The arepa is a staple in a Venezuelan and Colombian household, even though the arepa was clearly invented in Venezuela. Arepas brought me comfort and helped me feel unified with family even if we do have our differences. The arepa is something so simple to make, and I want to share my culture anyway I can. The best way for me to share my Venezuelan heritage is through food.

The arepa can be compared to bread in an American household or tortillas in a Hispanic household, but what makes the arepa unique is it is compatible with almost anything you can think of.

The arepa can be eaten sweet, salty, filled with eggs, meat, beans, cheese, fried plantains and the list goes on, but how do you make this glorious “corn cake”?

*the recipe below yields approximately six to eight arepas*   

Gather all ingredients needed: 2 cups of white Harina P.A.N/masarepa/harina precocida (flour made from cooked and milled corn), 4 ½ cup of water, 2 pinches of salt,  an egg (optional), shredded mozzarella cheese (optional), 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and your desired filling. Fillings can range from avocado to shredded beef.

  1. In a large bowl mix with your hands salt and flour together and gradually add water as you mix with your hands. When half of the water is incorporated mix the egg and the half cup of cheese to the flour mix (optional). Continue to gradually add water and while mixing make sure no lumps are present in the dough. *if by the end the dough seems to be too tough add a tablespoon of water and incorporate by mixing*
  2. After mixing let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Knead dough a few times in the bowl, and set aside as you heat oil over medium heat in a pan.
  4. Grab a handful of arepa dough and roll each section into balls and gently flatten into ½ inch circles.
  5. Add three to four arepas at a time and cook for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Flip and repeat steps five through six
  7. After cooking the arepas set them aside on a plate lined with paper towels.
  8. Serve arepa and cut in half. Add filling of choice and enjoy!

Although the arepa may take some time to make all that can be said at the end is how delicious this Venezuelan household staple is.  

*Harina P.A.N/masarepa /harina precocida can be found in most Latino supermarkets and some supermarkets.

 

Andrew Mendez can be reached at amendez@sagebrush.unr.edu or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush