Did you know that Bacalhau (salted codfish) is the national dish in Portugal? This fish is so popular that there are over 365 recipes for it, one for each day of the year!

Last week was our final session in “Cooking Around the World with Food Jules” as part of Stepney Elementary’s Arts & Imagination winter session. So, we decided to visit my family in Portugal, eat some of their delicious food and experience their fun culture. Portugal was a whole new experience for all of my students, as none of them (except Lilliana) had ever eaten Portuguese food and they loved it.

We started by making a classic Bacalhau appetizer, Pasteis de Bacalhau (Codfish Fritters). At first, the kids were hesitant to try a “new” type of fish but as soon as they took a bite out of them, they were all in love. YUM!

Pasteis de Bacalhau

The Portuguese love to talk about food and eat a lot of good food, so much so that they take a two hour lunch break and eat a three course meal, starting with a soup. A classic Portuguese soup is Caldo Verde (Green Kale Soup), made with Kale Greens, Potatoes and Chorizo (Portuguese Sausage). We made a vegetarian version without the sausage. I was so proud of all my students for doing such an amazing job making this soup and for eating it. It is nutritious and delicious, loaded with vitamins!

Caldo Verde

We also made Rabanadas (Portuguese style “french” toast). Oh my goodness, the kids were all over these! They are a classic treat during the Christmas Season, so sweet with cinnamon sugar.

We, Portuguese folks, love dessert and enjoy many different types of sweet treats but my absolute favorite are these rich custard cups from a town in Portugal, named Belem. So, for our final dish, we made Pasteis de Nata, delicious pastry cups filled with a sweet custard. This was so popular in my class that we will be making them, along with other delicious cultural foods, as part of our cooking class in preparation for the International Festival on March 30th. You must try to make these at home, they will be your new favorite sweet treat!

Thank you to all my Food Jules students for another fun and successful cooking program. See you in April!

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