The Pequi Rice (Arroz com Pequi)

Pequi is an interesting fruit that is native to Brazil, it is also known as the souari nut in english and they are very common there, especially in Goiás and Minas Gerais. This fruit has an orange pulp and a pit which has thousands of spines; the pulp is used frequently in cooking and also for making liquor.

Safely eating this fruit will require a special technique: you should never bite on the fruits directly, because of those very painful spines coming out of the kernel. Rice with pequi is a typical dish of the cuisine of Goiás. The yellow pulp of this fruit has a very characteristic rich aromatic flavor. To appreciate this fruit in a special dish, here is a traditional recipe for rice that was developed around this ingredient.

Recipe for Rice with Pequi

* 20 Pequi fruits
* 2 cups [400 g] of white rice,
* 1 large yellow onion
* 1/2 cup [100 g] of olive oil
* 3 red cherry peppers
* Salt to taste
* 2-3 sprigs of green onions, thinly sliced


1) Wash the pequis, gently make a very superficial incision in their outer skin and set aside, wash and drain the rice in a colander. Peel the onion, then chop very finely. Reserve.

2) Pour the olive oil in a pan then heat it up on the stove. Add in the pequi (can be substituted with 1 cup of canned pequi pulp) and the onion. Lower the heat setting. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, add a little water from time to time or even the pequis are soft. Using pequi pulp saute for 5 minutes.

3) Meanwhile in another pan pour 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.

4) Pour the rice in the pan with the pequi and onions and fry, stirring constantly, for another 4 minutes - the rice’s color will change to a pale yellow. Season with salt, add the cherry peppers and pour the boiling water in. Mix and simmer, partially cover the pan.

5) Cook for another 20 minutes or until your rice is tender and has turned yellow. Remove from heat, add the sliced green onions and mix while fluffing it with a fork, then serve immediately.

This rice is served with the pequi fruits still in the rice; but many choose to eat just the rice and not to eat the fruits themselves; just remember to warn your unsuspecting guests to be very careful if they want to eat them and show them how to do so with the safe technique.

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