Shrimp with Tucupi

This recipe, which features tucupi, or juice from the wild manioc root, comes from D.O.M. Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients by Brazilian chef Alex Atala.

Staying true to his focus on ingredients, Atala’s shrimp dish utilizes two indigenous Brazilian flavors: jambu, a flowering herb, and tucupi, which is a fermented juice extracted from the wild manioc plant. Jambu, from the paracress family, is sometimes called the toothache plant or electric flower as it gives off a numbing, electric-like sensation, similar to a Szechuan pepper. Manioc juice is high in cyanidric acid, a toxic substance. However, this ancestral process of fermentation, a fundamental element of Amazonian culinary culture, causes the acid to evaporate. – Editor’s Note


Click here to purchase your own copy of Alex Atala’s cookbook D.O.M.: Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients published by Phaidon.

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 grams dried shrimp
  • 300 grams jambu leaves
  • 500 grams cassava starch
  • black salt
  • chives

Tucupi Broth

  • 2 liters tucupi
  • 10 grams basil, leaves torn
  • 2 spicy aromatic peppers, chopped

Serves 4

PREPARATION

  1. Soak shrimp for 4 hours in cold water, then drain.
  2. Cook the shrimp in a pan of boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove from water and set aside.
  3. Use the shrimp cooking water to blanch the jambu leaves for 2 minutes. Remove the jambu from the pan and immediately submerge in ice water. Set aside.
  4. Place the tucupi, basil, coriander, garlic, and peppers in a large saucepan and heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, set aside and keep warm.
  5. Next, dissolve the cassava starch in 200 ml water. Set aside. Heat 400 ml water in a medium pan until boiling. Add the starch mixture and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until translucent and thick.
  6. To finish, place a ladleful of cassava into a bowl. Add a ladleful of the tucupi broth and top with 4 shrimps and a sprig of jambu. Serve.
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