Bala Baiana Recipe

Indulge in the exotic flavors of Bala Baiana with our authentic recipe. Uncover the essence of Bahian cuisine. Your taste buds are in for a treat!

Bala Baiana

    Bala Baiana

  • Cuisine: Brazilian
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: 300 calories

"Bala Baiana," also known as "Bala de Banana" or "Banana Toffee," is a popular Brazilian candy that originates from the northeastern state of Bahia. This sweet treat showcases the region's rich culinary traditions and reflects its vibrant culture.

The name "Bala Baiana" directly translates to "Bahian Candy" in English, and it has become a beloved confectionery item enjoyed not only in Bahia but also across Brazil.

The key ingredient in Bala Baiana is ripe bananas, which are cooked down to a thick consistency along with sugar and sometimes coconut. The mixture is then shaped into small rounds or squares, resulting in a chewy and flavorful candy. What makes Bala Baiana unique is its use of locally available ingredients like bananas and coconut, which are staples in Bahian cuisine due to the state's tropical climate.

This candy is a delightful blend of sweet and tropical flavors, offering a taste of Bahia's culinary heritage. Its chewy texture, combined with the natural sweetness of ripe bananas, makes it a favorite among both locals and tourists. Bala Baiana is often sold in markets, street stalls, and traditional sweet shops, allowing people to enjoy a taste of Bahia's gastronomic culture.

Whether enjoyed as a snack, dessert, or souvenir, Bala Baiana is a charming representation of Bahia's vibrant food scene. Its popularity has even extended beyond Brazil's borders, as people from various parts of the world get to experience the unique flavors and cultural richness that this candy embodies.


Dive into the delectable world of Bala Baiana! Discover the secrets of crafting this Bahian delight with our tantalizing recipe guide. Let's get cooking!


  • 1 lb white fish fillets (such as snapper or cod), cut into chunks
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup dendê oil (red palm oil)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Method Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat the dendê oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and bell pepper and sauté until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the minced garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, and ginger. Sauté for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes until they start to soften.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.
  5. Add the fish chunks and shrimp to the pot. Simmer gently until the seafood is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
  6. Season with salt, pepper, and lime juice to taste.
  7. Garnish with chopped cilantro before serving.
  8. Serve the Moqueca Baiana with rice or a side of your choice.
  9. Enjoy your delicious Moqueca Baiana, a flavorful and vibrant dish from the Bahia region of Brazil!

Recipe Video

Bala Baiana

This is a video about Bala Baiana.

Video Author: Cooking Samba

Rated: 4.9 of 5.0 from 628 reviews.

Recipe Tags: Bala Baiana, Bala Baiana Recipe, Recipe


"Bala Baiana" is typically enjoyed as a delightful sweet treat on its own, but you can also get creative with how you serve and enjoy it. Here are a few ways you can serve Bala Baiana:

  1. Plain: The simplest way to enjoy Bala Baiana is to eat it as is, allowing its natural sweetness and chewy texture to shine.
  2. Snack: Serve Bala Baiana as a convenient and tasty snack, perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth between meals.
  3. Dessert Plate: Arrange Bala Baiana on a dessert plate along with other sweets, fruits, or nuts for a visually appealing and diverse dessert spread.
  4. Toppings: Crumble Bala Baiana over ice cream, yogurt, or puddings as a crunchy and flavorful topping.
  5. Garnish: Use small pieces of Bala Baiana as a decorative garnish on cakes, cupcakes, or other desserts.
  6. Gifts: Package Bala Baiana in decorative bags or boxes and give them as thoughtful edible gifts to friends and family.
  7. Pairing: Enjoy Bala Baiana with a cup of coffee, tea, or even a glass of milk for a delightful pairing.


  1. Use Fresh Seafood: Whenever possible, opt for fresh seafood for the best flavor and texture in your Moqueca Baiana. Fresh fish and shrimp will enhance the overall taste of the dish.
  2. Balancing Spices: The combination of spices in this recipe contributes to the unique flavor profile. Feel free to adjust the quantities to your taste, but be careful not to overpower the dish with any single spice.
  3. Dendê Oil: Dendê oil, also known as red palm oil, is a distinctive ingredient in Bahian cuisine. It imparts a rich, earthy flavor and vibrant color. However, it can be quite strong, so use it sparingly to avoid overwhelming the dish.
  4. Coconut Milk: Choose good-quality coconut milk to achieve a rich and creamy base for the stew. If using canned coconut milk, shake the can well before opening to ensure even consistency.
  5. Doneness of Seafood: Be mindful not to overcook the seafood, as it can become tough and rubbery. Fish and shrimp cook relatively quickly, so keep an eye on them while simmering.
  6. Serve with Sides: Moqueca Baiana is often served with rice, but you can also enjoy it with traditional accompaniments like farofa (toasted cassava flour) or a side salad for added texture and variety.
  7. Fresh Herbs: Adding fresh chopped cilantro just before serving adds a burst of freshness and color. If you're not a fan of cilantro, you can opt for parsley instead.
  8. Adjusting Heat: If you prefer a spicier dish, you can add a chopped chili pepper or some hot sauce to the recipe. Bahian cuisine often includes a touch of heat.
  9. Cultural Experience: Embrace the cultural experience by trying out traditional recipes like Moqueca Baiana. It's a great way to learn about different cuisines and enjoy authentic flavors.
  10. Customization: Feel free to customize the recipe based on your preferences. You can use different types of fish, adjust the spice levels, or add extra vegetables for added nutrition.

Ingredient Substitutes

  • Fish and Shrimp: If you can't find the recommended types of fish or shrimp, you can use other firm white fish such as grouper, tilapia, or haddock. Similarly, you can replace shrimp with other seafood like scallops or squid.
  • Dendê Oil: Dendê oil is a unique ingredient with a distinctive flavor, but if you can't find it, you can substitute it with a combination of equal parts vegetable oil and paprika for color and a hint of flavor.
  • Coconut Milk: If coconut milk is not available, you can use heavy cream mixed with a bit of water to achieve a creamy texture. Alternatively, almond milk or cashew milk can be used, but they might alter the flavor slightly.
  • Spices: Feel free to adjust the spices based on your taste preferences. If you don't have some of the recommended spices, you can use a Cajun spice blend or a mix of cumin, coriander, paprika, and a pinch of ground ginger.
  • Bell Pepper: If you don't have bell pepper, you can use other sweet peppers like Cubanelle peppers or even omit them if necessary.
  • Lime Juice: Lemon juice can be used as a substitute for lime juice if needed.
  • Tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes can be used if fresh tomatoes are not available. You can also use tomato sauce in a pinch, but adjust the quantity to avoid overpowering the dish.
  • Fresh Herbs: If you're not a fan of cilantro, you can use parsley or chives for a milder herb flavor.
  • Rice: While rice is a common accompaniment, you can serve Moqueca Baiana with other grains like quinoa or couscous if you prefer.


Embrace the Bahian spirit with every bite of Bala Baiana. Share this authentic recipe and savor the tropical blend of flavors. Obrigado for joining us on this culinary journey!

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