Portuguese food does not enjoy the high profile of more well known European cuisines but that is more of a reflection on the Portuguese people than their food. They are understated, simple even but just under the surface they are fiery and passionate.
And the same can be said for many countries around the world, take a close look at how they prepare their cuisine, the flavours and the time taken and you have a window into the culture and values of its people. Just think Japan, France, Mexico, Thailand and Italy.
The use of key quality ingredients, simply prepared to preserve the distinctive flavour defines Portuguese cooking to me. It's not tricked up or overcomplicated but that does not mean that its boring. The extensive maritime exploration of the New World in the 15th and early 16th centuries meant that Portugal helped lead the exciting food revolution in Europe and defined how the Europeans looked at food. The sailing ships returned with cinnamon, pepper, cloves and nutmeg. They introduced mainland Europe to tomatoes, capsicums, chilies of all types, potatoes, kidney beans, turkey, and avocados. Imagine the European cooking without these flavours. God bless those sailors I say!
Barraca - Portuguese Street Grill focuses on the fire and passion. We bring in the African influence from former colonies Angola and Mozambique where the speed of cooking is more of an influence than what it is back in Europe.
We leave out the dried cod fish cakes (although they are freakin’ delicious) and the slow cooked stews ( this might just pop up as a special though lol) and focus on the fast, cooked to order dishes that have made piri piri a house hold term in Australia.
We use plenty of lemon, chilli and garlic with our food. In fact, recently a lady approached the truck and asked what she could eat on our menu that didn't contain garlic as she was allergic to it (talk about cursed!!).
We worked our way through the menu and thought about each dish before almost embarrassingly apologising that everything on our menu had garlic added to it. Oh except for the chips but she was looking for something more than that!!
If you are looking for more information about Portuguese cooking follow this link. Its a pretty generic recipe for Piri Piri Chicken but its a good place to start. Mauve can be a little annoying sometimes but her Food Safari series offers a great insight into the food of so many countries.