Canjica is a traditional Brazilian dessert. This dish is quite popular, especially in the cold winter, but it can also be served in the summer months.
Learning about different dishes teaches you about other cultures, and will guarantee that you can serve something new to your friends and family.
Keep on reading to learn more about this delicious Brazilian recipe.
History of Canjica
Canjica or Mugunzá is a tasty sweet dish that Brazilians usually serve during the Festa Junina.
This feast was introduced by the Portuguese to celebrate the birth of St. John the Baptist. The festival is held at the end of the rainy season, giving people the chance to thank St. John for the rain.
During these celebrations, Brazilian families usually serve Canjica as a delicious and nutritious dessert that can make them feel warm.
However, in the summer, people can also put the dish in the fridge and serve it cold as a delicious summer snack.
The name Canjica is widely used in Central and Southern Brazil. In the north, it is called Mugunzá, where the Canjica refers to a different dish.
The same dish is also widespread in Columbia and other countries in Latin America, with some different ingredients.
The Canjica is a type of porridge that contains milk, cinnamon, and Canjica.
This is a white variety of corn, which is very popular in Brazil. This corn is also used to make a special type of sweet popcorn.
You can also use hominy for cooking this dish. This is a type of dried maize that should be soaked overnight before it’s cooked.
It goes through a process called nixtamalization, where the kernels are soaked in an alkaline solution to remove the germ and the hull, causing them to swell.
You can buy hominy dried or cooked and canned. Cooked hominy will be easier to use in Canjica because it’s already treated.
In some cases, other spices will be added to the dish to give it a distinctive taste.
Although this is a simple dish, you can make it a little bit more sophisticated by adding a few unique ingredients.
How Does Canjica Taste?
Canjica is a hearty dish that feels warm and comforting. During the cold winter months, this easy to make porridge will be your family’s favorite.
Even if you’re not familiar with traditional Brazilian cuisine, you can still prepare this dish easily because the ingredients are easy to obtain from any shop that sells ethnic food.
It can be a quick snack that will help you feel warm.
Every spoon of Canjica combines the sweet and spicy taste for a remarkable yet comforting taste.
Some people like to add special ingredients to their dishes to make them more special. Spices like nutmeg can make the taste more distinctive and intense.
Traditionally, people used to put whole cloves in their Canjica. They add a heavenly taste to your dish, but biting on them can be a little uncomfortable as they tend to be really spicy.
To enjoy the same taste, you can use ground cloves. This will guarantee that the dish will be warm enough for the winter nights.
This dish is served sweet, and you can control how sweet it will be by adding or skipping sugar.
Even if you don’t add any sugar, it will still taste sweet because you will use sweetened condensed milk.
Some people add coconut and peanuts to add more crunch. If you’re a fan of nuts, you can also add crushed hazelnuts and almonds to your dish.
Not only will they make it tastier, but they will also add more nutritional value to your Canjica.
The texture and taste of Canjica are very similar to the American grits, although it’s usually served cold.
Many people choose to add their own toppings to make their Canjica more special.
Chocolate chips, dried fruit, and sprinkles are all common because they can make your dish taste special.
If you’re serving this dish to children, these extra additions will increase its nutritional value and make it taste more desirable.
After preparing this dish, you can keep it in the freezer. It will stay fresh up to a week.
How to Prepare Canjica
The great thing about Canjica is that you can be flexible with the ingredients You can mix and match more ingredients if you want to prepare a signature dish.
You can even skip the ones that you can’t find or don’t like.
This dish is an excellent choice for beginners. It doesn’t take much time during preparation or cooking.
The following ingredients are suitable for preparing 8 servings of this delicious dessert that you can serve warm or cold.
If you’re using fresh Canjica corn, you need to grate the corn off the cob.
You should also process it in the blender, so it will be easier to cook. Blending it more will give your dish a smoother texture, but this is a matter of personal preference.
It takes about an hour and 20 minutes to be fully cooked. In this section, we’ll explain the original recipe of how to prepare Canjica.
- 2 cups of dried hominy or Canjica corn.
- ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- 1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. You can add more.
- 1 cup of sweetened condensed milk.
- 1 cup of full-fat coconut milk.
- 2 ½ cups of full-fat milk.
- 3 whole cloves or 3 teaspoons of ground cloves.
- 3 tablespoons of sugar (optional).
- 1 cup of shredded coconut (optional).
- 1 cup of crushed peanuts or almonds (optional).
- Start by soaking the Canjica overnight. Dried corn will take more time until it’s soft and squishy. This will guarantee that it will cook better and faster.
- Put the Canjica corn and the soaking water in a saucepan. Add a pinch of salt, then cover the saucepan and let it simmer. It takes about an hour to thoroughly cook the corn until it’s soft and tender.
If it still feels dry, you might need to give it some more time.
You need the corn to reach a porridge-like texture. You can use the Instant Pot to accelerate the cooking time.
If you’re using canned and previously cooked hominy, rinse it well before getting rid of the soaking liquid.
With dried hominy, cook it first until it’s tender, then drain it and transfer it into a different pot.
- Add the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, full-fat milk, coconut milk, and condensed milk. Alternating the amounts of full-fat milk, coconut milk, and condensed milk depends on your preferences. If you don’t like the taste, you can skip coconut milk.
- Adding sugar is a matter of personal preference. In most cases, you won’t have to add sugar because the condensed milk is already sweetened. However, you can always add 3 tablespoons of sugar to make the mixture sweeter.
- Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture until it has a creamy texture. If you’re using cinnamon sticks and whole cloves, remove them from the mixture. It takes between 20 and 30 minutes to cook the rest of the ingredients. The longer you cook the Canjica, the thicker it will become.
- Transfer the Canjica into the serving bowl. You can add coconut chips, crushed almonds, peanuts, or chocolate chips on top. When the Canjica cools off, it will get thicker.
- Serve your dish warm or let it cool off, then put it in the fridge. You can also pour the mixture into single-serve bowls and add various toppings based on your personal preference.
Canjica is a delicious dish that you can serve warm or cold.
Every time you prepare this dish, you can add something different to change the taste.
You can either serve it cold or warm, depending on the season, and it will always be the perfect snack.
If dessert is your thing you’ll want to try, Brigadeiro: Brazil’s Famous Chocolate Treat.
And as always, visit our online store and shop for Brazilian foods and drinks.
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