“Corn is one of the staples of food in Venezuela. This is an adaptation of a Venezuelan recipe. The corn in Australia has more water than in South America, so I have to add the corn powder to absorb the moisture”.
When moving from another country or city, we have to adjust to new climates, whether they be social; geographic; environmental. Not something we initially consider, is how a new environment may change or influence our diet due to a lack of specific ingredients or slight variances among regional fresh produce. Like people, recipes or methods of cooking also need to adapt to a new home. Oriana’s Cachapas are an example of a recipe that has been amended from it’s original form in Venezuela to suit an Australian climate. Cachapas, a pancake made from just blended corn and oil is a snack commonly found in Venezuela; according to Oriana it is “a food you buy when you are travelling in the country. All the road places sell them”. Due to excess liquid in Australian corn, compared to that grown in South America, Oriana uses a pre-cooked white corn powder to simultaneously reduce the moisture and bind the corn together. A successful solution, however it does result in a smaller pancake; “In Venezuela they are the size of a plate!”.
Oriana has lived in Venezuela, England, France and is now settled in Sydney and still incorporates Venezuelan cuisine into her home made meal rotation, often preparing Cachapas; “I asked my mum how she did it. And my grandmother did it sometimes too. I find myself cooking more Venezuelan food now than when I did when I was in Venezuela. Just to add more variety”.
Cachapas: Corn Pancake with Bocconcini
Two cobs of corn
1/2 cup dried corn
Salt and olive oil to taste
Slice corn off cob
Decant into bowl and blend with a handheld blender until smooth but still slightly textured
Flatten into a wide bowl and add salt, oil and dried corn
combine fully and allow to sit for 10 minutes
Separate into round portions and lightly fry in saucepan until golden brown
Serve with bocconini slices between two corn pancakes
Ensalada Palmitos (Heart of Palm Salad)
Hearts of palm in small slices
Olive oil and pepper