In 2009, I studied abroad in Hong Kong for a semester. I loved everything about Hong Kong - the exciting daily discoveries, meeting new friends, and the culinary adventures. I rode a bus to the MTR ( the mass transport system in Hong Kong) to Hang Hau mall. I would often go by myself between classes or when I wanted to catch up with myself. At Hang Hau mall there is this little bakery that I loved. Inside the bakery they sold Pao de Queijos and I would eat them by the dozen. I had these before in the states at Fogo de Chao but the Hong Kong version was so delicious. I looked these little guys up to find that they originate from Brazil. Why would Brazilian baked goods be in a Chinese bakery?
Brazil has the largest Japnese population outside of Japan. The Japanese migrated to Brazil on the Kasato Maru treaty in search of better living conditions. The majority went to work on coffee plantations. The Japanese adopted their version of the Pao de Queijo. In Hong Kong, there is a strong Japanese influence on the culture. Japanese goods are popular in Hong Kong from make up to electronics to food (ramen restaurants were wildly popular when I was studying abroad). So this little cheese puff made its way from Brazil to Japan to Hong Kong to my kitchen. Talk about the globalization of food!
- 1/4 C olive oil
- 1/4 C butter, melted
- 1/3 C water
- 1/3 C whole milk
- 1 tsp of salt
- 2 C tapioca flour
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2/3 C crumbled queso fresco (Mexican cheese)
- 2 beaten eggs
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Pour olive oil, butter, water, milk, and salt into a large saucepan, and place over high heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat immediately, and stir in tapioca flour and garlic powder until smooth. Set aside to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Stir the cheese and egg into the tapioca mixture until well combined, the mixture will be chunky like cottage cheese.
4. Drop rounded, 1/4 cup-sized balls of the mixture onto an ungreased baking sheet.
5. Bake in preheated oven until the tops are lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
The bread is chewy like Japanese mochi.