Food Recipe: Arepa - Colombian Cornmeal Patty Recipe

Arepas, how could Colombians have lived without them?! Of course not. Arepas are for us Colombians as croissant are for the French, bloomers for the English, Rice balls for the Japanese, and the list could go on and on...


Arepas were a staple of the Timoto-Cuicas, an Amerindian group that lived in the northern Andes of Venezuela. Other Amerindian tribes in the region, such as the Arawaks and the Caribes, who live in Colombia. These peoples widely consumed a form of the Arepa known as Casabe made from cassava (yuca and type of root). With the colonization by the Spanish, the food that would become the arepa was diffused into the rest of the region, known then as La Gran Colombia (Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama).

Both Colombians and Venezuelans view the Arepa as a traditional national food. The Arepa has a long tradition in both countries, with local recipes that are very delicious and come on varieties such as: Egg Arepa (Arepa 'e Huevo), Cheese Arepa (Arepa de Queso), Sweet Cheese Arepa (Arepa Boyacense) from Boyaca and region of Colombia, also Valluna from the Cauca Valley region, Arepa de choclo made with sweet corn. Why not try Arepa Paisa (from the Antioquia region), wich are the Arepas for an excellent companion for soups.

Arepas!! an easy recipe that I can't live without it, and now My husband can't either. Try it!

Ingredients:

(4 Arepas or servings)
  • 1 cup of water (room temperature)
  • 30gr unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 ¼ cups of precooked white corn flour (Popular brands: P.A.N, Areparina, Masarepa)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50gr cheddar (or Mozzarella) cheese
  • Vegetable oil for the pan

Directions:

In a small bowl place the pre-cooked white corn flour, add salt and slowly pour the water stirring constantly with a spoon till you get a dough texture. Cut or grate the cheese into small pieces and add to the dough.

Once the dough is ready, with clean hands divide the mix into 4 pieces and give them aspheric form. Hold one of this spheric pieces on one hand and Squash it with your other hand giving it now a cookie form. Repeat this same step with the rest of the spheres.

In a fry-pan over a medium heat, pour a little vegetable oil, when it is hot add one piece of butter and place the Arepa on top of it. Repeat the same with the other Arepas every time you place one in the fry-pan. You will notice when the Arepas need a turn over when they get a bit golden brown on the edges. Put the next piece of butter on top before you turn them, now you can turn them over. Fry the Arepas until they are soft within and golden and slightly crusty outside. Should be about 4 minutes for each.

To serve, spread some butter over the Arepas while they're still hot. Sprinkle some salt and enjoy! Buen probecho!

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