Arepas

teaspc

1 cur of pre-cooked white com

1 flour (harina pan)

1 1/4 cup warm water

Arepas are considered (by Venezuelans) one of our most authentic dishes, but they are also eaten in Colombia. They are basically a corn griddle. They can be grilled, baked, or fried. Nowadays they are made using "pre-cooked corn meal", which is not Masa harina, it is called Masa Arepa or Harina PAN (trade mark). This is the same corn flour use for making tamales, which is very different from Masa-Harina. Masa Arepa/Harina Pan, is coarse ground, and it doesn't have the pre-treatment of lye, instead they take the corn kernels, boil them, dry them, and finally grind them. The cooking time is tricky.

I friend once told me that it is possible to make your own Harina Pan, using corn meal and cooking it in the microwave with some water, but the amount of water and the time, vary and you have to experiment. (This guy has a doctorate in Food Technology, so I guess that he nows what he was talking about), but I have never tried to do it. In the US Northwest, you can get the corn-flour at big grocery stores, or at Latin stores (there are only 2 of those here in Seattle). GOYA products carries it. Just look in the Ethnic food aisle. In the other areas of the US, shouldn't be a problem to find it, since they usually have a larger population of latinos.

Once you have the flour, the very basic recipe is Harina-Pan, water, and salt.

Put the corn flour in a bowl and add the salted water little by little, mixing with the flour until all the water has been used and the flour has become a dough. Let it rest for five minutes. [this is very important since the dough will absorb a lot of water, if after the resting time the dough feels a little hard or dry, add some more water, knead and let it rest again]

Now, shape the dough into round rolls about 3 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. |n a lightly greased skillet, slowly cook the arepas until a crust forms on each side. Now place them into a casserole and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, until the arepas sound hollow when tapped.

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