These crunchy, chewy, cheesy cubes are mind-blowingly delicious and have been the star of the show at more than one party at Eat Rio HQ! Don’t tell anyone, but they’re ridiculously easy to make too. Serve them as a starter or as nibbles with some kind of spicy/zingy dip. Dadinho means ‘little dice’ and that is usually the size and shape I aim for.
Ingredients (makes around 20-25 dice)
- 250g (9oz) tapioca granules (look for the stuff with the consistency of granulated sugar)
- 300g (11oz) queijo coalho cheese (substitute with halloumi), coarsely grated
- 1 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 500ml (2 cups) whole milk
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- Mix the tapioca, grated cheese, salt and a good grind of black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
- Heat the milk until hot but not boiling.
- Gradually add the hot milk to the tapioca-cheese mixture, stirring well all the time.
- Turn the thick mixture into a lightly greased tray/container (plastic works fine) and pat it down until it is spread out evenly. Try to make the layer at least an inch (2.5 cm) thick.
- Cover the tray/container and leave in the fridge for 3 hours or more (can be left overnight).
- The mixture should now be firmly set (*at this point you can freeze it without any ill effects).
- Tip slab out onto a chopping board and cut into 1 inch cubes. Don’t worry if there are some rough edges to the cubes – these will go extra crunchy during the frying process which makes them doubly delicious. In fact you may like to actively encourage rough edges, roast potato style, with the aid of a fork.
- Deep fry the cubes in oil at 170°C (340°F). They have a tendency to stick together as they’re crisping up in the oil, but it’s simple enough to ease them apart as they fry. When they’re golden brown, they’re ready to be drained on absorbent kitchen paper/towels.
The finished ‘dice’ should have a crunchy, slightly puffed exterior and a pleasantly chewy, cheesy interior. They’re great served with a spicy tamarind dipping sauce or any other kind of dip you fancy.