Recipes for Homemade arepas from Busylittlefoodie’s Grace Brady!
If you’ve been to OZ or New Zealand and have had a sudden hunger pang, you’ll be all to familiar with the wonderful existence of the pie. A meat lovers paradise stuffed with beef/chicken/pork, veg of some description and a bucket full of gravy.
When I went back to visit friends in New Zealand last year, I walked down Volcom Lane in the town I lived in. I b-lined it for the coffee shack and was going to do a run around the the bakery for a pie when I saw a food stall at the end of the lane with great Latin music blasting out of it and this amazing smell of freshly baked bread and chili floating my direction. This was my introduction to the wonderful world of arepas. These babies are the pride and joy of Venezuelans mainly who eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Think of the Latin version of your Mam’s brown bread.
I’ve stuck with the time-tested recipe that’s on the back of every PAN flour packet. The food stall guy told me no one ever deviates. I’ve matched it up with a quick and yummy spicy salsa but I’ve also added a few more suggestions for fillings below.
Homemade arepas with spicy tomato salsa
2 cups of PAN yellow corn flour (all Asian shops-cheap as chips)
2 cups of luke warm water
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 good pinch of salt
2 tbs of olive oil
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic (crushed and chopped finely)
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
1 large sprig of oregano
I’ve chosen to leave the fillings out for this as this is more of a warm snack to keep you going since we tend to have dinner so late in the evenings but traditionally, you slice the arepas length-ways and add a filling. Here are some ideas:
– Grated cheddar & chili salsa
– Ham & Cheese (put back in the oven for 5 mins to melt through)
– Avocado and salsa
– Shredded pork and a drizzle of honey
Preheat the oven to 190 C. In a large bowl, add the water, olive oil and salt. Gradually add in the flour and stir through. It will become a thick paste and then turn into a dough. Keep mixing until the dough turns into a ball and comes away clean from the bowl. Add more flour or water if necessary. It shouldn’t be sticky.
Divide the dough into twelve. Roll each into a ball, then flatten into disks with the palm of your hand. Fry the arepas on a med-high heat on a frying pan (WITH NO OIL) for 3/4 minutes on each side. Place them all onto a baking tray and place in the oven for another 10 minutes until spongy and golden.
While the arepas are in the oven, fry the garlic and chili in the olive oil in a pot on a low heat for 2/3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stir through, cover with a lid and simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes. By then, the arepas will be done. Tear and eat with the tomato salsa or slice lengthways, add your fillings and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes to heat through.
This is crazy easy and takes 20 minutes max. Double the recipe if you want. uncooked arepas freeze easily, though I’ve never known them to last once the freshly baked smell of the first batch goes through the house. Enjoy!