Friday, October 10, 2008

Some Venezuelan dishes.

Some days ago I was checking the Nora & Henry’s blog reading about the traditional or national dishes that everyone should enjoy once in the Salvador… but, some thoughts started to wonder my mind about the kind of food I will be missing every now and then once I get to Australia, such as:

“Pabellón”. The dish that any Venezuelan could remember for the rest of his/her life is the pabellon. This dish consists in a portion of black beans, rice and shredded meat or beef. Also have some variations such as the “pabellon con baranda” (Spanish for pabellon with guard rails) which adds fried sliced plantain or “pabellon a caballo” (Spanish for pabellon riding a horse or horseback riding) which adds a fried egg on top for the rice, beans and beef “riding the horse”. No doubt about the “pabellon a caballo con barandas” (Spanish for pabellon horseback riding with guard rails... you surely will understand that is a mixture between every pabellon dish). The pabellon surely is one of my favourite plates among the rest of the Venezuelan dishes because combine the sweet of the plantain and the beans (sometimes you add it sugar on top or white cheese... depends on your mood) with the neural flavour of the rice and the salty and spiced flavour of the shredded beef.

Arepas. How to describe what an arepa is... The arepa is somehow bread without being bread. The arepa is.... arepa! Hahaha, no description could fit in what an arepa is. But it is made with corn flour (or rice and corn flour) with a cup of water and a pinch of salt, is flat round shaped and cooked on the budare till it sounds like a drum. Then is it half split open and filled up with almost anything you might want at the moment... Cheese or meat or jam or avocado or chicken or jam tomatoes and mayo, etc; you make your own arepa’s flavour; the important is the existence of the arepa itself the rest is just a contour or add in. This is my second favourite dish and the one I eat more often (almost daily).

“La cachapa” or Corn pancakes. This is an extremely traditional dish in Venezuela made out of cord grits mixed with some sugar and a pinch of salt… Some people also like to mix it with flour and milk (as a real pancake). It is cooked in a hot “budare” (a rounded flat piece of steel) till is brown, then is filled up with white cheese or “queso de mano” (the exact translation is hand’s cheese, but is a tender white cheese with taste of ricotta but saltier). The cachapa is commonly expended at “road stores” and I could say that no one who comes to Venezuela leaves without to give it a taste to this exquisite dish.

Empanadas. The empanada is made with the same flour as the arepa with the difference that is totally flatten when raw, then filled up with anything you may want (rice and black beans, shredded beef, cheese, cheese and black beans also known as domino empanada, shredded fish, etc) and then is fried till gets a light brownish colour. This is more commonly eaten at Margarita’s island as a must, but it is widely know and eaten as breakfast around Venezuela.

The “hallaca”. A traditional Christmas dish, the hallaca is... well... is.... Hahaha, let me go to Wikipedia to take the someone else’s description. “An hallaca typically involves a mixture of pork, beef, chicken, capers, raisins, olives and onions wrapped in maize (cornmeal dough), bound with string within a plantain leaves, and boiled or steamed afterwards...” The hallaca among other dishes of the Venezuelan cuisine requires many hours of intense work and unites the entire family to make some of it (typically on family can make several dozens of hallacas, enough to the entire holiday season and sometimes to endure the holidays and the first days of the upcoming year. What else could I say?... Oh, the hallaca has great taste and texture and some Venezuelans living overseas makes decent living just by selling a bunch of this per day.

Well this is enough for today... I think I will have to write another post continuing the qualities of the Venezuelan cuisine.



Awesome Rod!!
Let me tell you that "hallacas" in salvadorian languaje are like "tamales"... dellicious!!!

interesting post, I would like to go to Venezuela and taste all the dishes!

Rod Landaeta said...

Hi Nora, Do not confuse the hallacas with the tamales (though the picture I posted didn't help).

The entire hallaca has a softer texture than a tamale and the flavour is sort of different too... Check out the wikipedia like or suft the web googling for hallacas and you may find something more descriptive... (I will try to find a youtube vid and post it back).


XMan said...

Helloo!!.. The "hallacas" are typical in December. Lack bit! jejejeje.

Rizitos aussie said...

Hi, just found your blog while searching in google where I can find arepas in Perth. have you found any place?

Rod said...

Hi Rizitos,

If you meant to Harina Pan you could find it in Latin Perth (google search it, is on facebook as well).

If you meant the Arepa already cooked, restaurant sort of thing... I've got no idea neither think there is a place opened selling Arepas.