Making the Perfect Arepa is Simple and Delicious
Let's make it clear, arepas are NOT tortillas, and if you are from Colombia or Venezuela, you know it, since we eat them for breakfast, lunch and even dinner.
Arepas were first cooked by indigenous tribes across the northern tip of South America. Its name comes from the indigenous word Erepa, which means corn.
Every familia has eaten delicious arepas once in a while and given that the dish has gained tremendous notoriety in the past couple of years, we wanted to share our secret with you about how to prepare this exquisite flatbread so characteristic of our region. You will love it!
Let's first define what arepa means, made out of cornmeal (or other substitutes such as almond flour or oatmeal) it can be found in different variations throughout Latin America. They can be either grilled, baked, fried, or sweetened and then stuffed with a delicious filling.
Arepa fillings vary widely depending on region and ocassion, but may include chicken and avocado, different types of cheese and pulled meat, beans, plantains, or eggs.
Now comes the million-dollar-question:
How do we make arepas?
It is quite simple! Just mix warm water, a little salt and oil with a cornmeal base. Then after approximately 10 minutes the masa starts to come together. It may seem a bit moist at first, but after letting it rest, the flour will absorb more moisture, and the dough can be shaped into little patties, about 1/2 inch thick.
Then it is just a matter of how you want to enjoy your arepa; fried, grilled or baked?
To grill arepas, the key is to brown them at a high temperature on an oiled griddle for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Then, keep flipping them to finish off the cooking at a lower heat for 6-8 minutes per side, so that they have time to cook all the way through.
To bake arepas, you first need to brown them on a hot griddle for 2-3 minutes, to get that nice golden color. Then, you can cook them at 350F for 13-18 minutes, until they begin to puff slightly.
To fry your arepas, you will want to shape them into smaller, thinner rounds, so that they cook more quickly in the hot oil. They only need about 10 minutes to crisp up to a delicious golden brown! If your plan is to fry the arepa, you can also add a bit of sugar for extra taste! ¡Delicioso!
Arepas can be enjoyed throughout the world in different restaurants and is one of Latin America’s most internationally recognized dishes, give it a try at home, invite some amigos and ¡Buen provecho!
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