How to Make “Chorreadas” (Corn Pancakes)

The Costa Rica specialty, “Chorreada” is basically a corn pancake and a very tasty for breakfast, lunch, or mid afternoon snack with coffee on a rainy day.  Corn is a staple in the Costa Rican diet and eaten daily by most locals in one form or another such as; tortillas, tamales, corn on the cob, and many other forms.  If you are like me over 7 years ago, you probably have only seen corn in the supermarket, peeled and ready to cook.  Well, now I have experience in the corn fields and picking fresh corn to eat the same day; not just buying some at a grocery store that who knows how ago it was harvested.  Today we will show you how to make one of my favorite dishes; “Chorreadas” literally from scratch.

Step 1) In the Field – When eating the freshest ingredients it is not easy and involves a bit of work, and the first step is to go to the corn field and pick the corn.  So the day starts before dawn and in order to make plenty of “Chorreadas” you need at least one sack of corn.

You pick the corn that is almost ripe; the younger corn is still soft and makes the best “Chorreada”.  You can tell by the size of the husk and the hairs on the tip of the husk are purplish, where as when completely ripe they are black and dried out.

Once you have picked a sufficient amount you have to peel as much of the husk as you can while leaving enough to transport it without damaging the kernels.  This also allows you to fit more corn in the sack and reduces some of the overall weight.  Remember you have to carry this sack of corn back to the house.  This is the hardest part and if you do not have access to a corn field or do not want to pick corn, just buy a bunch at your local Farmer’s Market.

Step 2) The Preparation – By now you are back at the house with your sack of corn and it is about 7am and you still have a long way to go before you taste your first “Chorreada”.

You will need to peel the entire husk from the cob and get all the hairs off that you can.

Next you have to cut the raw corn from the cob so just the kernels are ready for the grinder.  At this point you may want to cook a few cobs of corn on the side to eat as a snack while you finish the rest of your work.

Now comes the hard part, hand grinding all the kernels into a “masa” or dough like substance. At least you will get your arm strength exercise for the day.

Step 3) Cooking – Now its about 8:30am and you are ready to start cooking the “Chorreada”.  You take the corn “masa” or dough and mix in a little sugar and salt, plus a little flour if it is not thick enough and mix it all together.

Then put tiny bit of oil onto a hot skillet and spread out a pancake sized portion of the mix.

After a few minutes flip it to the other side and cook both sides until golden to dark brown in color.

Step 4) The Taste Test – By now it is around 9am or later and you are finally ready to enjoy your hard earned delicacy. The “Chorreada” is best served with a side of sour cream or “Natilla” and a cup of coffee or cold glass of milk.  This entire process is best done by the whole family; as one person can peel, one can cut off the kernels, one can grind, and one can cook.  Otherwise it will take you half the day to do it all solo.

 If all this seems like too much work, then the next time you see “Chorreada” on the menu at your local “Soda” order it with a side of ”Natilla” and a cup of “café con leche” and enjoy!

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