Thursday, October 14, 2010

RECIPE - Aluá

Aluá is a homemade fermented (and therefore slightly alcoholic) drink that has a long history in Brazil. You can read more about it here. It is particularly popular in the north and the northeast of the country and it has many different variations - different recipes with different ingredients. What all forms of aluá do have in common is that they are naturally fermented for a short time only, using either fruit or grain as the basis for fermentation, and that they are served without further processing, such as filtering, distilling or aging.

Here are two recipes for aluá - one made with pineapple peelings and one with dried corn and ginger. I've always thought it was a shame to throw away just a large portion of a fresh pineapple, so I'm really looking forward to making the first recipe next time a buy a pineapple. I will duly report on the results. If you make aluá from one of these recipes and enjoy it, try it another time with a different grain, or a different fruit. These recipes are more guidelines than instructions.

In Brazil, the normal time to allow for fermentation to occur is one day. Fermentation occurs rapidly in the tropical heat of this country, so if you live in a cooler climate it may take longer for the fermentation process. Remember, however, that aluá is meant to be only slightly alcoholic, so don't let it ferment too long!  Make it, let it ferment, cool it in the refrigerator, and enjoy...

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RECIPE - Pineapple Aluá (Aluá de Abacaxi)

1 medium pineapple
2 quarts (liters) fresh water
brown sugar (optional)
cloves to taste
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Cut the pineapple in quarters, and remove the flesh, reserving it for another use. Cut the peelings into coarse slices. Put the peelings in a large glass or ceramic jar, and cover with the 2 quarts of water. Place a dry clean dish-towel over the jar, and leave to ferment for a minimum of 24 hours. The longer it is left, the higher the percentage of alcohol will be. Sample after 24 hours, and continue fermentation if desired, checking frequently. When fermented to taste, drain through a sieve into another jar, discarding the peelings. Add sugar if desired and cloves. Place in refrigerator to stop fermentation and serve cold or over ice.



RECIPE - Red Corn and Ginger Aluá (Aluá de Milho Vermelho)

1 pound (450 gr.) dried red corn kernels, soaked overnight (can substitute yellow or white corn)
1 piece ginger root, 3 inches (5 cm) long, peeled and grated
2 cups brown sugar
2 quarts (liters) fresh water
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In a food processor, in batches, process the corn and ginger together. Put the corn, ginger and sugar in a large glass or ceramic jar, and cover with the 2 quarts of water. Place a dry clean dish-towel over the jar, and leave to ferment for a minimum of 24 hours. The longer it is left, the higher the percentage of alcohol will be. Sample after 24 hours, and continue fermentation if desired, checking frequently. When fermented to taste, drain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth into another jar, then discard the corn. Place in refrigerator to stop fermentation and serve cold or over ice.

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