arepas : harina pan : precooked corn meal : venezuela

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Arepas are extremely popular in Venezuela, they tend to replace bread at the table, like say what mexican tortillas would be, eaten any time of the day, stuffed with pretty much anything you can think of, as main a dish or side. Different countries call it different names. More commonly know in the US by the salvadorian variant, the famous pupusas, or the mexican gorditas, these masa dough little cakes couldn’t be  easier to make and deliver great texture, flavor and a perfect vehicle for an infinite number of fillings and stuffings, I’ll keep it simple and just present them with a little butter. This is possibly a good base preparation but I can think of many different variations, like adding garlic powder, onion powder, chives, cilantro flakes, sugar, honey.. and cooking methods, deep frying, pan frying… grilling them, the dough is already precooked so it is super forgiving (you could actually eat this dough without cooking it, but you really want that crust) This recipe will yield about 4 arepas. 

Gear:

Mixing bowl
Hot oven 500f
Scale if you care to measure
Measuring spoons
Cast Iron Griddle in the oven, or cast iron skillet

Ingredients:

100 g harina pan (masa flour)
160 g water (some use milk, buttermilk for richer results)
2 g salt
1.5 g citric acid, or 1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Olive or Vegetable oil some more for coating

Method:

01: mix everything and let stand for 5 minutes
02: Form the dough into balls (about 2 inches in diameter)
03: flatten between palms into 3 1/2 to 4-inch patties (about 1/3-inch thick)
04: coat with some oil
05: place on cast iron vessel
06: bake for about 8 minutes on each side
07: remove from oven, let rest
08: slice in half crosswise
09: stuff them however you want. Ham and Cheese is my favorite.

After doing some googling, I found this really nice place, never been, but If i ever go to NY, I’ll definitely stop by!

http://www.caracasarepabar.com

enjoy!

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4 comments

  1. Although I’m not familiar with arepas, I’m guessing that they may be reminiscent of our cornbread but without the sweetness — which is fine with me. Without any herbs and spices, I bet they’re perfect for sandwiches, allowing the filling’s flavors to really shine. Thanks for sharing, Paul.

    1. yeah, I mean, you could go as creative as you would with breads, and yeah, a perfect vehicle for anything you’d like to pair them with 🙂 I know is super simple but I love them and only a few years ago I couldn’t make them, they would turn out dry, I would burn them, etc… I got this now 😉

  2. Just to clarify, although similar in concept, they are actually very different from a pupusa, mostly due to the dough. Arepas are a little more bread-like, while pupusas are literally tortillas (corn ones of course) that are fat enough to have filling 🙂

    1. Thanks for the clarification, I’m from Venezuela, and I’ve lived in LA for nearly 15 years (lots of pupuserias around here), having had the 2, I can almost agree with you, yes, pupusas tend to be thinner, but arepas come in so many different variations. I’ve come across some that are just about the same as pupusas, I bet pupusas also vary from town to town and even family to family, that’s the beauty of home cooking, everybody gets to show off their own style 🙂 thanks for your comment Ricki! Let me know what you think!

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