Brazilian Street Food Sensations!

Empanadas on dark stone background with chimichurri sauce- argentine roasted meat pies

You’re going to want to clear a weekend for this one – these Brazilian street food dishes are so unbelievably tasty you’ll want to try them all. Possibly all at once.

Street food in Brazil is almost as much of a religion as football, and in a country the size of Europe, the variety is breath-taking.

In the south, food is Mediterranean in style, while the north is more African influenced, but there are a few dishes that are loved the whole country over. If you want to embrace some Brazilian spirit during the Olympics, these are the dishes you just have to try. You might even be inspired to go for a run round the track after, you’ll be making good use of your frying pan for these recipes!

Brazilian Street Food #1:
Coxinhas (pronounced ko-sheen-yas)

Coxinhas literally translates as “little thighs” and are battered spiced chicken croquettes, filled with spring onions, parsley and cheese. They are one of the most moreish snacks we’ve ever tasted, so this recipe will make plenty!

Delicious food consisting of chopped or shredded chicken meat covered in dough molded into a shape resembling a chicken leg battered and fried with hot salsa rustic photo

  • 3 chicken thigh fillets
  • 1l chicken stock
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 chopped cloves garlic
  • 45g butter
  • 430g plain flour
  • 500ml milk
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 2 spring onions
  • 200g fine breadcrumbs
  • 5l vegetable oil

Poach the chicken breasts in the stock for 15 minutes and fry the onion and garlic slowly until transparent.

Leave 350ml of the stock in the pan, pouring away the rest, and then add the butter and 350ml of milk. Slowly beat in the flour and cook until the dough begins to come together. Turn the dough out onto a cool surface and leave until it’s easy to handle.

Meanwhile, chop the chicken, parsley and spring onions as finely as you can, then mix with the garlic and onion, and season to taste.

Knead the dough for 7 or 8 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. Then make as many cherry tomato sized balls as you can, flatten each ball into a disc and add a large teaspoon of the chicken and onion mix in the centre. Bring the sides up and pinch together, so you end up with a small pear shape.

Beat the egg and the remaining milk in one bowl and pour the breadcrumbs into another. Dip each coxinha first into the egg mixture then into the breadcrumbs until well covered.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan until it is about 180ºC/350ºF. To test if the oil is ready just add a small ball of leftover dough and see if it sizzles and rises to the top. When it does you are ready cook the coxinhas in small batches until golden – this will only take a few minutes for each batch.

Enjoy hot or cold with lashings of salsa!


Brazilian Street Food #2: Pão de Queijo (pronounced pon-je-kay-ju)

Think cheesy choux buns. In a good way (okay, whatever way is there?!)

Brazilian snack cheese bread (pao de queijo) in paper cone on wooden table. Selective focus

  • 450g tapioca flour (sometimes sold as tapioca or manioc starch in health food shops)
  • 375ml milk
  • 180g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g strongly flavoured cheese such as Parmesan or feta, grated/crumbled

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6, and line a couple of baking trays with non-stick parchment.

Bring the milk and butter to the boil in a large saucepan. Add a generous seasoning of salt, turn off the heat and stir in the flour. You’ll need some elbow grease to ensure it is well mixed without lumps, or, if you don’t fancy a workout, transfer to a dough mixer and beat until it cools.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing each until thoroughly combined before adding the next. Then beat in the cheese.

Dip an ice-cream scoop or tablespoon in water to help stop the dough sticking, then put tablespoonsful/scoops of dough on the baking trays, leaving a few centimetres between each so they get nice crispy outsides as they bake. Bake for 25-30 minutes until they’re chewy in the centre and golden and crispy on the outside.

Eat warm and with a huge smile on your face.


Brazilian Street Food #3: Empanadas (pronounced em-pan-ar-da)

An empanada (or pastel de carne) is a thin pastry wrapped around a creamy savoury filling (take your pick – anything from cheese to chicken, prawns to palm hearts) and fried until crisp. Start with our SimplyCook Churrasco Chicken recipe and take it from there!

Homemade Stuffed Chicken Empanadas on a Background


Coat the chicken in the Piri-Piri Glaze and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning half way through. Shred the chicken once cooled.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and cook the onion until transparent. Add the sweetcorn and cook for 2 more minutes. Take off the heat, allow to cool for 10 minutes then mix in the Saffron Seasoning.

Mix the chicken and sweetcorn together and add a tablespoon of filling to each wanton wrapper. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg or water and place another wrapper on top, pressing the edges together with a fork.

Heat sunflower oil in a deep pan and carefully deep fry each empanada until golden brown. Eat hot or cold with as much chilli sauce as you can muster.

Brazilian Street Food #4: Crème de Papaya
(pronounced crem-ee-je-pap-eye-a)

A simple, but versatile way to jazz up ice-cream that is perfect to enjoy at anytime – whether you’re wandering through the streets of Rio, or curled up on the sofa watching a movie!


Take your favourite vanilla ice cream, blend with fresh papaya and top with crème de cassis (blackcurrant liquor), or a berry coulis for an alcohol-free version.