ajwain seed flavored angú with leeks, fava beans and cheddar

by Heguiberto on June 15, 2010

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ajwain seed flavored angú with leeks, fava beans and cheddar

Angú is a thick porridge made from ground corn mixed with water and some salt that’s popular in Brazil. You cook it for a long time, stirring constantly under low heat until it thickens and a crust forms at the bottom of the pan. My mom made it every now and then when I was young. I suppose that it’s a little like polenta or the batter used in tamales. Mom had a cast iron pan dedicated only to angú. I remember that pan well. It was shaped like a Dutch oven with tiny little pointy feet that sat perfectly over our wood burning stove. Those were the days! Cooking fabulous meals using a wood burning stove! Ah, memories! Now, I wonder how she managed to keep those pans so shiny and spotless working in such rustic conditions.

I enjoyed her angú a lot, especially the toasty, almost burned crust from the bottom of the pan. It tasted exactly like the American corn chips we buy from the supermarket here, except that it was not fried. The last time my sister Ana visited, she reminded me of that over a bowl of chips with salsa while sipping a nice, cold beer.

I was lazy this time and so I made the angú using pre-cooked corn meal. It makes life much easier. If my mother was still here, she’d use it too.

My love affair with ajwain seeds is much more recent. I “discovered” these through the pages of the Ajanta: Regional Feasts of India cookbook. I’ve probably had them at Indian restaurants before but didn’t realize it. Ajwain seeds are very flavorful and aromatic. I think of fennel, caraway, thyme, cumin with some hints of a volatile minty flavor on the palate when you bite into a seed. I got them to make samosas, but used them here again because they’re so darn good.

some key ingredients for ajwain seed flavored angú with leeks, fava beans and cheddar

ajwain seed flavored angú with leeks, fava beans and cheddar

1/2 lb. pre-cooked corn meal
4¾ cups water
1 tsp ajwain seeds
Kosher salt
1 cup fresh fava beans, shelled, then blanched to remove inner membrane
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 small leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into fine diagonal strips
¼ lb sharp cheddar, grated or small cubed
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring water to a boil. Add some salt and two tablespoons of olive oil. Remove from heat. Add corn meal, ajwain seeds and whisk vigorously to incorporate. Reduce heat to medium low and cook angú for 8-10 minutes stirring all the time. Reduce heat to minimum. Stir once or twice.

Meanwhile add remaining olive oil to a skillet, followed by the leeks, some salt and pepper. Sauté for a minute. Add fava and continue sautéing for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and fold in cheddar. Transfer angú to a serving platter. Place leek fava mixture over it. Top with a bit of freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of finishing olive oil. Delish!

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean June 15, 2010 at 9:18 am

What a remarkable dish! I’ve never heard of angú, but then I’ve never been to Brazil. I’m bookmarking this for sure. Sounds like something DPaul would really enjoy.

tasteofbeirut June 15, 2010 at 10:54 am

Heguiberto
I am sure I would become a devotee of angù, since I adore cornmeal and polenta; I have never heard of these seeds but if you like them they must be worth seeking out! Love that fava beans and leeks medley you cooked up on top, sounds like a good marriage of flavors!

Heguiberto June 18, 2010 at 8:49 am

You guys should get to Brazil ASAP! I think that you’d love it.

AbelSmith September 3, 2010 at 1:03 am

As the ajwain seeds are good source of digestion, this dish will work in two ways for my family. Nice and tempting receipe.

Heguiberto September 3, 2010 at 9:45 am

Abel,
That’s what I heard and ajwain seeds also have wonderful flavor and aroma.
H

santa pola November 12, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Una foto muy buena.

Heguiberto November 13, 2010 at 10:29 am

gracias!

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