Arepas are a Venezuelan flatbread made from masarepa, a pre-cooked corn flour. Harina P.A.N. is perhaps the most ubiquitous bag of this flour to be found–here’s a relevant Amazon search. I use these frequently as a quick lunch or part of a great meal.
This will make four arepas.
- 1 cup masarepa
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
- 1 cup plus 1.5 tablespoons warm water. The goal is to have about as much water as dry stuff–maybe a bit over.
- Heat griddle, frying pan, etc. on a stovetop.
- Mix the dry ingredients together.
- Add the water, and mix until you get a dough. At first, it will look a bit like grits. Gradually, it will have the feel of wet sand, but able to be shaped.
- Squirt a bit of cooking spray or olive oil on your cooking vessel.
- Shape a quarter of the dough into a paddy a bit bigger than the palm of your hand.
- Cook on the griddle, etc., for about four minutes on each side. When you pluck it, it will sound a bit hollow.
- Split horizontally (like a hamburger bun or English muffin). The inside will still feel a bit doughy. Top as you see fit.
What to Put on an Arepa
Some things I like to put on an arepa:
- The classic is Pabellón criollo, a beef dish. It’s the national dish of Venezuela.
- La Reina Pepiada is a chicken and avocado salad. I have my version, made with non-fat yogurt instead of mayonnaise.
- I like to top with refried black beans and avacado.
- I’ve heard of folks doing ham and cheese
That said, you can use it in a lot of different ways.
- The recipe scales up and down proportionately. The core thing is 1 arepa is 1/4 cup masarepa and 1/4 cup of warm water.
- I make mini-arepas as a side.
- For a quick lunch, I’ll toss in some shredded cheese into the dough before cooking, then just eat that with a bit of Tabasco