arepas!

October 31, 2015 • Nancy Wolfson-Moche

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.

arepas finished side

makes about 8 arepas

INgredients

2 cups white or yellow masarepa* (precooked corn flour)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons safflower or grape seed oil for frying

Fillings

arepas kale and broccoli

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.

masarepa with salt

Make a well in the center and pour in 2½ cups warm water.

pouring water

Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes as it hydrates.

arepas hydrating

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,

arepas balls

then gently flatten to cakes about a half-inch thick.

arepas balls and flattened

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.

arepas in pan

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.

arepas fried on plate

While arepas are cooking in the pan, wash the broccoli and kale; then chop both into small pieces.

arepas raw kale and broccoli

Fill a medium sized skillet about half full with water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil; add the broccoli pieces.

arepas broccoli in pan

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.

areapas broccoli in bowl

Slice the boiled beet into quarter-inch-thick rounds.

arepas beets sliced

Use a knife to slice arepas in half horizontally (like an English muffin) and fill with a sliced beet

arepas sliced with beet

topped with water sautéed broccoli and kale.

arepas with beet and kalearepas with beet, broccoli and kale

©Nancy Wolfson-Moche 2015

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Icing on the Cake: Testimonials

I loved Ms. Nancy’s cooking class so much.! I have been in this cooking class for two years and I would love to sign up for another one. I tried a lot of new foods like winter squash, cardamom, Brussels sprouts and kale. My favorite salad was the kiwi, carrot, radish salad.
Not only did we cook and eat, we also did labs about food. We used rulers to measure the size of plants. We also explored stone fruits and their ripe season. Now in my house we have window boxes and I am growing cherry tomatoes and basil.
I learned that we can use a lot of different tools to cook, not just our hands and senses. We used safety knives, potato peelers and a carrot sharpener (I wonder if you could sharpen a pencil with it?) !!!
Because of this class I can help papi make dinner and I will try any new food at least once to see if I like it. Thank you, Ms. Nancy for making cooking fun and interesting and helping me be excited about food.

- Love, K (a 7-year-old boy).