Arepas Colombianos

So I know what you’re thinking. Devo aren’t you supposed to put new recipes on the blog rather than recycling old ones? Well, technically yes but today I have learned a very different way to make a dish that is already up here. I learned this from my new and amazing friend Harold Belskus of the Band A Cedar Suede. Check it out. His/their music is amazing.

Harold’s mamasita, Liliana, who I have had the good fortune to meet is from Colombia and she learned how to make arepas from her mother and her mother before her and so on, ad infinitum. This recipe, like so many others before it, is a “feel” recipe. That means it may take a few tries to make it perfectly because you have to get the dough just right. Let’s begin, I can hear you stomach rumbling.

1 and1/2 cups Masa harina (white corn flour)
1 tsp salt
1tsp sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter
warm water from the tap
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (or whatever cheese you like)
Some butter for basting

Optional Toppings:
Sliced tomatoes
Sliced Avocado
Scrambled eggs
Extra Cheese

All doughs are a sensual and moving experience to make. This one is ecstasy as you are making the equivalent of adult play-dough. Believe me it gets more adult as you go. :) In a bowl mix the dry corn flour, salt and sugar.

In a small sauce pan heat up the milk and butter together. If it doesn’t seem to be heating up, put on a Barry White album and open a bottle of champagne. That should set the mood….ahhh yeah down by the fireside. Do not burn the milk/butter mixture. You want it about 100 degrees. If you put your finger in and it hurts, it’s way too hot. Getting more adult now!

Once the butter and milk mixture is the right temperature, slowly pour it into the dry flour in the bowl, mixing it, as per Harold, with one finger only. In other words, don’t use a spoon, this dough likes to be touched.

Add a little warm water from the tap and start to fold and press the dough together with your hands. It should start to firm up as you add a little more water. You want the dough to be spongy and not dry. If it appears too dry, add some more water but do it just a little at a time.

The dough should be springy now and light to the touch. Rip off a small amount about the size of a …um…ping pong ball, and roll it into a ball. Carefully take the index finger of the hand now holding the ball and push it into the arepa. As you do make sure to kind of hollow it out as you go, making room for delicious cheese. Told you it’d get more adult. It got weird didn’t it?

Heat up a fry pan on the stove.

Now stuff that puppy full of cheese like you are a beer wench at Oktoberfest filling liters. Once you’ve got it mostly full, close the top over the cheese.

Now flatten the arepa in your hands, making sure not to break it. You don’t want cracks in the edges. If all of your arepas are cracking, your dough is not wet enough. Moisten it up it that’s the case, genius.

Flatten it until it’s about 1 cm thick. This style cooks much more quickly than the Venezuelan version.

Now spread a little butter onto one side and place that side down in the pan.

Let it brown over meduim heat for a few minutes and then flip it.

Top with more cheese, avocado, tomato and love.

Look, happy arepa eaters!

Wow, what a recipe: it had heavy petting, massaging, penetrating dough and finally basting with butter. I think I need to lie down…

Labels:  Colombian, breakfast

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