First things first. It is pronounced a-sigh-EE, with the emphasis on the EE. Not a-SIGH-ee, as it is in a certain TV juice commercial. Well, now that we got that straight, let's talk about açai.
Açai is a berry that grows in certain palm trees in the Amazon rainforest. Considered a super food, açai is low in sugar, high in antioxidants, good fats, protein, vitamins and carbohydrates. This little fruit has it all. It is not a surprise that it became so widely popular here in the States where people continue to look for good-for-you, healthy foods.
Brazilian indigenous tribes have been using açai for centuries to cure many health problems. Over the centuries, this berry made its way from the tall trees fromthe jungles of Amazon to Brazilian's modern kitchens. What you see on this post is the açai in the bowl (açai na tigela), which is the most popular way of eating açai but Brazilians, specially from the north region use açai in various ways including with fish dishes.
Here in the U.S. we can find frozen pulp of açai in many supermarkets. Of course there are also juices, ice creams, smoothies and sorbets flavoured with açai, but if you really want to take as much advantage as possible of it's nutritional value, try using the concentrated frozen pulp. Here in Seattle I buy Sambazon frozen pulp. They come in packages of 4 individual portions of 100 grams (3.53 oz) each called smoothie packs.
Here is how it looks like:
In Brazil the typical açai bowl is mixed with guarana syrup which is loaded with caffeine. I normally have my bowl of açai for breakfast and so I figure my coffee (which are also Brazilian beans) have enough caffeine for me.
To make my version of the Açai in the Bowl you need:
1 individual (100 grams) package of frozen açai pulp
a splash of soy milk
Break up the frozen açai pulp in large pieces and place it in the bowl of a blender. Add half of the banana and the soy milk. Blend it until smooth. Pour into a bowl and top it with the remaining banana, sliced and granola. This makes enough for one bowl. The recipe is easily doubled or tripled.
- The same açai bowl can be made with different fruits like mangoes.
- You can make a drinking smoothie by adding more liquid to the recipe.
- Açai stains. It's colour is very strong so you will end up with a dark tongue and perhaps even lips (depends on how much you have I guess). Not recommended on a first date.
- This is NOT a sweet treat (unless you load it with sugar, of course).