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Venezuelan-style Arepas

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venezuelanarepas.jpg

Venezuelan-style Arepas

Marian Blazes

Arepas are griddle-fried corncakes made from a special kind of precooked corn flour called masarepa. Arepas are enjoyed in Colombia and Venezuela, although Venezuelan arepas tend to be thicker and are often stuffed with meat and other things to make different kinds of arepa sandwiches, such as the famous reina pepiada.  Arepas are excellent with any meal, but are especially good for breakfast.

Arepas have a crispy exterior with a soft and creamy texture on the inside.  They have a milder corn flavor than tortillas or tamales, and are perfect for soaking up other flavors like the juices of cooked meat, beans, or aji salsa.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 8-10 arepas.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups masarepa cornmeal
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Preparation:

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
     
  2. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together well, until the mixture is very smooth. Don't worry if the dough appears wet. Let the mixture rest, covered, for about 5-10 minutes, to give the cornmeal time to absorb some of the liquid.
     
  3. The dough should be smooth and easy to handle, without sticking to your hands. If the dough seems too dry, you can add a little bit more water or milk. Knead the dough for several minutes and let rest again for 5 minutes. Or if the dough is too wet to handle, add a small amount of masarepa, knead until smooth, and let the dough rest for 5 minutes more.
     
  4. Take pieces of the dough and shape them with your hands into round disks, about 2 cm thick, and 3 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter. When shaping the arepas, repair any cracks along the edges with your fingers (moistening your fingers with water will help). If the dough is cracking a lot as you shape it, knead some more liquid into the dough until it can be shaped into disks without forming large cracks.
     
  5. Lightly grease the surface of a large heavy skillet (cast iron works well) with vegetable oil and heat the skillet over medium heat. Place the arepas into the skillet in batches, and turn heat down to medium low. Cook until the arepas are lightly browned on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side. Place arepas on a cookie sheet, then place them in the preheated oven for about 8-10 minutes (to finish cooking the inside of the arepas without burning them).
     
  6. Serve warm, with butter or cheese.

 

Makes about 8-10 arepas, depending on size.

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