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An Eye-Catching Recipe for Arepa Pelada


Aug 13, 2022
An Eye-Catching Recipe for Arepa Pelada

I’ve a lifelong relationship with arepas: I used to be born and raised in Venezuela, the place arepas are usually not only a nutritious and comforting dish, but in addition probably the most vital culinary legacies of the pre-Hispanic period.

One of many arepa’s many regional varieties is the arepa pelada; “pelar,” which suggests peeled, alludes to nixtamalization, the chemical course of that outcomes from cooking corn in water and exhausting wooden ashes as a way to dissolve and take away the pores and skin of the corn kernel. Comparable processes, with regional variations and names, had been utilized by indigenous individuals throughout the continent to course of several types of corn. Cooking the corn this manner unlocks its dietary worth and offers the masa a particular taste and texture that to me is in some way harking back to the Venezuelan countryside.

This pressed-herb-and-flower variation of the arepa pelada is an homage to those traditions and a creative approach to hook up with small farming practices in Venezuela, the place farmers plant corn for their very own consumption surrounded by squash, beans, and a myriad of herbaceous crops that defend the crops from pests and create a pure chemical steadiness within the soil. This week, I demonstrated easy methods to make it at an Eater occasion sponsored by Stella Artois.

The important thing, as I defined in my demonstration, is to begin with good-quality masa. When time permits, I begin from scratch by hulling the corn and grinding it right into a recent masa — whereas it’s an extended course of, it’s additionally very rewarding. When that’s not attainable, I exploit nixtamalized corn flours instead. Right here within the U.S., there are a variety of fine choices made with completely different styles of corn with distinctive flavors and textures, together with Gold Mine, King Arthur, Bob’s Crimson Mill, Masienda, Corn Mafia and Alma Semillera. I choose to make use of natural varieties as a strategy to protect the integrity of the several types of native corn obtainable throughout the continent.

Mastering the artwork of masa making for arepas is all about utilizing your senses. The odor of the masa must be candy and floral with notes of toasted corn, and the feel must be clean and pliable; if it sticks to your palms, it’s too moist, and if it crumbles or cracks it’s too dry. Maintain that in thoughts, and shortly you received’t even want a recipe.

When you get the cling of creating masa, you possibly can customise your arepas in all kinds of the way. For taste, you possibly can add cheese, vegetable purees, shredded greens, vegetable juices, or chopped herbs to the masa, and substitute milk or broth for the water. For additional fiber, you possibly can add rolled oats or chia seeds.

Arepas are an ideal make-ahead meals: when you’re serving a big crowd, you possibly can form the arepas prematurely, place them on a tray, and maintain them within the fridge, coated with a clear damp towel to stop them from drying out. Or for a good faster repair, you possibly can sear the arepas and freeze them till you’re able to eat, then pop them within the oven for about quarter-hour; they’ll make a hole sound once they’re prepared.


Makes 4 arepas


1 cup lukewarm water
½ teaspoon positive sea salt
1 ½ teaspoon impartial oil, comparable to grapeseed, sunflower, or canola
1 ½ cups pre-cooked corn flour (masa harina, don’t use cornmeal or corn flour)
Impartial oil for cooking
Contemporary herb leaves, edible flowers (non-obligatory)


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 450 levels.

Step 2: Warmth up a big pan over medium warmth.

Step 3: Mix the water, salt and oil in a bowl. Slowly combine within the masa harina, kneading it along with your palms, till you’ve a clean and homogenous dough

Step 4: Let the dough relaxation for about 5 minutes. Don’t fear if the masa is just too gentle: the resting time will assist hydrate the flour and enhance consistency.

Step 5: Test on the masa and modify the quantity of water or flour if mandatory. If the masa is just too dry, it’s going to look sandy and lumpy and won’t stick collectively. If it’s too moist, it’s going to keep on with your palms. Completely different manufacturers can have completely different hydration content material, maintain that in thoughts when adjusting. You’re searching for masa that’s clean and pliable.

Step 6: Divide the dough into 4 balls; they need to be sized to slot in the palm of your hand. Type the balls into patties about ¾-inch thick and three ½ inches in diameter.

Step 7: As soon as the patties are prepared, press the herbs and flowers into either side of every patty.

Step 8: Add the oil to the pan and unfold it evenly throughout the pan utilizing a paper towel. An excessive amount of oil will stop a caramelized crust from forming on the arepas.

Step 9: Place the patties within the pan and sear them till they’re a light-weight golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per aspect.

Step 10: Take away the arepas from the pan and put them on a baking sheet. End them within the oven for about 10 minutes; they need to make a hole sound when tapped.

Step 11: Reduce open the arepas and stuff them along with your alternative of fillings. Serve them immediately.

Mercedes Golip is a artistic and curious cook dinner. She runs My Kitchen, Farm to Desk, a venture that includes Venezuelan-inspired meals made with native substances, with a concentrate on corn and making arepas historically.
Celeste Noche is a Filipino American meals, journey, and portrait photographer primarily based between Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco.
Recipe examined by Deena Prichep

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