Colombian Arepas

Cuisine: Colombian
Servings: 4-5 medium-sized arepas

The arepa is a type of tortilla made from corn. The native peoples who inhabited what is now Colombia and Venezuela were the creators of this product, which even today is an integral part of our cuisine. But of course, back then they had to peel the cob, cook the corn, grind it, make the arepas and then cook them. In fact, I had the pleasure of watching my mom and my great aunt get up every day at 5 in the morning to make the arepas of the day, but I imagine that for them it was not as fun to get up so early in the day to make a whole bunch of arepas. Fortunately, today that corn meal is sold ready to knead and it comes not only already grinded, but also pre-cooked. What could be easier than that?

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 cup pre-cooked white cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

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Directions

  1. Mix the water, salt, corn meal, butter and cheese in a bowl large enough to knead the dough.
  2. Knead until all ingredients are mixed well and the dough has a soft consistency. If the dough is too dry, add a little bit more water. If it’s too moist, add more cornmeal.
  3. Start forming balls the size of a medium orange and place them between two sheets of plastic. Flatten it with a rolling pin to your desire thickness.
  4. Cut the dough through the top plastic sheet with a cereal bowl, glass, cookie cutter, etc. Take off the plastic, the excess dough and now you have a perfectly shaped arepa.
  5. Cover a griddle with spray or stick butter. Turn on the stove to medium high and when the griddle is hot enough, add the arepas. You can also use a pan.
  6. Grill for 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Chef Notes

I made two dozen filled with chicken and the last dozen I filled with roasted chile verde, rajas, queso fresco and jalapeño strips. You can serve them on a bed of chile verde sauce, topped with more queso fresco and avocado slices.

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