Arepa is the authentic Venezuelan bread (although we do eat a lot of bread as well). Arepas are generally baked and filled with all sorts of delicious goodness, one of my favourite combinations is called “pelu’a” or “hairy”: shredded beef and shredded cheddar cheese, yum! I usually make arepas without any specific quantities, I just kind of eyeball the amount of water, salt and corn flour and adjust as needed. In this case I will provide the instructions on the package, which I’m sure will turn out just fine. Feel free to cut the quantities in half depending on how many you want to make, and keep in mind that if you end up with too much dough you can always wrap it well and keep in the fridge for a couple of days.
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 cups of Harina Pan
1 teaspoon salt
In a bowl place the water, add the salt and dissolve with your fingers, then slowly start adding the corn flour (almost sprinkling it in), always dissolving with your fingers to prevent lumps, until it is all combined and the dough is formed. Let the dough rest for a few minutes so the flour can absorb the water, then knead thoroughly (kneading it is important). If you find it too dry simply add a bit more water and knead some more. I have a magical contraption called Tosti Arepa, in which the dough goes in like this:
And in about 10 minutes an arepa comes out like this:
Magic! If you don’t own a Tosti Arepa, simply take a small amount of dough and form it into a round ball, then flatten with the palm of your hands. Place on a preheated skillet, flat grill or “plancha” and let it cook for a few minutes on each side until a crust is formed. Then put in the preheated oven (350 degrees) for a few minutes (about 10 minutes per side), turning once, until when you “knock” on it with your finger it sounds like a little drum (this is how I learned to make it, don’t have any more culinary or scientific instructions!). Once the arepa is ready, cut it open, fill it with whatever makes you happy and enjoy!
You can find some more specifics on arepas on this blog. Happy arepa making!