Seasonal Flavors: Colombian Gorditas

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Many years ago, I was selected to be a high school exchange student to Bogota, Colombia.  That experience changed me in so many ways, and I always longed to return.  Last year I did, with a Spanish-speaking cousin.  We went in the Spring, not especially high season for tourism.  As we chatted up the locals, they would wonder what in the world brought us there.  We knew that what they really wanted to know was why two ‘mature’ women from the U. S. were visiting Colombia?  When I said I had lived there for three months in 1971, we’d get a blank stare……and usually the reply “I wasn’t even born then.”

Bogota is beautiful and mountainous, with an iconic Gold Museum.  I would not call it a food destination, but I remembered with fondness the beans, rice and corn cakes that I ate while there so many years ago.  I enjoyed it again in the ‘comida tipica’ that we ordered one afternoon. 

The meal included avocado—the most delicious avocado I’d ever had, plus some pork.  I’ve been making those corn cakes my whole life.  They call them ‘gorditas’ (little fatties).  It’s like a tortilla but eaten more as one would eat a piece of bread.

If you google ‘gordita’ you will discover that there is a Mexican dish consisting of a thick corn cake, stuffed with a filling.  But I assure you that in Bogota, a gordita is merely a delicious, plain corn cake.  Thanks to our wonderful Latinx population, masa flour is available in local grocery stores.

Colombian Gorditas

  • 2 cups Masa flour
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 T oil

Blend all ingredients into a stiff dough.  Form into ½ inch thick cakes that are about three inches in diameter.

Heat a cast iron frying pan or griddle till its very hot.  Cook the gorditas on the dry pan (no oil).  Five minutes on each side is usually enough.  The gorditas will be dark brown or blackened.  Serve smeared with butter, with a plate of rice and beans.

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