Arepa is a South American word that means “maize.” It also is known as a cornmeal patty.
It is a traditional type of food served everyday as a South American delight found on Venezuelan and Colombian tables. Eaten any time of the day the Arepa’s are creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside. They can be a side dish or in place of a dinner roll.
They were created by the Timoto-Cuica people. They can be served with fresh cheese, shredded chicken or pork, scrambled eggs, avocado or ham spread. They can be split in half to make a sandwich too. They are similar to the Mexican gordita and the Salvadorian pupusa.
I had never had one before until I had it at The Urban Market at 303 3rd St., Reno as a grab-n-go. They are manufactured by a Colombian man by the name of Alejandro, then sold wholesale to the market or they can be bought ready-made from the frozen department at the market, if you would like to try them before you attempt to make them.
I found the main ingredient Harina Pan Blanco at Centro Market at 2494 U.S. HWY 50 East, Carson City.
300 grams of warm water
230-250 grams Harina Pan Blanco
1 teaspoon salt
Optional: 20 grams of butter
1. Mix the warm water with the salt and if using butter in a large bowl. Add the Harnina Pan Blanco and knead with your hands until a soft ball forms. It shouldn’t have cracks but be smooth like bread dough. They dough should not be dry. Let rest 5 minutes.
2. Mix 8 ounces of warm water with a teaspoon of oil, for dipping your hands into to moisten them.
3. Divide the dough into balls the size of tennis balls. Moisten hands with oil water, shaking off excess water.
4. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium/high heat. Spritz lightly with oil of your choice.
5. Pat the dough to a 3/8”-1/2” thickness without any cracks and a smooth surface. Lay each patty gently on preheated cast iron skillet.
6. Cook until golden brown on each side. Top with desired toppings. Enjoy…
Michelle Palmer is the creative culinary director of yUMmy at The Urban Market and Gift Basket Company. 775-849-2333, firstname.lastname@example.org.