A few weeks ago I got a MiAllegro arepa maker to be able to supply the growing demand of arepas in my kitchen. It came in a box where you could read something like “Italian technology for the Venezuelan cuisine.” For me, that was the ultimate proof of the Venezuelan DNA of arepas.
If you ask me to name one single food representing Venezuelan gastronomy, my answer will be, no doubt, arepas. My son Andrés Ignacio (9) recently declared he wanted to be buried with his arepitas (little arepas,) while Tomás Eugenio (7) says he’s going to have his own arepa maker when he goes to college.
Some of the reasons we love arepas so much are, first of all, they are delicious. They make us feel home. They can be filled with whatever we want. They can be served as breakfast or dinner, and be taken for lunch at school, and they are so easy to make and can be done in just 15 minutes!
Arepas weren’t always so easy to make. They were originally made of ground corn dough and were very labor intensive. Back in the 50s, precooked corn flour, and especially the Harina PAN brand, appeared to save time to our grandmas and by that means to preserve this icon of the Venezuelan gastronomy.
Arepas are also very popular in Colombia. To the point that the arepa flour that we can buy all over the US (mostly in Latino stores or online), is made in Colombia, under the license of Venezuelan Harina PAN.
I remember my grandma Ligia, making the dough and grilling piles of the best arepas ever, to feed her children and grand children, almost every evening. Arepas are so versatile because you can put what you want inside: ham, cheese, shredded meat, black beans, perico or tuna salad. They can also be grilled, baked or fried. I remember my grandma boiling them.
More recently, we make them in arepa makers. That’s so cool. Now I have a helper, Andrés Ignacio, and we decided to be creative regarding the dough. We are adding a few ingredients to enrich it. Here is our recipe!
Arepas Enriched with Eggs and Cheese | Ingredients for 12 to 14 small arepas
2 cups of luke warm water
1 cup of queso fresco (white fresh cheese) shredded
2 Tbs. of butter, melted
2 cups of Harina PAN (arepa flour)
Pour the water in a bowl. Add the eggs and whisk them with a fork. Add the butter, cheese and mix well. Add the flour and mix with your hands until well incorporated. Let stand for 2 minutes. Form dough balls the size you like your arepas or according to the size of your arepa maker. Cook following the instructions of the arepa maker. In the case of Miallegro, it takes 12 minute to have the arepas done.
To print the recipe click here.8