It was while vacationing in Puerto Rico where I fell in love with arepas. In Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Columbia, they call them arepas. In the south, a similar version is called "hot water corn bread." The main difference is the type of corn flour used. Arepas are made using the special precooked corn flour called Masa Harina used to make corn tortillas, but have a milder corn flavor than tortillas or tamales. I was told I had to go to a Latino market to find the flour, but my neighborhood supermarket carries it.
Crispy on the outside with a soft and creamy center, arepas are scrumptious slathered with butter or cream cheese for breakfast or as a substitute for bread at any meal. When made thicker, you can slice it through the center like a bread bun, but not cutting all the way through, and then filling each arepa with your preferred meat or cheese combination. It is a truly magnificent delivery system for any number of your favorite fillings. Grace was so happy to hear that I was posting arepas to the blog until she learned that I was using photos from the last time I made them. Maybe I'll surprise her and have a plateful waiting after I finish writing this month's entry.
§ 2 cups warm water
§ 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more to fry arepas
§ 1 teaspoon table salt
§ 2 cups Masa Harina (pre cooked corn flour)
In a large bowl, stir together 2 cups warm water with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and salt until salt dissolves.
To avoid lumps, mix continuously while gradually adding the masa harina.
Continue to mix for one minute to give the masa harina the chance to absorb the liquid.
The dough should hold together when pressed. If the dough is dry, add water, one tablespoon at a time. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap to allow the dough to rest for at least 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 6 or 8 pieces and shape each piece into a 1/2 inch thick disc. I prefer to make the arepas larger when I am using them for sandwiches.
I use the larger arepas for sandwiches. Heat 1/4 inch oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat.
Fry each disc until golden brown and crispy.
Serve warm. For a printer friendly copy of this recipe go to Arepas Enjoy!