Introduction to food culture

Arepas (ah-ray-pahs) are corn pockets filled with different combinations of delicious savoury treats. They are eaten mainly in Venezuela and Colombia as an earthy and ready to go snacks.

Image result for arepa venezolana

VENEZUELAN AREPAS

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups cornmeal (pre-cooked white corn flour)
  • 1 1/4 – 2 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal and salt. Pour in 2 1/2 cups of the boiling water and mix with a wooden spoon to form a mass. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Once rested, using wetted hands, form balls of dough out of about 1/4 cup of dough and press to form a cake about 3 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick. If the dough cracks at the edges, mix in a little more water and then form the cakes. The AREPA needs to be thick enough that it can be sliced and stuffed like a pocket. An approximate size is about ½” thick and 4½ ” in diameter. The edges of the AREPA need to be sloped down instead of flat, straight edges.
  3. Heat the oil in a sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the patties, a few at a time, to form a light brown crust on one side, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip and brown on the other side.
  4. When all the patties have been browned, transfer them to a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they sound lightly hollow when tapped. Serve immediately.

Fillings: Split the arepas in half when finished and scoop out a little of the soft dough filling. Stuff with your chosen filling.

  • Reina Pepeada: chopped chicken, avocado, and mayonnaise mashed together.
  • Arepa de Perico: scrambled eggs with tomatoes, peppers and onions.
  • Arepa de Pabellón: shredded, seasoned meat and black beans.