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...a sweatshop of moxie

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Patricio in Maracaibo With Arepas

My friend Patricio (no, not that one) flew to Maracaibo last week, and just got around to calling me, thanking me for the info I provided him from some Venezuelan friends on what to eat whilst there.

The main staple of Venezuelan diets seems to centre around arepas. This is also true of Colombia, if not more so.

Patricio's had arepas before, but never liked really cared for them, which is similar to me with the exception that I absolutely hate them.

But he assures me they're not at all bad, there in Maracaibo at least, so he urges me to re-think my analysis, especially as he'll try to secrete some out of the country, on his last day there.


I'm not sure, even though I'm willing to give most things a second chance.

To me, arepas are a cross between a scone, a pita, a Mexican tortilla with more than a passing resemblence to a chipati.

Or an 'English muffin'

Since I'm on a cookery kick these days, I looked up arepa recipes online to prepare them myself. Maybe you might try your hand at making them and let me know how much work was involved.


Take a cup of finely ground, pre-cooked, corn meal (white is preferable, but yellow is also used), add an equal amount of water, a dash of salt and a teaspoon of cooking oil.

Kneed the mixture with your hands until it is thoroughly blended into a dough.

Take a small amount of the dough and pat it into a flat, round cake, about the size of the palm of your hand, or slightly smaller. It should be about a quarter of an inch thick. Shape and press it around the edges to make it even and smooth. Continue making more cakes until the dough is used up.

Grease a heavy skillet or griddle and place it over a low flame. It should not be too hot. When the surface is hot place the cakes, one or two at a time, on the griddle to brown on both sides. Put them in the oven to bake for about 15 minutes.

(You may also fry them, turning once, in about a quarter inch of hot oil.)

TO SERVE: Slice the arepa like a hamburger bun, discard some of the steaming meal that is still soft in the middle, fill with choice of filling, close the arepa and serve immediately.

Doesn't sound too hard, but then I said the same thing about Ropa Vieja.

What a disaster.


  • Your recipe for arepas is perfect, but you have to have the exact corn
    flour. Any corn flour is not adequate. The most known is called Harina Pan and is found in overseas food deli shops in many places in the world nowadays.

    It is made in Venezuela, but is marketed mainly by Colombians;
    don't ask me why. In my experience arepas are disappointing to non-Venezuelans or non-Colombians. Thing is that we grow up eating them and
    they are an important gastronomic reference to us, specially when we are abroad. The important is the filling. And the filling can be anything as I said before: chicken, meat, pork, sausages, tuna, cheese, black beans,
    shrimps, squids, liver pâté, chorizo, ham, etc., ...even quail eggs.


    Juan Vazquez

    By Blogger Juan de Petare, at Sat Jun 04, 07:21:00 pm GMT-4  

  • First, let me say how cute your profile pic looks, Juanchi. ;)

    Second, thanks for the tip!

    In fact, I don't have to go out of my way to buy Harina Pan in some speciality Venezuelan or Colombian store.

    Like yierba mate found in Argentina, or matte in Brazil, it is sold in every supermarket in South Florida. ;)

    And cheap too! Less than .60 cents for a pound. Ahh, the wonders of globalisation.

    As for the fillings, I'll let you know Sunday when I pick up Patricio from the airport. He assures me somehow with his seignorial bearing, the dog sniffers at MIA Int'l will leave him and my tasty arepas alone.

    BTW, pâté arepa? Que presumidos son estos Sul Americanos. ;)


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Jun 05, 04:46:00 am GMT-4  

  • Bweno...Patricio llego. Me dio la arepa. La comi. Y todavia no me gusta.


    Que pena, verdad?


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Jun 06, 01:27:00 am GMT-4  

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