Funche

VENEZUELA

A Venezuelan polenta cake, steeped in memories and
flavors that bring people together

SUBMITTED BY

Noeris

In my “In Memory Of” series, I had the pleasure of experiencing funche, a Venezuelan polenta cake. I love polenta, so this dish was a favorite of mine. Made from corn meal, beef, pepper, onion, garlic, cilantro, and achiote, this mixture of flavor and texture was perfectly balanced and delicious.

This cake recipe came from Noeris from Miami, whose family hails from Venezuela. Polenta cake is known as a poor man’s dish in Venezuela, as people can add anything to the polenta mix and leave it out to harden at room temperature. Noeris shared her grandfather’s recipe for funche with us, and as it is a simple yet generous dish, she believes it is a perfect reflection of her grandpa even ten years after his passing. 

This polenta cake is made by chopping up every ingredient and adding them all to one pot. This made for an easy preparation process, and a one-pot dish makes for a really neat cake. Served in slices, this funche can feed a big group of people easily. There is no shortage of flavor to go around. Though Noeris’s family often enjoyed this cake for Sunday breakfast, it makes for an excellent meal any time of day.

Noeris shared with us that her grandfather was surrounded by people in his final days. He loved people by nature, and people loved him back. In the end, I believe that it’s the small things that make a huge mark. Letting people know how much it means when they cook you a meal is a sure way to return the love they’ve shared with you. 

Thank you to Noeris and her grandfather for this delicious polenta cake. If you decide to make funche, perhaps serve it to those you love in honor of Noeris’s grandpa.

Watch the Video

Ingredients
  

Cut the following into small dices

  • 250 g Anojo beef (or meat of your choice)
  • ½ red pepper
  • 2 sweet chilis
  • ¼ small onion
  • 2 chives
  • ¼ bunch parsley (can be substituted with cilantro)
  • 1 clove garlic

To finish the Funche

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onoto powder (achiote)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups pre-cooked cornmeal
  • 4 cups water (approximately)

Instructions
 

  • Add water and butter to a pot over medium heat. Add salt and stir to dissolve.
  • Add pepper, chili, onion, chives, garlic, and parsley. Stir to mix before adding beef. Stir to evenly distribute.
  • Add remaining spices and stir to combine. Cook, bringing to a boil, for about 20 minutes.
  • Slowly add cornmeal, stirring constantly. Stir over heat until cornmeal mixture has formed a thick paste and is cooked through.
  • Transfer to a non-stick dish and leave to set/cool.
  • Cut into slices and serve!

Notes

Recipe inspired by Recetas Venezolanas
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Region: Latin America
Diet: Gluten Free

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