Brazilian Cheese Balls

Just over four-weeks ago, on Thursday June 12 to be exact, my other half returned from work and announced, “I have a fever”.

It is well documented men often over-react and inflate the severity of an illness, a slight cough threatens to become flu (of the man variety) and a stomach upset could be the re-emergence of the black death which means statements like ‘I have a fever’ are greeted sceptically.

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Brazilian Cheese Balls

However before Christmas my scepticism was tested when one of ‘Alan’s ailments’ was actually shingles and bearing this in mind I asked what are the symptoms of this fever?  Do you have a temperature, a cold sweat?

No was the answer.

Quite perplexed by the response I asked what kind of fever do you think it is Yellow, Q or Typhoid?

“World Cup fever”, I was informed as his eyes rolled at my inability to diagnosis this one-hour before the opening ceremony.

I am a ‘keen football fan’ (my go to statement when asked “What sports do you like?”) but not a feverish one, and happy to embrace the World Cup spirit decided to try my hand at making some Brazilian inspired half-time delights.

I began my quest to find authentic Brazilian recipes online and came across Churrasco, grilled skirt steak marinated in Chimichurri sauce. Unable to find skirt steak at three local butchers (I was informed flank steak could work as an alternative but am still searching for it) Churrasco was scrapped from the menu.

Feijoada is a traditional slow cook Brazilian Black Bean Stew, the recipe is available from the Food Network, but taking five-hours to cook was not the quick fix recipe I required.

The Latin Kitchen is a great source for inspiration and on this website I happened upon a recipe for Pão de Queijo or Brazilian Cheese Bread to those not fluent in Portuguese.

Armed with an ingredients list the next stumbling block was finding tapioca flour an essential component for the dough which is not available at all good, well stocked supermarkets.

After further investigation I discovered tapioca flour is also known as tapioca starch and is available at most Chinese supermarkets so with fingers crossed I popped down to Asia Supermarket on Ormeau Road to purchase 1kg of tapioca starch.

There are many recipes available online for Brazilian Cheese Bread but I decided to use (and adapt slightly) this one from thekitchin as the instructions and measurements were easy to follow.


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) tapioca flour or starch
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese


  • Combine milk, oil, salt and pepper in a large saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Remove from heat when the milk starts to bubble and add the tapioca flour, stirring well until the flour and milk have blended. The dough will be grainy and gelatinous at this point.
Dough mixture

Dough mixture


  • Allow the dough to cool before placing into the bowl of a standing mixer and beat at a medium speed until it is smooth.
  • Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees.
  • Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl and then gradually beat into the dough in two batches. When the first addition has been fully incorporated into the dough, add the second and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Beat in the cheese with the mixer still on medium, the dough will now be sticky and stretchy. I used one cup of Parmesan Cheese and felt this was a perfect amount. The taste of Parmesan was not over powering.
  • Using an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, scoop rounded portions of the dough into mounds on a baking tray. Space the mounds an inch or two apart and dip the spoon into water to prevent sticking, this mixture should make about 24.
Cheese breads ready to bake

Cheese breads ready to bake

  • Transfer the tray to the oven, lower temperature to 180 degrees and bake for 30 minutes until the puffs are dry and starting to brown on the outside.
  • Allow to cool slightly and enjoy.

A tomato based dipping sauce is the perfect accompaniment; try my versatile Tomato Sauce for a tried and tested recipe.

Cheese Balls with tomato sauce

Cheese Balls with tomato sauce




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