Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Recipe: Cachapas - Tasty Venezuelan corn pancakes
Cachapas are thick, tasty pancakes made from maize (sweetcorn) and served with a slab of white cheese at street stalls all over Venezuela.
The usual way to make them is to grind the maize kernels through a special machine, which gives the cachapa mixture just the right consistency, and then cook them on a flat griddle plate.
Anybody living outside Venezuela should try this easy to follow recipe by Jorge Franca, which adds an egg and plain flour to the maize and cleverly replaces queso de mano (a soft white Venezuelan cheese) with Mozarella.
Cachapas are an integral part of Venezuela's culinary history and their origin dates back to pre-Colombian times, when the indigenous population would grind corn with stone pestles and then cook it cachapa-style on clay budares, flat griddle plates that have been found in archaeological digs at many sites in Venezuela.
This sweet and savoury treat is best served with cheese, either a white cheese like Mozarrella or even a grated yellow cheese like cheddar.
The most exotic cachapa I've ever had was at a tiny roadside stall with a tin-roof in the Gran Sabana. The owner was selling "cachapa con cochino" and the steaming maize cachapas were topped with lashings of margarine, a thick slab of cheese, a pork chop and some chicharron, or fried pork rinds. Washed down with a cold Polarcita, it was like cachapa heaven.