How to Make Venezuelan Arepas

Earlier this year, my husband and I had the pleasure of inviting some new friends into our home. Through local community suppers, we met one Spanish teacher from Venezuela, who then introduced us to another woman from Venezuela, and soon we were happy to call one other friends. As we continued to get to know one another, we asked if they could teach us how to make a traditional dish from Venezuela. 

So one Sunday afternoon, we had these wonderful new friends, along with one of the women's husband and daughter, over to our house. We laughed, told stories, and just had an amazing time together. One of the women brought her instrument, the Quatro, and sang a couple songs for us! Her three year old daughter was happy to join in the singing and dancing. Not only did we enjoy one another's company, but we also got to enjoy some delicious arepas!

Because of our experience, I would love to share this recipe with you as well. Don't be afraid to invite new friends into your home so that you can share a meal together. It really does make for a wonderful time! 

A couple things to know about Venezuela before we get started: 

  1. Venezuelans LOVE music, dance, and basically all the arts.

  2. Currently inflation is extremely high in Venezuela, so many goods are not available to people. Even extremely important things like medicine and doctors are few and far between. A single cup of coffee can cost up to $20.

  3. The capital city, Caracas, is home to over 2 million people.

So, what's an arepa? An arepa is a typical South American dish that can be used literally for breakfast, lunch or dinner! It is a small, circular "fat tortilla" of sorts that can be cut open and stuffed with a variety of fillings. Two arepas are enough to make a grown person stuffed, so typically, the serving size is 1 arepa. I have also included the "Reina Pepiada" arepa filling that is delicious and so happens to be named after the first international beauty queen from Venezuela, from over fifty years ago. "Reina Pepiada" can be translated to "Curvy Queen", which is fitting based upon the stories about Susana Dujim, Miss World 1955.

To find out more of the story, visit: http://venezuelanfoodanddrinks.blogspot.com/2009/01/la-reina-pepiada-curvy-queen-of-arepas.html

Serving Size: 1 arepa

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup Harina Pan (Pre-Cooked White Corn Meal)

  • 1 cup water

  • A pinch of salt

  • A pinch of sugar (some Venezuelans do not like this, others do!)

  • A little oil to cook on the pan

Directions: 

  1. Mix corn meal, salt, and sugar with water with hands until well blended.

  2. Begin heating pan on medium heat with a little oil rubbed onto the pan. You do not want the dough sitting in a bunch of oil!

  3. Pinch off about 1/4 cup of the dough and roll into a ball, the flatten so it is about 1/4 inch thick. Continue until all the dough has been formed.

  4. Place the dough in the pan, fitting as many of the circles as possible, but leaving a little room in between them. cook for 5 minutes on each side.

  5. To serve, cut in half and put a little butter on it. You can serve it with the "Reina Pepiada" filling, chicken, ham, cheese, or other items you may like.

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To make the "Reina Pepiada Arepa" filling: 

Ingredients: 

  • Cooked chicken (bite sized cubes)

  • 1/2- 3/4 cup mayo

  • 1-2 smashed avocados

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Directions: 

  1. Mix filling ingredients and serve in warm arepa.

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Samantha CouickComment