Arepas – flatbreads or corn cakes – are daily breakfast fare in Venezuela. They are similar to English muffins, but way more moist. Arepas are made from masarepa (pre-cooked corn flour) and they take less than a half hour to make. That’s longer than pancakes but quicker than polenta or most porridges. To save time in the morning you can make the dough the night before. I learned to craft them from Veronica Sarria.
makes about 8 arepas
2 cups white or yellow masarepa* (precooked corn flour)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons safflower or grape seed oil for frying
one boiled beet
3 broccoli stems
3 kale leaves
*Note: Arepa flour (“masarepa”) is precooked corn flour, not to be confused with masa harina. Sold as masarepa or harina precocida, it can be found in Latin markets and some supermarkets.
Process Use a whisk or a wooden spoon to combine arepa flour and salt in a medium bowl.
Make a well in the center and pour in 2½ cups warm water.
Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes as it hydrates.
Use your hands to knead the dough until no lumps remain.Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece on work surface into a ball,
then gently flatten to cakes about a half-inch thick.
Heat 1 Tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 3 arepas, cover, and cook until golden brown, about 6–8 minutes.
Uncover, flip the arepas, and cook (keep uncovered) until other side is golden brown, approximately 6–8 minutes. Transfer arepas to a paper bag to dredge. Repeat with remaining oil and dough.
While arepas are cooking in the pan, wash the broccoli and kale; then chop both into small pieces.
Fill a medium sized skillet about half full with water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil; add the broccoli pieces.
When the broccoli pieces turn a much more intense shade of green, use a wire skimmer to remove them from the pan. Next add the chopped kale and take it out when it becomes a more intense green (this should take about 1-2 minutes). Set the cooked broccoli and kale aside.
Slice the boiled beet into quarter-inch-thick rounds.
Use a knife to slice arepas in half horizontally (like an English muffin) and fill with a sliced beet
topped with water sautéed broccoli and kale.
©Nancy Wolfson-Moche 2015
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