Spice Up Your Spring: Exploring the Sizzling Flavors of Brazil With Lègal Hot Sauce

Spice Up Your Spring: Exploring the Sizzling Flavors of Brazil With Lègal Hot Sauce

Spring is here. Gardens are producing abundant crops like fresh peas, asparagus, spinach, kale, lettuce, radishes, and so much more. Spring is also a time for fish that you catch in a river, lake, or ocean and spring lambs. Enjoy it all.

Brazil is known for its distinctive capsicum frutescens malagueta, a small, tapered chili pepper that is about as spicey as the Tabasco pepper. It has a unique flavor that has citrus notes and almost a resiny flavor like you’d get from hops used to flavor beer. It has a distinct flavor that makes it ideal for spring meals.

Fire up the grill, head to the local farmer’s market, and embrace the best of the season. This year, try something new. Explore the sizzling flavors of Brazilian cuisine. It all starts with a bottle of Lègal hot sauce.

Give a Brazilian Twist to Your Spring Staples

As you fire up the grill and get back to your garden, spring fills your fridge with fresh produce, but sometimes it’s hard to spark creativity when you’re busy. Brazilian spices and Lègal hot sauce add a bit of oomph to the flavors of spring. 

Chilies add a kick to salads, entrees, sides, and chocolate desserts. Fragrant cumin and cilantro add depth to milder vegetables like pea pods and greens. You can use cumin to flavor beans for unique Brazilian sides or cilantro, Lègal hot sauce, and chives for a flavorful seasoning butter.

What are some of the most popular Brazilian spices? We’ll discuss them below. You probably already have some of them in your pantry.

Make the Most of Classic Brazilian Herbs, Spices, and Chilies

Here are some of the most popular spices, herbs, and chilies in Brazil.

  • Annatto – The seeds of an achiote tree provide a bright red-orange berry that is often used for its color. It tastes a little like nutmeg.
  • Bay leaf – A bay leaf is a small fragrant leaf that’s often used to flavor stews, beans, and pork.
  • Cilantro – Some people think cilantro’s fragrant, perfumey taste is very soapy. Others find it to be more of a floral citrus taste that is amazing as a fresh topping on dishes.
  • Cinnamon – Sweet, fragrant cinnamon is often used in desserts, but it’s just as good in some stews and bean dishes.
  • Cumin – Cumin has a fragrant, earthy flavor and comes in a powder or whole seeds. You often add it to taco seasoning.
  • Dende oil – Oil made from the fruit of a palm tree. It’s a red-orange color and has a smoky taste.
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic is a must for Brazilian cooking. You can get it in a dried powder, but we prefer fresh garlic. If you hate peeling it, you can purchase it already peeled. Our tip is to purchase a restaurant-sized package of already peeled garlic, mince it in a food processor, and freeze the minced garlic in small ice cube trays.
  • Malagueta Chili Peppers – We touched on the malagueta peppers earlier. It’s unlikely you’ll find them in your local grocery store. Instead, you can get them in a bottle of Lègal hot sauce. Choose from mild, medium, or hot. If you want to try them all, you can purchase them in a trio package and enjoy a bottle of each.
  • Parsley – Parsley is an earthy green herb that’s readily available and probably already in your spice rack. Grow it fresh in pots on your deck or patio.
  • Scallions – Scallions or green onions are easy to find. They have a taste that’s much like a cross between onions and chives.

Brazilian Recipe Ideas to Get You Started

What can you make with these Brazilian ingredients? Here’s an idea for a four-course meal.

Salad: Black Bean and Pepper Salad

Take two cans of low-salt black beans and rinse them in a colander. Put them in a bowl and add:

  • 1 cup fresh peas that have been steamed for a few minutes)
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro or parsley if you dislike cilantro
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 1 diced yellow bell pepper
  • 2 green onions that you’ve sliced
  • Juice of half a lime
  • A clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon Lègal hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Entrée: Piri-Piri Chicken

Piri-piri chicken is a staple and ideal dish for the grill. Marinate a pound of boneless chicken thighs in the following marinade.

  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • Juice from a lime
  • 3 tablespoons Lègal hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dende oil
  • 1 teaspoon annatto seed
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Marinate the chicken all day if possible. Grill over hot coals to sear the outside and then move off to the side to finish cooking off the coals. If you use a gas grill, use an indirect heat method where one side of the grill is turned on and the other is off.

Side: Brazilian Rice

Brazilian rice isn’t hard to make, but it’s delicious and perfect with piri-piri chicken. Start by dicing a medium yellow onion, and a cup of garlic cloves. Add those to a blender with 1/3 cup of olive oil. Blend that until it’s a smooth paste and set aside.

In a large saucepan, mix 2 cups of long-grain white rice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Brown the rice until it’s a pale golden color. Add the garlic and onion mixture and continue browning it for a couple of minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 4 cups of water.

Bring the rice to a boil and reduce it to a simmer. Put the cover on and let it absorb the water for 30 minutes. Top with chopped fresh parsley and chives. If you have a rice cooker, it’s a lot easier to make this.

Dessert: Brazilian Corn Pudding:

Brazilian corn pudding is a take on custard that gets an extra kick from some Lègal hot sauce. Steam three ears of corn and remove the corn from the cob.

Place the corn into a blender and add 2 cups of evaporated milk. Blend until very smooth and strain using cheesecloth. Squeeze the remaining corn pulp to get as much liquid as you can. Move that to a saucepan.

Add ½ cup coconut sugar, 1 egg yolk, and 1 teaspoon of mild Lègal hot sauce. Heat until thickened. Stir in 1⁄2 teaspoon of cinnamon before serving.

The Health Benefits Available With Brazilian Cuisine

Malagueta peppers are high in antioxidants like vitamin C. So are green herbs like parsley and cilantro. Antioxidants help with cellular health and fight free radicals.

Black beans are another staple of Brazilian cuisine. They’re high in fiber and provide B vitamins, calcium, and iron.

You also have Brazilian staple crops like maize, soybeans, and rice. All of these are good for nutrients like calcium, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Skip the same old, same old this season. Jazz up your meals with the magic of herbs, spices, and the impressive malagueta chilies. 

Don’t be afraid to take your old favorites and give them a Brazilian twist. With the mild, medium, and hot Lègal hot sauce options, spice your salads, grilled fare, and side dishes to your preferred spice level. It pairs well with citrus, so get creative and start creating amazing meals and desserts.