It’s lunch time. You’re hungry. And you’re out of bread.
I can help.
My son recently returned from his mission in southern Florida, where he served among the Spanish speaking population. Many of the people he met and loved were Venezuelan, and one of the first things he made for us when he came home was arepas. This very simple recipe cooks up quickly and as you’ll see, it’s also unbelievably versatile.
Venezuelan Stuffed Corn Cakes (Arepas)
Shared with permission by America’s Test Kitchen
NOTE FROM THE TEST KITCHEN – Masarepa is a precooked corn flour that is also called harina precocida and masa al instante. It is available in specialty Latin markets, and often in the Latin American aisle at supermarkets. While we had the best results with masarepa, we found that white cornmeal can be substituted.
- 2 cups masarepa blanca (10 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 ½ cups warm water
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 recipe corn cake filling, (see related recipes)
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Whisk the masarepa, salt, and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Gradually add the water and stir to form a dough. Using a generous 1/3 cup of dough, form eight 3-inch rounds, each about 1/2 inch thick.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 4 of the arepas and cook until golden on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the remaining 4 arepas. (The arepas can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 1 month in a zipper-lock bag).
- Bake until the arepas sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 10 minutes. (If frozen, increase the baking time to 20 minutes.) Split the hot arepas open using a paring knife or 2 forks as if they were English muffins, and stuff each with a generous 3 tablespoons of the filling. Serve immediately.
As you know, America’s Test Kitchen tests recipes to perfection so that you know you’ll get great results every time. In this case, they added one non traditional ingredient – baking powder – to make the arepas light without being too fluffy.
So next time you find the breadbox empty, whip up a batch of arepas and serve them with ham and cheese.
Or peanut butter and jelly.
No, wait! Bananas and Nutella.
Or better yet, try the amazing black bean filling recipe that I shared last month! It’s an amazing combination.
Lunch crisis averted.