Cachapas are a Venezuelan corn flatbread, which are often stuffed with slow cooked meat or cheese. We first encountered them, not in Venezuela, but in a pop-up food stall in Camden Market, London. Since trying them, several years ago, we have been trying to perfect a recipe that does these delicious yellow flatbreads justice. The recipe here is a combination of a few recipes from the internet and a lot of experimentation, with the final recipe perfected (at least we think so) by my wife late last year.
Instead of the slow cooked meat or stringy, mozzarella-like cheese we tend to go for a filling of cottage cheese and a peppery tomato sauce, finished off with coriander, lime and avocado. The result is very similar to those first cachapas we ate in London, albeit slightly thicker and more suited to eating from a plate than rolled up in a piece of greaseproof paper. Over the course of our experiments we have tried plain flour, corn flour, polenta, fresh corn, tinned corn, and just about every variation on the quantities of liquids. This is what we came up with:
Cachapas with tomato and pepper sauce serves 2
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 small red chilli, chopped
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- 2 jarred roasted red peppers
- 2 tbs hot water
- pinch of paprika
- salt and pepper
- 400g tin corn, drained, or 2 fresh corn cobs
- 3 heaped tbs plain flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 cup milk
- 1/4 cup polenta
- 1/2 egg, beaten
- 2tbs cottage cheese
- small knob of butter and 1/2 tbs olive oil, for frying
- avocado, sliced, to serve
- coriander leaves, to serve
- lime wedges, to serve
- Combine all of the cachapas ingredients except the oil and butter in a blender and process until smooth.
- For the sauce, cook the onion, garlic and chilli in olive oil over a medium heat until softened.
- Add the tomato paste, peppers, paprika and water. Stir and season. Cook for 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan. Pour out the cachapas mix and spread evenly with a spatula.
- Cook cachapas mix for 5 minutes, then spread cottage cheese over the top. Place under a grill on high. Grill for 5 minutes.
- Remove from grill, divide in half and serve with sauce, avocado, coriander leaves and lime wedges.