Recipes from Portugal and Angola (flan, beans, cough syrup and cough tea)

So here we are getting ready to leave lovely Portugal. We plan on heading to Spain on Saturday and a few days later to Morocco. I just have some recipes to share with you that we got while we were here. The reason I have an Angolan recipe is that Edna and Barbara (sisters) were born in Angola and raised in Portugal in an Angolan household. This is quite common here as Angola was a colony of Portugal who got their independence in 1975. At that time many, many people (some will say close to a million) in Angola of Portuguese descent were forced to leave. There are also alot of Brazilians here as Brazil was a Portuguese colony as well.

As far as my recipes are concerned. These are not exact sort of recipes but more fluid ones without exact proportions that you get from peering over a good cooks shoulder, asking a few questions and, if time permits, trying some things out for yourself



This is a steamed pudding so you will need a big pot with a bit of water in it and a smaller metal mold, or something that will form the shape of your flan, with a lid.

First, the Caramel sauce. In Portugal they sell Caramel sauce. If they dont sell Caramel sauce where you live you will need to caramelize some sugar with a bit of water. I dont know how to do this – If I dont have caramel sauce available later when I run out I will probably need to figure this out. The caramel sauce gets on all the sides and bottom of the inside of your “mold”.

Anyway, in a bowl you mix equal parts sugar, eggs, milk. This could be a cup or a large tumbler. Depending on the size of your mold. Pour the mixture in the mold on top of the caramel sauce. Put lid on mold. Put mold in larger pan. Put enough water in the larger pan to go about a fourth the way up the side of the mold. Put on stovetop and cook for 50 min on med-high heat. Keep an eye on the water level. You will need to add water several times to keep from running dry. Let cool for 20 min +. Take lid off mold. Replace with plate. Turn upside-down onto plate. If it doesnt come out right away do some tapping. Enjoy.


Piri-piri sauce

Piri-piri, a Portuguese spicy chilli sauce,  is essential to existence here. It goes on everything and is more common on the table than salt and pepper. They sell in the shops here but I also found out how to make my own. Fill a small jar with dried whole chilis – you know, the kind you get with the spices in most grocery stores. Fill the same jar with olive oil. Wait a week and you have piri-piri. Wait longer and it is even hotter. Just keep the chilis in the jar and keep topping up with more olive oil when it runs low. I know one woman who has been topping up the same batch of chilis for a year. Just remember to wait a week each time you top up if you want it hot.

Bacalau (Portugal)

Everyone loves this dish. It is the traditional Christmas dish but you can also have it all year. There is a lot of hovering going on in the kitchen when they know it is coming.

24 hours before you need to start soaking your salt cod. Change the water a couple of times. If you forget and start soaking the salt cod, like I do alot, just change the water more often to speed up the process. You can also use fresh fish. Saute an onion or 2 and some garlic in olive oil. Add torn up salt cod (200-300g) to pan. mix in for a few minutes. Follow this with about 6 scrambled eggs. mix in for a few minutes til cooked. Follow this with potato sticks. mix in. You can make your own potato sticks by frying sticks of potatoes but you will need to do this beforehand – possibly when you are soaking your salt cod. Add a handful of fresh chopped parsley and a small handful of olives. mix in and serve. An optional extra, especially for Christmas, is to add some cream before you add the eggs.


I am lousy at cooking beans but they do have a nutritional and financial attraction to them. Edna gave me some pointers and recipes.

To cook most beans. Soak overnight. Cook on the stove top in salted water for 2 hours + or 1/2 hour in the pressure cooker.

Black Eyed Pea salad (Portugal)

I dont know what they call those beans where you come from but they call them Black Eyed Peas where I com from.

Cook black eyed peas and let cool. Combine with chopped fresh onion, parsley, vinegar, olive oil and salt. You eat it cold as a salad. You can also add tuna or codfish or serve with codfish cakes.

Butter Beans (Angola)

Saute onions and garlic in a generous amount of palm oil ( if you cant get palm oil then other oil will do). Add cooked butter beans. Stir and warm and serve with rice. BTW. Dont waste your water from your beans. To make your rice saute some garlic in some oil. Add your rice and coat with oil. Add bean water to rice. Cover and cook. Normally it is good to use 2-2 1/2 cups of water to each cup of rice.

Cough syrup

Fill jar with sliced carrots. Fill same jar with sugar (they use yellow/natural sugar here) to fill in the gaps between the carrots. Leave to sit. Dont stir. After a while there will be a layer of syrup at the top as the sugar draws the liquid out of the carrots.

Cough tea

Boil onion peel, garlic peel, lemon peel in water for about 20 + min. Add honey to taste.