Brazilian Farofa: Toasted Cassava Flour

Farofa skillet recipe

The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
298 Calories
19g Fat
29g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 298
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 10g 52%
Cholesterol 116mg 39%
Sodium 173mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 4g
Calcium 43mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you've never tried farofa then you're in for a treat. Our quick and easy recipe for this delicious and addictive Brazilian side dish will bring to your table a bowl of this crispy feast in just 20 minutes. Farofa is a common side dish that is enjoyed by Brazilians in many varied recipes. Each household has a favorite recipe, and each person can alter their farofa to taste. Similar to crispy breadcrumbs, farofa is eaten with rice and beans when having a feijoada (stewed beans with pork and vegetables served with rice), but can be eaten with pretty much any main dish, sprinkled on top or served in bigger quantities on the side. Our recipe for farofa uses earthy black olives and creamy hardboiled eggs to finish up the deliciously toasted cassava flour. Because the cassava flour absorbs the flavors in the pan, as breadcrumbs would do, whatever you put in the pan is the flavor you'd get. We use butter and palm oil, but many other recipes use pork fat or olive oil, adding bacon bits or just vegetables. The sky is the farofa limit!

In recent years, cassava flour has taken by storm countries outside of Brazil and Latin America, where it has been commonly eaten for centuries. In nature, cassava is a root vegetable, rich in carbohydrates and with a mild nutty flavor. Eaten stewed or fried, made into patties, or chopped up in soups, cassava is known in the United States as yuca, yucca, Brazilian arrowroot, manioca, or manioc. From this plant also comes tapioca, famously used in boba teas to make the fun-to-eat little balls. But keep in mind that tapioca flour and cassava flour are not the same and what you need for this recipe is cassava flour, the product resulting from drying and grinding the cassava root. Tapioca flour, on the other hand, results from washing and pulping the root, and then evaporating the water from the liquid extracted from the pulp; the dusty leftover is tapioca flour.

Cassava flour is easily found in upscale supermarkets and online, but most Latin and Hispanic markets surely will have this product. This ancient ingredient has great nutritional content and given that it's naturally gluten and grain-free, baking and cooking with it has changed the gluten-free game for good. A few ingredients are all it takes for you to enjoy this crucial side dish of the Brazilian culture, delicious with all meals and ready in no time.

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Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon palm oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups cassava flour
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped black olives
  • Optional: 1/2 cup diced hard-boiled egg

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for farofa
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu
  2. Melt the butter and palm oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.

    Melt the butter
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu
  3. Add the onions and cook until very soft and golden, about 10 minutes.

    Add the onions
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu
  4. Stir in the manioc flour and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 more minutes until well mixed and evenly toasted and lightly browned.

    Stir in manioc flour
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Season
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu
  6. Stir in optional black olives and/or hard boiled eggs if desired.

    Stir in olives
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu
  7. Serve and enjoy!

    Serve
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu

Tips

  • To make farofa, you need manioc flour that is coarsely ground, with a texture like farina cereal. You can find manioc flour in Brazilian markets or online.
  • If you can't find manioc crumbs, you can substitute with bread crumbs - the flavor is not the same but it is still tasty.