Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Last night I dreamed that I was trying to explain to someone how to make arepas, and I said "it's real easy, it's up on my blog." But in fact it is not on my blog. I'm here to rectify that, at great personal sacrifice because I have no arepa fixings in the house and now I have to write about them.

Arepas are a South American food, made from a special kind of cornmeal called masarepa. I use Goya brand masarepa because it's easy to find. Goya masarepa is made from white corn, but I hear you can get yellow masarepa as well. This page describes which brands of masarepa are available in the US, and also introduced me to the existence of sweet arepas and arepa toasting machines. I wonder if I can use my sandwich toaster to make arepas, except they'd be triangular arepas which is just wrong.

I can hear you saying, but what is an arepa and how do I make them? Here are some pictures of delicious, delicious arepas, and here is a recipe:


  • 2 cups masarepa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-4 ounces grated mild white cheese, such as Mozzarella or Oaxaca
  •  3 cups boiling water
  • cooking oil


  1. Put masarepa into a large metal bowl and stir in the salt, then the grated cheese.
  2. Make a well in the center and pour in the hot water. Mix well and let sit for 5 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
  3. Heat a large skillet or griddle and pour in a generous amount of oil. (You will be frying the arepas, not deep-frying them.)
  4. Form masarepa into patties, whatever size and shape is convenient for you. I find it hard to make really thin patties, but some people do it that way.
  5. Put arepas into the skillet and fry over medium-high heat until brown, about 3-5 minutes per side. (The cornmeal is actually pre-cooked, so you don't have to worry about under-cooking.)
  6. Drain arepas on paper towels, and enjoy!

How to Serve Arepas

I like them with fresh salsa (storebought or home-made), accompanied by sauteed mushrooms and kale, but there are many, many variations. Some people make their arepas thick enough to cut in half, and then make little arepa sandwiches. I haven't tried that yet.

Some people make arepas with cream cheese instead of mozzarella, but I'm not fond of cream cheese so I haven't tried that. Likewise, you can make them with milk, but I find that if there is too much dairy in the dough then the arepas stick to the pan while cooking. You can also make vegan arepas, with just masa, salt, and water. I tried that but they don't get nice and brown.

Oh god, what have I done? Now I want arepas.

No comments:

Post a Comment