Cachapas – Venezuelan Corn Pancakes

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Screenshot_2016-05-20-22-06-12-1[1] 22/05/2016

Cachapas are thick, tasty pancakes made from maize (sweetcorn) and served with a slab of white cheese at street stalls all over Venezuela.

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. This recipe uses tinned sweetcorn and the sweet juices from the can which is by no means traditional but the sweetness against the salty cheese filling is incredible.

Anybody living outside Venezuela should try this easy to follow recipe which adds an egg and plain flour to the maize and cleverly replaces queso de mano (a soft white Venezuelan cheese) with alternatives such as mozzarella, halloumi or cheddar.

This sweet and savoury treat is best served with cheese or if you’re really going all out, carne mechada and frijoles too. Feel free to put whatever you like in them. I’m pretty sure they would still taste amazing if you filled them with road kill!

Screenshot_2016-05-20-22-02-23-1[1] A portion of carne mechada (see post 21/05/2016) with added taco bean mix. I used this as a substantial filling with halloumi and kale. This combination is by no means traditional but is damn tasty and what I had in the fridge.

Makes 2 big cachapas

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of sweetcorn (I used green giant)
  • 2 Tbsp plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • Salt, to taste
  • A small knob of butter and 1 tsp oil for frying
  • Fillings: chorizo, cheddar, mozzarella, halloumi, kale, black beans, avocado, pulled pork, chicken, carne mechada, ham, spinach, peppers etc

Method:

  1. Add the sweetcorn and the liquid from the can, flour, egg and salt into a blender and blend into a fairly smooth, thick puree.
  2. Let the batter stand for about 30 minutes. This allows the flour to thicken the mix.
  3. Add the butter and oil to a frying pan over a medium heat.
  4. Ladle half of the mixture into the pan and spread evenly.
  5. Turn with a spatula when the surface bubbles and the bottom is golden brown. Continue cooking until the other side is golden. Keep warm in a warm oven if making multiple cachapas. When ready, serve hot spread with a little butter and a thick slice of mozzarella for a traditional cachapa.

Screenshot_2016-05-20-22-10-34-1[1] Screenshot_2016-05-20-22-08-40-1[1]

For Emily’s extreme cachapas:

  1. Fry some slices of halloumi in a dry frying pan until golden on both sides. Set aside and put some kale in the hot pan with a splash of water. The water will sizzle and evaporate and in the process will wilt the kale slightly. Set aside.
  2. Take 1 portion of carne mechada (recipe from 21/05/2016). Mix with taco beans in chilli sauce (optional but I had some that needed using in the fridge) and heat gently in a frying pan.

When hot, Fill one half of each of the cachapas with a generous spoonful of carne mechada and top with the haloumi slices and kale. Fold the cachapas in half and do a happy dance!

 

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