Taste the world: Brazilian Açaí Bowls

Acai Bowl Brazil

This recipe is for everyone who can’t just hop on a plane to go to Brazil spontaneously but would like to escape their everyday life for a moment. Or, if tropical daydreaming isn’t your thing, just enjoy a delicious fruity smoothie bowl. The best thing: it only takes you five minutes to prepare.That means you’ll have more time for the really important things in live – like daydreaming.

I got to know Açaí berries (pronunciation: ah-sigh-eeh), originally from the Amazon region, in Brazil in the form of an Açaí -Bowl. And let me tell you, it was one of the most delicious experiences I’ve had around the world. In Rio, there are plenty of cafés and juice bars in the city center and also lots of kiosks right on the beach that sell Açaí na Tigela. For the smoothie bowl they mix frozen Açaí pulp sweetened with Guaraná syrup before they serve it with granola and banana slices. People from Rio, called cariocas, like to have it for breakfast or as a snack in between meals. All fitness and health conscious Brazilians eat a bowl of it before or after a workout.

Ever since I’ve tried it for the first time I love to start my day with this exotic refreshment for breakfast, especially when it’s a hot summer day. I mean soft-ice-cream-consistency which is good for you and keeps you full for long. Could there be anything better than that? Every now and then, I also have it in the winter, though. For the somewhat exotic touch and to escape the winter blues, I like to use coconut milk and freshly squeezed orange juice.

I’d especially highly recommend a bowl of this delicacy in the winter. Because not only are these tropical berries delicious, but they are also very healthy. The antioxidant-rich fruit helps to keep cells strong against the invasion of free radicals. Beyond that, the berries are high in vitamins A, C & E and contain a good amount of further immune system- and energy-boosting minerals (e.g. potassium, iron).

To meet my criteria for a healthy recipe, there was no need to modify the Brazilian original very much. Only the guaraná syrup they use annoyed me. But it turned out that they use the sweetener with reason: the berries, when eaten purely, actually taste pretty bitter. Instead of the syrup, natural sweeteners like fruit could be used, though. And if you have a really sweet tooth you could sweeten it even more with maple syrup or dates, for instance. The latter would be my favorite in this case. However I don’t use any extra sweetener in this recipe. But since tastes differ, trial and error really is the key here.

Many health food stores in the US have been selling frozen Açaí fruit packs for quite some time now. Today you can find it in some organic grocery stores or online in Germany, too. I’m not a big fan of Açaí in the form of dried powder – it’s just not the same, in my opinion. If I couldn’t get hold of frozen Açaí pulp, I’d rather use frozen berries (raspberries, blueberries…) instead. If you’re looking for a granola recipe, check this one out.

Prep time:  5 min

Cooking time: –

Total: 5 min

Ingredients for 1 serving

  • 1 pack of frozen Açaí pulp (100 g)
  • ½ a banana, frozen or fresh
  • 3 tbsp berries of your choice (I like a mixture of frozen raspberries & blueberries), fresh or frozen
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice (or liquid of choice, e.g. any other juice or water)
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk (almond milk or any other nut milk would work, too)
  • Optional: maple syrup, dates or other sweetener of your choice, to taste
  • Toppings: fresh fruit, goji-berries, cacao nibs, coconut, nuts, granola, nut butter…

You will also need:

Blender or food processor

Preparation

  1. At least 4 hours in advance, better overnight: Freeze banana. Simply cut or break a fully ripe banana into thick slices. Then transfer the chunks into a freezer-safe bag and place in the freezer for a few hours (I always keep some bananas in the freezer because they are perfect for quick smoothies on the go.)
  2. Optional: place the serving bowl in the fridge for a few minutes before preparing the rest; this is especially great on a hot summer day.

Instructions

  1. First thaw Açaí pack (still wrapped in plastic) under warm running water. After a few seconds, open the pack and break fruit into pieces. Place into blender with all the other ingredients except the toppings, obviously.
  2. Blend until creamy but still very thick and frosty. If needed, add more liquid to blend (depends on whether frozen or fresh fruit is used). Add it very slowly, though. You will want the mixture to be as thick as possible – we are looking for a soft ice-cream like consistency here.
  3. Spoon it out into a (chilled) bowl, add your favorite toppings and serve right away.

Yes, that’s literally it! It’s so simple, yet so delicious!

Note: You can easily double or triple this recipe for more servings.

Açaí Bowl Brazil

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