Andrea Roberson

Arepas are a traditional Hispanic food. They may be called by different names in different Spanish-speaking countries, but arepas are basically corn griddle cakes. When you bite into an arepa, you get a burst of the rich flavor that comes from the special corn flour used to make this tasty delight. Some arepas are stuffed with cheese or meat and cheese. No matter how you choose to eat an arepa, you have to eat one.

Many people are intimidated by the idea of making arepas at home. They think the arepa won’t be as good as the ones you buy in the Latino markets or restaurants. But I found an easy to follow recipe that will make even the non-cook seem like a master arepa maker. You’ll be sure to impress your students with this recipe. They’ll think you spent all day standing over a hot stove when you only spent about an hour.

Arepas

Yields: 12 arepas

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups milk

1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 1/2 cups white arepa flour (precooked cornmeal)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated cotija cheese (you can also use mozzarella)

1 tablespoon honey

Vegetable or canola oil for cooking

Directions:

  • Bring milk to a simmer in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and stir in butter.
  • Combine arepa flour, salt, pepper and cheese in a large bowl. Add the hot milk and honey and stir until combined. Let mixture stand until milk is absorbed enough for a soft dough to form, 1 to 2 minutes (dough will continue to stiffen).
  • Form the dough into 12 balls (about 2 inches in diameter) and flatten between palms into patties (about 1/3-inch thick).
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until the oil begins to shimmer, fry 4 arepas at a time, until lightly golden brown on both sides and just cooked through about 2 to 3 minutes per side; transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
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