Dish of the Week: Cachapas

Layer the corn pancakes with fresh cheese or serve as a side for chicken adobo.
Layer the corn pancakes with fresh cheese or serve as a side for chicken adobo.
Photo by Franze Conde

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

This week, we’re sharing a South American specialty, cachapas.

Cachapas are corn cakes made with fresh ground corn mixed with batter. They are similar to pancakes but thicker because of the corn kernels. Either cooked directly on a budara (a flat griddle made from stone, clay or steel) or wrapped in dry corn leaves and boiled, they are a popular street food in Venezuela and Colombia.

Queso de manoor soft, handmade cheese—is often folded in, and at breakfast, fried pork or chicharrón is a common side. You’ll sometimes find fried or roast pork folded inside as well. Other times, cachapas can be served simply with margarine and even jam.

The dish hits all the flavor and texture checkpoints; saltiness from the dough and fresh white cheese, sweeteness from the corn and a touch of sugar, with a crisp exterior and soft, gooey interior.

This recipe, from Jimmy Rodriguez of Jimmy's Bronx Cafe, incorporates fresh corn, cornmeal, milk, eggs, and sugar to make simply perfect corn cakes. Griddle them in butter and layer with cheese or serve them as a side for dishes like succulent roast pork and chicken adobo.

Cachapas

Ingredients serves 4
5 ears corn, shucked
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 large egg
3/4 cup finely ground cornmeal
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, puree the corn with milk, sugar, salt, pepper, egg and cornmeal. The batter should be the consistency of a thick pancake batter.

Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over low heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter. When the butter has melted and is hot, add batter, forming 3-inch rounds. Cook for 2 minutes, turn, and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from pan and set aside. Repeat process with remaining butter and batter.

The cachapas may be made 2 hours in advance and kept uncovered at room temperature. They may be reheated in a 350-degree oven until heated through.


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