Recipe – Sao Paulo, Brazil


1.      Soak a pound of feijao in water overnight

2.      Change water once or twice.

3.      If possible buy a pound of miscellaneous pork parts; ears, tongue…all dried and        sautéed meat. If the meat is not available, then get a pound of smoked sausage.

4.      Mince four garlic cloves and chop one yellow onion.

5.      Sauté garlic and onion in hot oil in a pressure cooker.

6.      Drain feijao and sauté with garlic and onion till onion is translucent.

7.      Add the meat or smoked sausage or both.

8.      Add enough water to cover the feijao mixture twice.

9.      Cover the pressure cooker and cook on medium low for at least an hour.

10.  “Feijoada” is ready.

11.  Serve it with kale (vegetable), farofa (a manioc flour), and orange (to take away the heaviness of the dish).


My mother grew up in Sao Paulo, Brazil for almost twenty years before coming to the States. She doesn’t remember a specific person introducing her to this traditional Brazilian dish. She said she learned the recipe from her girlfriends in Brazil and her cleaning lady. There are endless ways to prepare the dish, so she learned it differently every time. Also, while no one knows why, it is common to eat feijoada every Wednesday and Saturday. Most Brazilians know that feijoada was originally a slave dish. Slaves used feijao (beans) and all the leftover meat from their masters’ kitchen to make this dish. The stew-like dish is rich in protein, which gave the slaves their strength.

“The Production and Consumption of Culture in Brazil,” by Ruben George Oliven, explores the history of feijoada and its cultural significance as a stamp of Brazilian culture. While feijoada is considered a national dish by Brazilians, some varieties of beans (a major component of the dish) are still considered “food only for Blacks (soul food).” (104) I think this misconception is largely a result of a lack of awareness of Brazil’s demographics. Brazil’s Northeastern region has a high population of Blacks, a historical product of colonization and slavery on the sugar cane engenhos. ( The Southern and Western regions are much more balanced in terms of demographics. The Afro-Brazilian presence is manifested in a variety of cultural elements, including food and the feijoada dish.

Like my mom addressed earlier, feijado is usually eaten with other foods, such as vegetables or rice (which is my personal favorite). My mom makes this dish about twice a year. She usually makes a huge batch that we end up eating as leftovers for the next month or two (the leftovers taste just as good as the original). I personally love the underlying history of feijoada.  Brazilians today owe so much of their culture to the African slaves, including a less relevant but equally important cultural element, the traditional dance of capoeira, which is also addressed in the article, “The Production and Consumption in Brazil.”

Annotation: George, Ruben. “The Production and Consumption in Brazil.” Latin American Perspectives (1984). JSTOR. 24 Apr. 2008.