An easy recipe for making arepas at home
Ever wanted to make this Latin American staple? Now you can have a go!
My sister is currently dating a Venezuelan and, as a result, she's learned how to make some traditional Latin American food (her boyfriend's parents are very nice and give her recipes for this stuff!) and she's introduced some of it to us.
One of those things is the arepa, a culinary staple in several South American countries including Venezuela, Colombia and Bolivia. The tradition of making arepas actually dates all the way back to before the region that is now Colombia and Venezuela had contact with Europe. Archaeological sites up to nearly 3,000 years old often contain the instruments needed to make and cook them, and it's believed that it's one of the few indigenous traditions that survived colonisation!
If you've never had a go at making some of your own arepas before, here's a traditional recipe. They're really great, you can fill them with pretty much any kind of filling you want and they're surprisingly easy to make! They always go down really well whenever my younger sister makes them for us, so I wouldn't be surprised if they go down really well in your household too.
- 1 cup of Harina Pan pre-cooked cornflour
- 1 1/4 cups of water
- A pinch of salt
- Some olive oil for the pan
- Mix the flour, water and salt together in a bowl. You can use a spoon to do this, but it's better to use your hands.
- Knead the mixture until the water is absorbed and you have a dough.
- Separate it into 4 equal pieces and roll each into a ball. You can put olive oil onto your hands if you want the pieces to stick to your hands less.
- Flatten the ball out until it's in more of a circular shape. Try not to make it too thick, because otherwise it won't cook properly. Just under the width of a finger should be good enough.
- Add a little oil to the pan and heat up the arepas you've made and rolled out.
- Fry for 5 minutes on each side. The flour is pre-cooked so the aim is to get a crispy outside and hot insides. The insides should stay fluffy!
- Serve on a plate.
- Cut open with a knife and fill with whatever filling you want!
There are many traditional fillings you can use, including reina peiada (shredded chicken, lemon juice, avocado and mayo), perico (tomato, onion, scrambled egg) and diabolitos (devilled ham) with cheese. If you want a more British, European or North American take, you can use pretty much anything you could put in a sandwich or pitta.
Traditional, taken from a recipe my younger sister gave me from her boyfriend's family who are Venezuelan