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        RECIPES

Despite its variety, Venezuelan food is varied with a marked indian influence. Our national bread is the arepa, prepared with corn flour.
At Christmas, all over Venezuela, a special and typical food is cooked in every house; it is called hallaca. This is prepared with corn flour filled with pork meat, chicken, vegetables, and spices.
It is cooked wrapped in banana leaves. This kind of banana (plátano) is used often in our kitchen and is the base for many national food specialities.
The variety of fruits in Venezuela is very rich, and being a tropical country the abundance and beauty are such that their display in our markets makes them look picturesque and exotic.


Arepas
*

The arepa is perhaps the most popular food in Venezuela. It is eaten hot as a kind of bread to accompany a meal, or by itself, stuffed with meat, bologna, cheese, scrambled eggs, or anything one wishes.
In the old days, arepas were prepared from freshly husked and ground corn, but today, the pre-cooked white corn flour has eliminated this lengthy process.

Ingredients

2  teaspoons of salt
2  cups of corn flour
2 1/2  cups

Method

Put the corn flour in a bowl and add the water little by little, mixing with the flour until all the water has been used and the flour has become a dough. Let it rest for five minutes. Now, shape the dough into round rolls about 3 inches in diameter and 1-2 inches thick. In a lightly greased skillet, slowly cook the arepas until a crust forms on each side. Now place them into a casserole and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, until the arepas sound hollow when tapped.


Cachapas de budares*

Ingredients

4  cups of tender corn kernels (canned corn may be used)
3  teaspoon of salt
3/4  to 1 cup of water (depending on how tender the corn is)
3/4  cup of sugar

Method

Mix all the ingredients in a blender. The mix should become thick and heavy. If not, add more corn or a few tablespoons of Jiffy Corn Muffins Mix. 
Shape the mix into small pancakes approximately 1-2 inches thick and about 5 inches in diameter. Let them cook on medium heat for about one minute on each side, or until small bubbles form on the top.
Pancakes should be served hot, and may be accompanied with cheese (feta cheese is a good option). 


Cheese Balls*

Ingredients

1/4  cup cornstrach (optional)
6 or 8 eggs whites
2 lbs. grated white cheese (llanero)
A little milk is necessary

Method

Blend ingredients into a stiff dough using milk. Shape into small balls by rolling between the palms of hands.
Fry in hot, deep fat or oil until the balls rise and become of a brown color.
Serve at once on toothpicks. Makes 40 to 50.


Sancocho (Soup)*

Put three liters of water in a pan and place it on fire. When starting to boil, put a chicken cut into pieces, 1 pound of meat (with bone) and 2 ribs. Add 2 onions (in pieces), 1 pepper (pimiento), celery and leek. Let boil for 1 hour at slow fire. Then add 3 big potatoes (peeled), yuca, 2 platanos cut in pieces, 3 corns in pieces, salt and pepper to taste. As soon as the vegetables become soft, turn off the fire.


Tequeños*

Ingredients

4  cups flour                                 1  heaping tablespoon butter
1/2  teaspoon salt                          2  eggs yolks
1  cup water (approx.)                    1  teaspoon sugar
1  lb. soft white cheese 

Method

Combine all ingredients except the cheese, using only enough water to make a rather soft dough. Set aside for a few minutes. Cut the cheese into strips of 1/2 inch wide by 2 1/2 inches long.
Divide dough into four parts. Roll each part as thin as possible, but into 1/2 inch strips and wind around the cheese until the latter become completely covered.
Fry in hot deep oil until golden brown.
Serve at once. Makes about 60.


Banana Dessert*

Put two spoons of butter in a frying pan and place it on fire.
Put 5 peeled bananas in the frying pan. Let them fry until they turn golden.
Place the fried bananas in a special mold for the oven.
Mix one cup of sugar with one spoon of cinnamon. Cover the bananas with sugar. Place the mold in the oven at 350 F for 45 minutes.


* Source: Permanent Mission of Venezuela to the OAS.


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