Venezuela has an abundance of fruits, vegetables, meat and fish. Ingredients in Venezuelan recipes not only capitalise on the wide variety of food in the country, but on the rich cultural history of Venezuela. Venezuelan cuisine is a conglomeration of Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, African and Native American influence. The wide variety of ingredients in Venezuelan food creates recipes as diverse as Venezuela's cultural history.
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Coconut, a native Venezuelan fruit, is a versatile ingredient in Venezuelan food. Coconut is used in Venezuelan beverages, desserts and main courses. Cocada is a drink similar to a milkshake, but made with coconut milk. For a main course, coconut milk is an ingredient in Venezuelan Coconut Chicken. Coconut milk combined with corn, another popular ingredient in Venezuela, creates a corn pudding. For dessert, Bien Me Sabe, or Venezuelan coconut layer cake, uses coconut as a primary ingredient.
Black Beans and Rice
Black beans and rice are staple ingredients used in Venezuelan recipes. Venezuelan Black Beans and Rice combines these two ingredients to create a side dish mixed with onions, celery and red pepper. Black beans and rice are a traditional accompaniment to Venezuelan Pabellon Criollo, a Venezuelan main dish made with flank steak. Black beans without rice are served in Venezuela to accompany cornmeal pancakes or baked plantains. White rice without black beans is used in a Venezuelan side dish called Arroz Blanco Venezolano. Venezuelan food also uses rice in beverages and desserts.
Plantains look like bananas, but are longer with thicker skin and cannot be eaten raw. Plantains are an important food ingredient in Venezuela. They are served at most meals in Venezuela as an accompaniment and are a versatile ingredient. Venezuelan Rice with Plantains, or Arroz con platanos, are fried plantains served over rice. For a sweeter accompaniment to a meal, plantains can be baked with brown sugar, allspice and grated cheese.
Corn is an important crop in Venezuela and a main ingredient in many Venezuelan recipes. Arepas, or Venezuelan corn cakes, are unleavened bread made from corn. Arepas can be sliced and filled with fillings like cheese, coconut, chicken, black beans and shark. Cachapas are Venezuelan pancakes made from sweetcorn called maize and served with a soft white cheese that is similar to mozzarella. Corn kernels are the main ingredient in a dessert called Majarete or Venezuelan corn pudding.
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