Lately, arepas have been my newest food obsession! An everyday food in Columbia and Venezuela, arepas are a cross between a tortilla, cornbread, and a biscuit. They are naturally gluten-free, so I’m finding them to be the perfect quick and easy bread for sandwiches! We have a really great arepas restaurant in New Orleans (Maïs Arepas if you are in the area) and I found myself missing it while in Savannah. But out of limitation, comes innovation! I’m so happy I decided to try making my own arepas at home. So quick, easy, and delicious!
makes four ~4 inch arepas (or 6 ~5 inch arepas with amended P.A.N. recipe)
– 1 cup Donarepa precooked white corn meal (There are several brands of this, I just buy Donarepa at my local grocery store. Goya and Harina PAN are others. Make sure you buy precooked white or yellow corn meal, as regular corn meal or masa harina are not the same.) ***see update below
– 1/8 tsp salt (closer to 1/4 tsp if using regular butter)
– 1 Tbsp Kerrygold salted butter (I use this for its extra salty and delicious flavor, and that it is softer and incorporates easily into this recipe. If you use regular butter you will need to up the salt content slightly.)
-1 cup warm water
-coconut oil, for cooking
-toppings/fillings, as desired
***UPDATE: My local grocery store stopped carrying Donarepa so I switched to using P.A.N brand arepa flour instead (I actually like it better and I’ve found it to be more universally available). I’ve found that each brand of arepa flour needs slight adjustments to the flour/water ratio, so best to follow the directions on the back of your arepa flour. With P.A.N. arepa flour, I use: 2 1/2 cups warm water, 2 cups P.A.N. arepa flour, 1 tsp salt, and 1 Tbsp or so Kerrygold salted butter. This makes 6 larger (~5 in) arepas.
1. Measure arepa flour into a medium sized bowl.
2. In large measuring cup, measure out warm water, then add salt and butter and stir until dissolved. (One reason I love Kerrygold, other than its delicious salty flavor, is that it is softer and melts easily in warm water when sliced! If you replace with regular butter, you might have to melt it first.)
3. Stir wet ingredients into arepa flour until thoroughly combined and a soft dough forms.
4. Let dough rest (allowing the arepa flour to absorb more of the liquid) while electric griddle heats up.
5. Form dough into a ball and separate into four quarters (or six parts if using the larger P.A.N. recipe).
6. Shape each quarter of the dough into a ~4 inch thick flat circle (or ~5 if you want larger arepas).
7. Cook arepas on both sides in coconut oil on a flat electric griddle (at 350-400 degrees) until slightly golden on each side. Arepas should be soft on the inside and slightly crisp out the outside.
8. Enjoy as is, with cheese and melted butter, cut open and stuffed with meat, cheese, etc, or however you’d like!
I love them stuffed with white cheddar, shredded pork carnitas, avocado, and crema!
P.S. I strongly recommend using a non-stick electric griddle for making arepas. I’ve tried making them both on the stove in an iron skillet and in the oven instead and neither way has turned out very well. I’ve always had great success with these on an electric griddle and I use it all the time for making pancakes, tortillas, and other things as well!