Saturday, May 28, 2011

RECIPE - Açaí in a Bowl (Açaí na Tigela)

The açaí berry in its natural state, just as it comes off its palm tree, is not a very appetizing fruit. The berry consists of a very dark purplish-black skin covering a thin layer of light-colored flesh and a large inedible seed. The fruit has no natural sugars, and so the taste isn't fruit-sweet; it's earthy, some would even say dirty, dense and dark.

In the Amazonian rain forest where the açaí palm grows, hose who dwell along the banks of the numberless rivers and streams do eat the berry in this natural state, but outside that region almost no one does. The principal reason is that the açaí berry in its natural state is extremely perishable and fragile, so it's not practicable to store it or transport it. Consequently, the seed of the berry is extracted shortly after harvesting and the remaining flesh and skin are pulped together, then flash-frozen. It is this frozen pulp which is the basic, commercially viable, açaí from which all açaí products are made - from juices, to syrups and on to ice creams, salves and even vodkas.

Açaí first found acceptance in the cities of metropolitan Brazil, far from the rainforests of the Amazon basin, in a dish called açaí na tigela, which in Portuguese means "açaí in a bowl". And that is still the way most Brazilians eat açaí, some of them on a daily basis. You can find açaí na tigela almost anywhere in Brazil, from the food courts of upmarket shopping centers in the big cities of the southeast, to roadside huts and stands in the rural northeast. And for many, Flavors of Brazil included, it's the absolutely best way to eat açaí. It's cooling and refreshing, it satisfies without bloating, and best of all it's delicious. The earthy taste of the berry is tamed, but not processed out of existance. The lovely, rich açaí color is unchanged, giving the dish the color of the most sumptuous royal-purple velvet imaginable.

You don't have to travel to Brazil in order to make your own açaí na tigela. Thanks to açaí's newfound popularity and consequent international availability all you need to make yourself a dish is a blender, some frozen pure açaí pulp (available from Sambazon and other sources), a bit of honey, a banana and some granola. Here's how it's done:
RECIPE - Açaí in a Bowl (Açaí na Tigela)
Makes 1 portion

8 oz (200 gr) frozen açaí pulp (two packets, normally)
2 ice cubes (optional)
1 medium ripe banana (note: equivalent amount of another fruit may be substituted)
2 Tbsp. honey
granola to taste
Cut the banana in half. Reserve one half, and put the other in a blender with the frozen açaí pulp, honey and the ice cubes, if using. Blend the mixture just until it's homogenous. Do not overblend, or it will heat and melt.

Pour the blended mixture into a large cereal bowl. Slice the remaining banana half and top the açaí with the slices. Sprinkle granola to taste over the banana slices.

Serve immediately, before the açaí melts.


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  2. Have you ever tried açaí na tigela from powder? I found out it actually tastes just as good as the frozen pulp stuff or better. I special ordered some guaruna syrup (xarope) to give it a sweeter flavor and all in all it was amazing!!!

    1. Can you post the way you did it from the powder???