Learning to Make Arepas

12 Oct

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Arepas are delicious corn cakes with origins in Colombia and Venezuela, and ever since I tried them at The Arepa Lady in Jackson Heights and at Caracas at Rockaway Beach, I wanted to learn to make them at home. So I met up with my friend Lizzette, who gave me some key pointers for making arepas.

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The first tip? Use this P.A.N. flour. I originally purchased another brand of arepa flour, or pre-cooked yellow cornmeal, and it was no good. I made some pretty sad arepas. P.A.N. or bust. I found the flour at a grocery store near my apartment, but if you can’t find the flour near you, it is available online. 

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Dump the flour into a bowl. Add a pinch each of salt and sugar. Slowly pour in water and mix together. The dough will feel dense.

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Want to make these really really extra tasty? Mix some feta cheese into the dough.

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Pinch off some of the dough, roll into a ball using the palm of your hands. Pat back and forth between hands until you have a flat pancake shape. Heat oil in a pan and pan-fry the arepas for about 5 or 6 minutes per side.

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You will end up with these gorgeous browned arepas. You can split them open and fill them, or just eat them as is with extra feta cheese on top. Some people like to put butter on top of the arepas for a more decadent flavor.

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Lizzette and I paired our arepas with a healthy, hearty vegetarian stew made with a bounty of farmers’ market vegetables.

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IMG_2044Basic Arepas

makes about 8-10 small arepas

Ingredients:

2 cups P.A.N. arepa flour

1 teaspoon salt

pinch sugar, optional

2 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup feta cheese, plus extra for topping

canola oil, for pan-frying

Directions:

Mix together the arepa flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Slowly add in the water and mix the dough together by hand. Knead the dough a few times until it comes together and is dense. Mix in the feta cheese. Let the dough sit for about 3 minutes to rest.

Pinch off a portion of dough and shape it into a ball, then press the ball with your palms and form a large patty shape. Repeat with remaining dough.

Heat canola oil in a large skillet or griddle over medium high heat. Add the arepas and pan-fry for about 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until browned and golden. You may need to pan-fry these in batches. Serve with extra feta cheese on top, or split the arepas and fill them with beans, cheese, meat, and/or veggies.

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4 Responses to “Learning to Make Arepas”

  1. lizzette October 12, 2015 at 6:17 pm #

    Thank you !

    • figsinmybelly October 12, 2015 at 6:23 pm #

      Thank you, Lizzette!! Many more arepas are in our future.

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