If you’ve read Peter Monn’s YA debut, The Before Now and After Then, then you have no doubt heard of arepas.
They are a flat pancake that can be used like sandwich bread, stuffed like pita bread or just greedily snacked up all at once. I mean, just do a google image search for arepas. Or don’t, because we are drooling (better yet, click here)!
Arepas are a common food in many South American countries, including the home of The Before Now and After Then‘s resident love interest – Rusty.
Rusty hails from Venezuala and his heritage adds just another flavor to the great diversity recipe that is The Before Now and After Then.
To get your mouth watering today, we borrowed the folowing arepa recipe from epicurious.com.
- 3 cups lukewarm water, or as needed
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 3 cups Venezuelan cornmeal, or as needed *
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil, plus more for the griddle
1. To make the arepas, stir 3 cups lukewarm water and the salt together in a large bowl to dissolve the salt. Gradually add 3 cups cornmeal, mixing with your fingers to dissolve any lumps, adding enough to make a soft dough that holds its shape without cracking when molded. Set dough aside to rest for 3 minutes. Add the oil and work it in with your hands, adding cornmeal or water to return the dough to the proper consistency.
2. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Shape each into a 4-inch diameter disk, about 1 inch thick. Transfer to a baking sheet.
3. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a large nonstick skillet or griddle and heat over medium heat.
4. In batches, place the arepas in the skillet. Cook until the underside is a splotchy golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn and brown the other side. Return arepas to the baking sheet.
5. When all of the arepas are browned, transfer them directly to the oven rack (without the baking sheet). Bake until the surfaces of the arepas have formed a taut skin—if you rap your fingers on one, it will feel and sound like a drum. Return arepas to the baking sheet and let cool slightly. Split each arepa in half and fill with the your mixture of choice.
Have you made arepas before? Send us a photo of your arepas for a chance to win an eBook of Peter Monn’s The Before Now and After Then!