September 17, 2009

Costa Rican Cookin': Chorreadas de Elote

Hello everyone! I've got a tasty bit of Costa Rican cuisine for you today. If you remember, I recently wrote about recipes involving flor de itabo and guineos; however, if you don't happen to have a itabo plant or a mini banana tree in your yard --and many of you don't-- then the recipes are more like armchair cooking than anything that can be pratical in your kitchen. For today's recipe, though, most people back in the states can play along... all you need are some fresh ears of corn, a pinch of salt, a hot pan, and a dream (dream optional).

Chorreadas de elote means, more or less, "poured corn" (elote is the local word for fresh, sweet corn as opposed to maíz, which I believe is usually dried corn). To start off with, you just need a couple of ears of fresh corn:

Here is my mother-in-law Cecilia with the corn.

Cecilia looks on as Angela cuts the corn from the cob. Gotta make sure she's not slacking. By the way, Angela's St. Regis basketball sweater reflects her passion for and commitment to both St. Regis and the sport of basketball. I once asked her why in the world she had that sweater, and she told me she got it at a second-hand store, and that she didn't like basketball at all. I thought that was interesting, since I also have a basketball T-shirt (Boulder Valley YMCA) that I got at a second-hand store, and I hate basketball. Just another reason our love was meant to be!

Pretty easy: just scrape the corn off the cob. Don't worry about the little corn hairs; they supposedly make the finished product taste better.

Next you've got to grind it. This is the hard part if you live in the U.S. and you're not into things where you need grinders and old kitchen supplies, like casing homemade sausages or making your own shotgun ammo. However, you can always use a blender or food processor, but you may have to drain a bit of the liquid a few steps from now.

Work it! As you see to the left, there's a little trickle of "corn milk" coming from where the base of the handle meets the grinder. That's being collected below the wood block, and will be added in a step or two.

I even got in on the fun.

Here's where you add the "corn milk": that's what was being collected separately below the grinder. If you do the grinding in a blender or food processor, you may actually have to drain some of the milk off, as opposed to adding it in. It just depends on how the grinder works.

Then, you gotta mix it to the consistency of a tapioca or a thick pancake batter. At this point, the rest of the process is basically like making pancakes:

Spoon some of the mixture out and spread it around. Let it cook in either an oiled or a non-stick pan for about 2 minutes, or until it can leave the bottom of the pan and be flipped.

Here's a flipped chorreada.

Cecilia's a good sport letting me photograph her, so thanks again to her for putting up with my questions and the constant flash bulb!

Dinner --or, more often, coffee-- is served! One person can usually eat about two or three of these things for coffee time, or as a sequel to dinner. The traditional Costa Rican way of serving chorreadas is with a fresh cup of coffee and some natilla, which is like a heavy sour cream. That's surely the most difficult part of this recipe for the people in the U.S. to acquire, but you could use American-style sour cream, or possibly crème fraiche or even yogurt. And, I've been known to sneak one of these beauties topped with butter and maple syrup, which makes it like a pancake-y type of cornbread... just don't tell the Costa Ricans!

And finally, how you eat it is just as important: you have to use your hands, since utensils are only for panty-waists!
Oh, and this is the lovely Angela with her newly-painted fingernails. She's really getting into painting nails, and if we ever go to the U.S., she's trying to get a client list ready (we told her that some people pay upwards for 40 bucks to get finger or toenails painted!). Also, I included this picture because she is clearly wearing her wedding ring on her right hand, like I do, so I wanted to prove I'm not the only weirdo!

Anyhow, thanks for tuning in, and if you happen to try making the recipe, please chime in with any comments, tips, or any other comments!

Buen provecho!


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4 comments:

loopy said...

damn! no chorreadas at all for me this year. and this post has really made me want some.

about 5 years ago i was going crazy and was getting ready to KILL the next person who offered me another chorreada. I must have frightened them off. damn. :(

Sitzman said...

Food here seems to be spaced out like that (ie, not spaced out at all). There's a very fine line between liking something and overdosing on it, and that line is frequently crossed throughout the year here.
Stay tuned for a miel de ayote post, speaking of that.

Mike Benayoun said...

I am gonna have to try this simple recipe as I just made them with eggs, flour and milk added to the corn. They turned out great in both savory and sweet versions but they were not easy to flip as the batter was a little more liquid than yours.

Still tastes delicious though ;-) Just posted the recipes on our world cuisine blog.

Sitzman said...

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your comment!
Sitzman