Tuesday, June 8, 2010

In which I lose... to a corn pancake...

Last night I made my first attempt at cachapas. Cachapas are a Venezuelan corn pancake, basically. The dish is so popular it even has its own wikipedia page: See?

Now, the cachapas that I've met and loved look like this:

Gorgeous, no?

They are sweet, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, and tasty and typically filled with a cheese (queso guayanes) that it similar in texture to fresh mozzarella, but a bit saltier and stretchable.

I should have known that this was not going to be simple when the following things occurred:
1) I could not find queso guayanes locally,
2) I could not find queso guayanes on le intertubes for less than $40, and
3) My brother-in-law laughed his butt off when I said I was going to make cachapas from scratch.

However, once I decide I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it come hell or high-water. It's part of my charm, this stubbornness. You can thank my father. Or my mother. I'm not sure which deserves the most credit, honestly.

Anyway. Last night, after prepping the batter, a decent dozen attempts at the very simple process of making pancakes and the better part of an hour, I ran out of batter for cachapas.

The result? 4 kinda-sorta-maybe passable cachapas (albeit with mozzarella cheese as a stand-in), 6 piles of cooked/scrambled cachapa batter and 2 oh-my-word-is-that-burned-baby-food-?, uh, things.

::sigh:: I'm not giving up, though. No sir. I will triumph over cachapas. After all, I'm nothing if not stubborn. ;-)

Venezuelan Cachapas
3 1/4 c fresh sweet corn kernels
1/2 c sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 egg whites
3-4 tbs arepa mix

1) In a food processor, blend the corn until it is a light yellow, milky mixture
2) Add sugar, salt and egg whites and blend
3) If mixture is too thin, add arepa mix until proper consistency is achieved (it should look like pancake batter)
4) Oil or butter a pan and heat until droplets of water sizzle
5) Make a pancake using the cachapa batter and let cook until golden brown on bottom
6) Flip and cook other side
7) Remove from pan, add cheese and fold in half
8) Serve and enjoy!

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