Maniçoba – Green is good for you, right?

Maniçoba is a festive dish in Brazilian cuisine, especially from the Amazonian region. It is of indigenous origin (from the Tupi mani, godess of Mandioca), and is made with leaves of the Mandioc / Cassava plant that have been finely ground and boiled for a week. To these boiled leaves (called “maniva” in Portuguese), salted pork, dried meat, and smoked ingredients, such as bacon and sausage, are added. The dish is served with rice and cassava meal (called “farinha”). The dish is most found in Belém. People usually eat “maniçoba” during the Círio de Nazaré, the city’s largest religious festival that takes place in October.

The ‘maniva’ actually contains hydrogen cyanide and therefore is cooked for at least 4 days before being okay to consume. After hearing that and seeing that it looks like grass stew, I’m a little taken aback by it but if presented with the chance, I’d have to have a taste because it’s a favorite dish in Belém.

Duck stew & Tucupi

Pato no tucupi (duck in tucupi stew) is a traditional Brazilian dish; it is mostly found in the area around the city of Belém in the state of Pará.

The dish consists of a boiled pato (duck) in tucupi (a yellow-colored broth made of scalded cassava) with manioc leaves. Appearance-wise, it resembles the famous tacacá, made different only by its use of shrimp rather than duck. Tupuci itself, when extracted in liquid form from the cassava is actually venomous thus why it has to be boiled for hours before being ready to consume (in the jungle, they just leave it out in the sun for about 4 days).

One of the more typical restaurants where it can be found is the “Círculo Militar” in Belém, in a historical palace near the harbour of the city. As for the tucupi on its own, if you wish to try something really unique, ask around town for sorvete de tucupi (Tucupi ice cream).

Indigenous Tucupi Myth

Jacy (the Moon) e Iassytatassú (the Morning Star) decided to visit Ibiapité (the center of the earth). In the early hours of the morning, they left Ibacapuranga (the Beautiful Sky) and floated down to Earth. There they stopped and rested on the enormous Iupê-jaçanã (Waterlily) and later continued on their way to the center of the Earth. On the path, when they both were preparing to decend into the Ibibira (Abyss), Jacy was stung in the face by Caninana Tyiiba (a type of cobra). Upon being stung, Jacy shed bitter tears and they fell on a manioc plant. Jacy remained with the marks on her face forever because of the Tyiiba bites. But, when the tears fell on the manioc, what came as a result was the otycupy (Tucupi).