Arepas

The first time I tasted arepas, I was sitting on the plastic-covered sofa of a Colombian woman who, though I didn’t know it, would later become a good friend, and more recently, the madrina of my youngest son.

Like many things my friend gave me in those early days, I had no idea what I was eating – neither the name of it, or what it was made of. One time I asked her what was in a delicious meat and rice dish she served me. She told me pig’s feet, and that’s how I learned not to ask so many questions.

It was only this past year that I remembered my love for arepas and decided to make them myself. If you can track down a bag of the special corn meal, the rest is easy. Made from simple ingredients including water, salt, and cheese, and cooked in butter – these are instant comfort food whether you were raised eating them as a child or not. I decided that the flavor is reminiscent of grilled cheese sandwiches, and maybe that’s why I love them so much.

There are different varieties of arepas and just as many different ways to eat them, but here is mine.

Arepas

Ingredients:

*2 cups Masarepa (pre-cooked yellow corn meal/harina de maíz amarilla precocida)
*3 cups warm water
*1 pinch of salt
*1 cup of cheese (I use shredded mozzarella, but you can use a more authentic Latin American cheese)
*3 tablespoons of butter (for frying)

Directions:

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Let sit for 2 minutes until consistency thickens. Add cheese and mix until combined. Shape into patties and fry in butter over medium heat until browned on both sides. Serve.

11 thoughts on “Arepas

  1. Hello,

    I love it when mom makes these. She doesn’t fry them in butter but just puts them on a griddle on her stove. My parents add a little butter after cooked, similar to pancakes. Arepas go great with chocolate caliente and a little melted mozzarella in the chocolate.

    It makes me think of my favorite Colombian breakfast. Add in some huevos pericos. They are easily made and don’t make much. Dice up some tomatoes, green onions and toss them in with some scrambled eggs.

    All this talk of food is making me hungry, I will leave it at that.

    Luis

    • @ Luis – Thanks for the breakfast idea and sharing your memory :) My Puerto Rican sister-in-law puts cheese in her coffee, too. I always found this disturbing, but I have some eating habits my husband finds gross so I won’t judge :) … (For example, if you give me a plate of meatloaf, green beans and mashed potatoes – I insist on mixing all of this together and covering it in ketchup. It’s ugly, but it tastes good.) LOL.

  2. These sound delicious. I love all the recipes you post. You must be a great cook. I have good and bad days…mostly bad, but you can only get better with practice. Luckily, my husband (and kids) eat anything.

    • @ Susan – Over the years, I have to say, I do think I’ve become a good cook with variety of diverse dishes I’m good at making. It wasn’t always that way – and I still mess up once in awhile. Just last night I made empanadas de calabaza. The filling is fantastic, and over all, they’re okay, but the dough is too thick and dry – a bit disappointing, in my opinion.

  3. I love arepas, my ex-girlfriend is from Venezuela and I remember the first time I had them. MMMM…Yummy. By the way you can get the special corn meal at any Shopper’s food warehouse and even safeway in the international sections.

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