That sounds great!  So what is an arepa!?  

An arepa is the South American equivalent to the Mexican tortilla.  It is a traditional dish of the northern regions of South America.  Arepas are made out of cornmeal (contains no yeast or baking powder), and you can either bake it or pan fry it.  It has a crunchy outer crust with a soft moist inside.  

In contrast to Mexican tortillas, arepas have a much more present role in the meal.  They have more “body”, and the fact that they have two different textures, crunchy and moist, adds to the ingredients you can combine it with.

What do you eat arepas with?

The possibilities are endless!

Some of the most popular fillings are:

  • Chicken, white cheese and avocado, famously known as “Reina Pepiada” 
  • Beef stew
  • Pulled pork
  • Pulled chicken
  • Grated yellow cheese
  • Shrimp salad
  • Beef stew and yellow/white cheese
  • Chorizo
  • Beans and cheese
  • Eggs and cheese

Now, let’s make some arepas!!!

I. Ingredients

These are the ingredients you will need for a 1 person arepa meal, which would produce 2 -3 arepas:

  • 1 cup of “Harina PAN” (you can purchase this in most Latino and Caribbean stores and supermarkets)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • 1 pinch of salt

Of course, feel free to double or trip the ingredient quantities if you are serving more people.

II. Preparing the arepa dough

  • Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Make small dough balls, s bit smaller than the size of a baseball
  • Once you have the arepa dough balls, flatten them out so they look like fat disks

III. Cooking the arepas in a pan or in the oven

You now have the choice of using a pan, or an oven:

Arepas cooked in a pan:

  1. To pan fry the arepas, lightly oil the surface of the pan and turn the heat to medium.  
  2. Once it’s hot gently place the arepa dough disks in the pan.  
  3. Let them cook around 5 – 7 minutes before turning them over.  You should start seeing some light brown spots.  Preferably, you only want to turn them over once, but it’s ok if you need to turn them a few more times if this is your first time cooking arepas.  The key sign telling the arepa is done, is when the edges of the arepa dough disks become hard.  

Arepas cooked in the oven:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 250°C/480°F. 
  2. Roll out a sheet of aluminum foil and place the arepa dough disks on top.
  3. Once the oven is warmed up, place the arepa dough disks inside the oven.
  4. Let them bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

The arepas are now ready!!

You can now add the fillings of your choice and enjoy this delicious South American tradition!

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