Pão de queijo is a unique appetizer, I discovered very recently. It has its origins in Brazil and is usually served for breakfast or as a snack during the afternoon. The little balls are made out of manioc flour and taste very cheesy. The special thing about them is the texture: Crunchy on the outside, soft like molten cheese on the inside pão de queijo provides a very special tasting experience. If you ask yourself what pão de queijo means: The literal translation is bread of cheese (pronounced like pow de cajo).
The original is not vegan and mainly consists out of cheese and eggs. Substituting the cheese is super simple. Normally nutritional yeast does the job. Finding an alternative for eggs is a little tricky. I researched in a lot of vegan Brazilian blogs and tried the different options. Sweet potatoes have a nice taste but are not sticky enough. The same goes for carrots. Next thing I tried were potatoes, that in my opinion give the most authentic texture and taste.
It is very important to enjoy pão de queijo immediately after preparing it. Getting cold, the little fluffy balls transform into stones immediately!
By the way: Usually my homemade pão de queijo looks really great. This time, for whatever reason the balls turned out really strange. I guess I was not careful enough with the water dosage. Win or learn, the taste was great anyways! And my blog is named Baking Bad for a reason…
For the original recipe you need two kind of flours.
1: polvilho doce, which can be translated with sweet manioc starch
2: polvilho azedo, fermented manioc starch, that tasted sour and cheesy
Normally you find these ingredients in international stores or big supermarkets. Unfortunately you can not substitute them with other ingredients, if you want to experience the real taste.
Heat up water and oil in a large pot. Add the other ingredients and stir the batter. Create little balls with your hands and place them in the fridge for 15 minutes, so the dough has time to set. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and bake the cheese balls for around 30 minutes until the outside is golden brown and crunchy.
I am Julia, vegan by heart, traveler and minimalist based in beautiful Portugal. I love simple but delicious food, ashtanga, skating, surfing and having a nice conversation over snacks and a glass of wine. I am blogging about vegan food, my minimalist journey, life hacks and my experiences as a traveler.