An arepa is a typical Venezuelan food that can be found at almost every meal, often in place of bread. Arepas are either topped or filled with meat, chicken, eggs, cheese, tomatoes or anything else the imagination allows. They are treated like sandwiches, only thicker.
All arepas are prepared differently depending on the region they are made and also on own personal taste.
They are normally baked however they can also be boiled or deep-fried. A common way to make arepas nowadays is with an electric arepa maker (see picture on the side). They are similar to waffle makers and speed up the cooking process.
Also pre-cooked cornmeal (or pre-made Arepa flour) has already been cooked in water and dried and also makes the process a lot quicker. Using this pre-made flour is the most common way to make Arepas today.
Here is a recipe for the Traditional Venezuelan Arepa. It makes 5 to 8 arepas:
- Pre-cooked White Corn Meal - 2 cups
- Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Hot water - 2 cups
- Melted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Oil - 3 tablespoons
Before you start, preheat the oven to 400ºF (204ºC)
In a bowl, gradually pour the hot water over the white cornmeal flour (arepa flour).
Add the melted butter and salt then stir until it is mixed and forms a dough. If you like, you add a little milk at the same time as the butter.
Cover the dough mix with a plastic wrap to let it cool down and rest for 10-15 minutes.
Knead the dough for a few minutes then roll it into roughly 3-inch (8cm) balls and then flatten them with your hand until they are only about 1/2 an inch (1.5cm) thick. These resulting patties should be about 4-5 inches (10-13cm) in diameter.
Heat the oil in a skillet or frying pan. Add the flattened patties to the pan and cook about 5 minutes each side until a slight golden brown crust appears . Make sure they don't brown them too quickly otherwise they will not be cooked well enough in the middle. Lower the heat if this is the case.
When ready, remove them from the pan and leave them a moment on a paper towel to drain the oil from them.
Next you can either put them in an Electric Arepa Maker or grill them in an oven.
In the pre-heated oven, they should be left for about 15-20 minutes until a crust (known in Venezuela as a concha) is formed. The electric arepa makers do this in about 5-8 minutes.
Once ready, serve warm and enjoy!
Did you know?
Venezuelan Arepas are thicker than the Colombian Arepas.
The most popular brand of Arepa Cornmeal flour in Venezuela is P.A.N Harina Blanca - Pre-cooked White Corn Meal.
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