Tacacá is a traditional dish from the Amazon region of Brazil, specifically the states of Pará, Acre, Amazonas, Rondônia and Amapá. It is prepared with a yellowish broth called tucupi, which includes goma, shrimp and jambu. Served very hot, seasoned with salt and pepper, in special decorative gourds. The tucupi and tapioca (which is used in the goma), are the result of pressing grated cassava dough, using a tipiti (the tool for this), which gives us a milky-yellow liquid. Once extracted, the mixture is left standing until the tapioca or goma will chemically separate itself from the tucupi: tapioca will sit at the bottom of the container and the tucupi floats on top.
Initially raw Tucupi is toxic due to the presence of a certain chemical; so after extraction this juice is simmered (the process which will break down the toxic substance).
As we have said before, the origin of this dish is from the indigenous tribes of Pará, and it can also be traced to the historian Câmara Cascudo who first described it to the world; it was derived from an indigenous soup which they called “mani poi”..
Yield: 8 servings
The recipe for Tacacá
* 8 cups (2 liters) Tucupi
* 4 garlic cloves
* 1 teaspoon salt tea
* 4 pimentas de cheiro peppers
* 2 packs of jambu (Paracress)
* 1 lb (1/2 kg.) of dry salted shrimp
* 1/2 cup tapioca starch (if unavailable, use cassava starch)
* Hot peppers
1) Pour the tucupi in a pot, season with garlic, chicory, basil and salt; turn the burner on and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat setting, cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes.
2) Cook the jambu in hot water until the stems are tender, remove, drain and set aside.
3) Remove the head of the shrimp and let them soak in a bowl with water to remove the salt; fry them separately for two minutes.
4) Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, with salt to taste; then dissolve the tapioca starch in a bowl with cold water, then gradually add to the boiling water until this preparation becomes a thick porridge.
5) Prepare the individual bowls: a big amount of tucupi porridge, a few leaves of jambu and 5 desalinated shrimp, then hot peppers if desired; season with salt and pepper to taste.