Even though I like to bring Colombia into my kitchen, a lot of the traditional dishes can be very time consuming and to be honest, seeing as I have the benefit of living in Bogota, it’s easier to just eat out most of the time. Having said that, if there is one Colombian recipe anyone is going to learn, it has got to be a home made arepa. Apart from being pretty easy to put together and tasty as hell, they also happen to be versatile as fuck. They’re great simple with just butter (generous amount) and salt or you could also put any savoury topping to make a meal out of it. I’ve eaten home made arepas with beef, chicken, tuna, avocado (amazing) and eggs just to name a few but perhaps one of the most common combos is to eat them with a mug of hot chocolate. Yeah, I know it’s a strange combo mixing sweet and savoury but it works in a weird way. I have them almost religiously every week for my Sunday breakfast with scrambled eggs and hot chocolate.
Enough with the chit chat, let’s get to cookin’ some bad ass arepas……
What you need:
(4 Arepas approx.)
2 cups Masarepa (Corn meal)
1/2 cup of Mozarella Cheese, grated
1/2 cup Warm water
3 Tablespoons Butter
Pinch of salt
1. Combine the Masarepa, water, cheese, butter and salt in a large mixing bowl. Massage everything together well until the texture is nice and soft like playdough. It shouldn’t be too sticky nor too dry.
2. Knead the dough for a good 5-10 minutes applying water to your hands as you go along. Cover the mixture and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
3. Using your hands, form the arepas into balls then flatten it out with your hands into discs. See the picture above to get an idea as to the shape. (bonus: form a hole in the ball with your thumb and chuck in a bunch of grated cheese in the centre of the arepa.)
4. Add butter to a non-stick pan over a low heat. Place the arepas in the pan and cook for about 10 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown. Personally, I like to cook them a little longer until the cheese melts and leaves a little crust on the outside.