Venezuela’s Flatbread – Arepa
Arepa is a flat, round, unleavened patty of soaked ground kernels of maize, or nowadays maize meal / maize flour or pre cooked corn flour. It is a pre-Columbian dish from the area that is now Colombia and Venezuela. It is grilled, baked, fried, boiled or steamed. It can be topped or filled with meat, eggs etc. I made this using corn meal which says Masarepa, which is precooked corn meal. I took the original recipe from here. We enjoyed this yummy Arepa’s as a pizza. I simply topped it up with my home made pizza sauce. My son eat it as a sandwich by spreading some Home Made 2 Ingredients Hazelnut Chocolate Butter.
Traditionally arepa dough is made by soaking dried corn and then mashing the soaked corn in a special mortar and pestle. Modern arepas are made using special masa flour, masarepa, specific to arepas. Masarepa is not the same thing as masa harina (which you may be familiar with if you’ve ever made tortillas or tamales). Masarepa is typically easy to find in Latin markets.
The masarepa is made into a dough with just a small amount of water and oil. You can adjust the dough slightly as you are mixing it, adding a little more water or flour as needed until the dough holds together. Resting the dough for 10-15 minutes before shaping helps the flour to absorb the water and easier to shape and it cooks faster. As said earlier, they can be baked, fried or grilled but best is to cook them on a flat griddle. A cast iron griddle will work best , but a nonstick pan is also fine. They can be eaten for breakfast or as a main course meal or as a snack or side in lunch. You can top it with fresh meats or cheese or just make a chocolate sandwich and enjoy.
So here goes the recipe:
Arepa is a flat, round, unleavened patty made using Arepa flour and can be grilled, baked, fried, boiled or steamed and enjoyed or topped with meat, eggs etc.
- 2 Cups Arepa Flour (precooked cornmeal)
- 2 tsp Vegetable Oil
- Salt to taste
- Desired toppings of your choice
- 1-2 Cups Lukewarm Water
Combine Arepa flour, 1 tsp oil and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually add the lukewarm water and mix everything.
Do not add more water, Add only if needed. You should be able to combine everything and form a dough like.
Let the dough hydrate for 15 minutes or so.
Knead dough and divide into equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then flatten it with your palm to form a 1/2 inch thick patty.
Heat 1 tsp oil on a pan, and cover and cook on slow the Arepa's on both the side until golden brown.
Do not rush, we need the Arepa's to be cooked from inside, so slow cooking and covering the pan is must.
Repeat the above steps for the remaining Arepa's.
Split the Arepa's and stuff with the fillings of your choice.
Arepa flour is precooked corn flour, not to be confused with masa harina. Sometimes sold as mararepa or harina precocida, it can be found in Latin markets and supermarkets
Recipes in this series of A-Z International FlatBreads
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Day 22- International Flat Breads – Letter V
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