Cachapas are a traditional dish in Venezuela. They are pancake-like cakes made out of corn and usually filled with butter and cheese. The recipe was inspired by this Venezuelan delicious plate and by the Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Sticks from the Tiny Food Party book by Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park. It seemed like a terrific combination and the result is a sweet and savory dish with a hint of spiciness that dissolves in the creaminess of the cheese, ending in an explosion in your mouth with the crunchiness of the pork belly. —Patricia
What You'll Need
For the pork belly
pork belly with skin
For the cachapas
fat from the pork belly
grated white cheese
soft, salty and creamy white cheese for serving. I used a type of Venezuelan cheese called “Guayanés”
In a medium saucepan bring water to a boil and let the pork belly cook for 30 minutes.
Discharge the water and rub the salt, pepper, garlic and squeezed lime all over the pork. Let it rest in the fridge covered overnight.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan and fry the pork until the skin gets crispy and golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes, turning it over every now and then.
Remove it from pan and let drain the excess of fat. Save ½ a teaspoon of the fat for the cachapas mixture. Cut the pork belly in cubes and store.
Grill the corncob until golden. Separate the grains from the chaff and put aside. Discard the chaff.
In a medium bowl combine water, milk, fat, sugar and salt. Add the cornmeal and mix well. Add the grilled corn, jalapeños and cheese. Combine well. You’ll have a thick and heavy mixture.
Heat just a little oil in a nonstick pan. Pour one ladle of the mixture in the pan forming a disc, just like if you where making a thick pancake. Cook from 3 to 4 minutes each side.
For serving, place a piece of cheese in one half of the cachapa. Top with cubes of pork belly and fold the other half of the cachapa to close it. Enjoy warm.