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Venezuelan Arepas

Arepas are one of the few pre-contact traditions left in modern Venezuela, remaining largely unchanged both in form and popularity since colonisation. Before Europeans came to the New World, indigenous women in the region that now makes up Panama, Colombia, and Venezuela would soak maize kernels, dehusk them, dry them and grind them into a fine flour. They would mix that flour with water to create balls of dough and then flatten them into disks. The pale, golden disks would then go on a hot clay surface that would toast the cakes on both sides but leave the inside soft and moist.

Arepas are now being embraced the world over due to a variety of factors – the convenience of obtaining ingredients, the relative ease of preparing them, and the ability to customise them to one’s preferences – and we’re not complaining. Happy cooking!

You will Need

  1. 2 cups water

  2. 1 tsp salt

  3. 1½ cups harina P.A.N (pre-cooked white maize meal)

  4. 1 tsp corn, canola, or vegetable oil

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You will Use

  1. A griddle or skillet

How to prepare

  1. In a medium bowl add water and salt. Mix until the salt is dissolved.

  2. Slowly add the harina P.A.N. Mix with your hands, making circular movements and breaking with your finger the lumps that may form. Let rest for 5 minutes to thicken.

  3. Preheat a non-stick griddle over medium heat. If you don't have a griddle you can use a skillet instead.

  4. After 5 minutes, add the oil to the dough and work it in with your hands for 2 minutes. The dough should be firm enough to hold its shape without cracking when molded. If it is too soft add a little more of harina P.A.N; if it is too hard add a little more water.

  5. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Form 4 balls. Then flatten them gently until they’re about 1/2-inch thick discs.

  6. Place the discs on the preheated griddle and cook the arepas for 5-7 minutes on each side or until lightly golden brown.

  7. Split each arepa in half and fill with whatever you like: cheese, ham, egg, beans, chicken, vegetables, beef, tuna, etc.

  8. Serve hot.


Recipe inspired by Mommy’s Home Cooking.

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