinha never goes amiss on a date night. 

Night-In Options

Sometimes, the best date night restaurant is your own kitchen. Cooking for someone is a wonderfully romantic gesture, especially if you have high quality ingredients. Texas de Brazil’s online butcher shop lets you select from hand-curated butcher boxes or choose your own items a la cart. The finest cuts of lamb, beef, and pork are delivered right to your door, ready for you to grill, roast, and sear. A proper steak dinner, a glass of wine, and your favorite Netflix show sounds like a more than acceptable plan to us. 


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