Cocina

HOW TO PREPARE AREPA

Last night I was so hungry, but I did not know what to eat, sometimes I feel for something very homey, and that day I was feeling for some comfort food, something that make me smile while I eat it. The funny thing about comfort food is that there is not a type of food, it is any kind of food that give you comfort.

I started to imagine, the arepa filled with queso de mano (hand cheese-white),  avocado, and  stew stripped beef… wake up!!! I told myself, I am not in Venezuela, and all those flavor are out of reach right now. What a disappointment!!. One moment, I have corn flour (available here and in the US) and I can fill it up with anything available here, it will be closer to what I was feeling in my mind.

You may be wondering by now, what “arepa” is. Let me explain you, an arepa is a dish made of ground corn dough or precooked corn flour (more common use, brands like: Promasa and Pan) this type of flour is very well known in Colombia and Venezuela.

The arepa is a flat round , unleavened patty made with cornflour (cornmeal) which can be grilled, baked or fried. The characteristic of the arepa vary from region to region. It may vary by color (white or yellow corn), flavor, size, thickness and also the food it may be stuffed with, virtually you can eat arepa with any kind of filling. It is either topped or filled with meat, eggs, tomatoes, salad, cheese, shrimp, or fish.

My favorite type of arepa is fried (sorry) … I try to do not eat it like this too ofter, but it is so crunchy  and when I bite it, that explosion of flavors plus the crunchiness it is just wow! For more healthier options, make  arepa baked or grilled. Not fat.

In this edition, of course, I present my favorite way of cooking arepa, FRIED, crispy, crunchy, fat, and oily but delicious…

Recipe & Directions:
(For 2 arepas)

In a bowl pour 1 cup of water.
Add salt to taste.
In the picture I show the cornmeal package, the brand is Promasa, from Empresas Polar. It is produced in Venezuela and in Colombia. But you can use any other brand. Just make sure that the corn flour is precooked.

Add the flour little by little to little having control of the consistency of the mix (masa).  
Mix the corn flour with the water to avoid the formation of lumps.

Knead the mix. Make sure that you do not leave any lumps. The masa should be soft but firm. The corn flour will absorb  the water. Add more water if the mix become to dry and it lose the soft and firm consistency.
The mix is ready when you are able to mold it  easily. Remember soft, firm and free of lump is the description of a good quality MASA.
Now that you have you MASA ready made. We are ready to make our AREPA.
Now we are going to play with our masa, it is very easy 1) Take a portion of the MASA, enough to make a ball that can fit in your hand. Make a ball  2) Close a little bit your hands on the ball that you just made an try to make a diamond shape figure. 3) with your hands flat the masa, as thin as you want.  See pictures below
Tips:
  • If you want a real crispy arepa, make the arepas as flat as possible.
  • Open a little hole in the middle with your finger, this will help the arepa to cook faster in the center (fried)
  • As the picture shown the size of the arepa will be more or less the size of your hand. (see picture below)
                                  1)                               2)                            3)
4) After you have made the hole in the center of the arepa, the arepa is ready to be fried.  Wet your hand to smooth the shape of the arepa or if the MASA  has got dry. 5) Place the AREPA in a fry pan with very hot oil at medium – high  fire. Let fry one side until you see around the arepa became golden, then the arepa is ready to be flip to the other side, use a folk to do this. 6) Fry the arepa until both side are golden and crispy.
                                   4)                               5)                            6)
7) When the arepa is ready, place the arepa on a plate with napkins and let the excess of oil drain.
8) Let it get cold a little bit before cut it in half. Use a napkin and a knife to cut the arepa. Be careful, since the arepa is very thin it can brake easily.
9) Add butter, margarine or mayonnaise or nothing. Add any filling that you prefer, cheese, ham , baked pork, chicken salad you chose. I eat my arepa with turkey ham and butter.
The Arepa is very crispy and crunchy, I promise you that the flavor is delicious and the dish is very simple. Ideal for breakfast or for a quick lunch.


Arepas

Corn Flour on Foodista
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Cornflour on FoodistaCornflour

Good Eating!!!

See you in our new post.

Karina

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