Sônia Benevides is well-known in the coastal city of Natal for her experimental cooking. This recipe is her interpretation of Japanese temaki, or hand roll, using common tapioca flour with a unique twist. It also uses prawns, an ingredient loved by locals who are nicknamed potiguar, meaning “prawn eaters” in Indigenous dialect. Sônia's restaurant O Bule, which sits beneath her home on the shores of a lake, roughly translates to “the tea pot” and is an homonym to Ferran Adria’s El Bulli. The Spanish master is the main inspiration for Sônia to experiment and surprise her customers with her modern way of working with Brazilian ingredients.
- 500 g tapioca starch, sifted (see Note)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 sachets squid ink powder (see Note)
- 100 g butter
- 300 g raw prawns
- 100 ml cream
- sago balls cooked in fish broth, to garnish (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Combine tapioca starch, a pinch of salt and squid ink powder. Stir until colour is even and consistency is smooth.
Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over medium. Spoon a portion of the starch mixture into the pan, so it evenly covers base. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then then and cook for another 1 minute. Remove from pan and cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining starch mixture.
Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Add prawns and cook for 1-2 minutes, until starting to change colour, then add the cream. Cook for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and blend or finely chop mixture to combine.
Cut tapioca pancakes into four triangles. Fill each “temaki” prawn mixture, Foll to enclose filling. Garnish with sago balls, if you like.
• Tapioca starch is available in the international food aisle at large supermarkets, and at Asian grocers.
• Squid ink sachets are sold at online specialist food stores.