Growing up with a Venezuelan mother, arepas were a staple in our home. They are cornmeal patties that are often eaten in place of bread. They are quick to make, relatively healthy and can be eaten at any time of the day.
I typically eat them for breakfast or lunch. What I love most about them is that you can put ANYTHING inside of them and they are still scrumptious. Pictured here is the breakfast I had this morning – turkey bacon, scrambled eggs with onions, green peppers, and garlic, and one arepa with cheese. This whole meal was a little less than 400 calories. Not bad considering it’s past noon and I’m not even hungry!
Some of my favorite fillings are shredded chicken and avocado, black beans and queso fresco, ham and tomato, cheese, pulled pork, the list goes on!
Here’s how you make them. I promise it looks more complicated than it actually is. 🙂
- 2 cups of Harina P.A.N. flour
- 2 cups of warm water
- A pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Place two cups of flour in a mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix through with clean dry hands. Measure two cups of warm water and pour onto flour. Knead together the flour and water with your hands until the mixture is thoroughly blended and there are no lumps. (If the dough is soggy and sticks to your fingers, add more flour. If it is too dry, add water.) The perfect dough should roll easily into a large ball without cracking.
Break off a fistful of the dough and roll it into a ball in your hands. You should be able to make 3 arepas for everyone 1 cup of flour. Pat it and turn it in your hands until its about half an inch thick and about 3-4 inches across. It should have the flying disc shape. Make the rest of the arepas you want to cook. If any dough is left over wrap it in plastic – to keep in the moisture – and place in fridge. It will keep for three days.
Heat a little oil on medium in a heavy frying pan or griddle and when hot add the arepas. The idea is to give the arepas a crunchy exterior (“una cara” as they say in Venezuela). When the arepas are brown on one side turn them over. The whole process should not take longer than 10 minutes.
Place arepas on a baking tray at the top of the oven for 20 minutes. When ready they should sound hollow when tapped with a knife. Serve with your desired filling. The trick is to make an incision in the arepa – slicing through the middle but not going all the way – and then open it up like a pocket for the filling (think pita pocket!)