Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Arepas 2.0

I can't say how impressed I am with all the responses we got after the arepas video was posted yesterday! While it seems I got close, it was clear from the comments that I needed to make a few crucial changes. So, i made another small batch.

I used more water, so the dough was softer and didn't crack when I formed the arepas. I also didn't fry them, but cooked them on a dry (well, very super-lightly oiled) griddle. From the comments it was obvious this was a key, and after one taste I could tell why. It had a better crust and texture. Thanks to everyone who shared their knowledge!

Arepas Update 2.1

I just discovered these are killer grilled on leftover charcoal! Smoky, chewy, crispy goodness.

22 comments:

David said...

How much water exactly?

By the way, awesome website! I'm trying a new recipe every weekend and my family can't wait to try new stuff and my wife even recommends your website. I became chef dad, thanks to you :D I love the cooking lessons tucked in your recipes. Bravo!

Eric said...

I made a batch of these tonight after stopping by our local Latino grocery. The only pre cooked cornmeal I could locate was from GOYA which is popular in the Mid-West. I tried to get a nice color on both sides baked on a dry griddle. I even baked them for 10-15 minutes at 350F to try to dry the crumb a little. They taste great but the inside is still raw. I'm thinking they need to be firmer (less water).What do you think?

Chef John said...

i didnt measure, but you may need more flour.

CB said...

Does the dough need to 'rest' before cooking like other doughs for the flour to absorb the water better? Mine came out crisp on the outside but almost like 'grits' inside...is that right? It was very delicious but wasn't sure if that was right.

Chef John said...

Yes, I believe that is right. Mine were crispy outside and very moist inside. But, i'm sure our experts can tell u for sure.

Chef John said...

also, i did some rested and some right away, and didn't seem to make a difference.

Lucia said...

The stuff is corn flour. It doesn't make gluten so the resting is not needed.

Art said...

Hey chef. Are there any Venezuelan condiments that go with the "Arepas"? The pulled pork with avocado looked good. There's a place in North Hollywood known as Porto's Bakery and they have something similar to the Arepas only their's are stuffed and sealed with a shredded beef in a tomato spiced sauce, oh and they happend to be cuban.

Thanks chef

Grandson said...

hey there chef john! its me again!

no resting is needed... you nail it this time! awesome arepa, the nice crispy look, you still need to work more on the shaping though, but dont worry, to perfectly shape an arepa is an art only mastered by grannys, trust me, i still cant do it.

You can use the same dough for the Venezuelan Empanadas, its the same thing, you put it as thin as you can over a thin plastic paper, put some stuffing, then close it like a Calzone, using the paper, so you form a semicircle, you can use a big bowl to press on the folded dough to "seal it" and remove the excessive dough, then DEEP fry it, its the number 2 venezuelan meal, after the arepa.

awesome the grilled arepa idea, we made those at BBQs, believe it or not there are many WEIRD ways to eat arepas, or to do them. my dad used to do them Squared, and eat them in a very weird way, but i discovered he was not the only one, many people chop de Arepa in a bowl, add some cheese, then.... wait for it.... LATTE... yes... coffee & Milk... i always found that disgusting, but i cant judge the guy, and many people have done it also, its like an ancient way of eating it, from the 30's or something, there also a weird way to eat the leftover arepas, you mix some eggs and dip the arepa on it, then fry it, i personally dont like those, but hey... new things to try.

for Art & CB.
Trust me on this, if is not P.A.N or something extremely similar(we have different brands in venezuela), your arepas wont be that good, its not because its a venezuelan flour, its because its the original modern arepa recipe, since the 50s or way back, when corn flour began to be industrially processed, this particularly corn meal it is NOT the same thing as polenta, notice that.

there are no specific condiment to go with the arepa, but i can tell you what NOT to use, because it wont taste good... do not use Ketchup nor BBQ sauce, trust me, not a nice mix, but a commonly used salsa for the arepas (and empanadas)specially chicken, or beef, or fish is the famous Guasacaca, its like a very thin guacomole, you can see the recipe here: http://southamericanfood.about.com/od/appetizersfirstcourses/r/Guasacaca.htm

i hope you like this info! THANKS TO CHEF JOHN TO SHOW OUR FOOD TO THE WORLD!

Anonymous said...

@Lucia- you are right!
also coming someone with celiacs, thanks for this great gluten free recipe!
im always looking for good alternatives to bread for sandwiches, and this looks delicious

HowCookFood.com said...

Chef John,
I found you on youtube and you rock! I love your style, voice, and recipes. HA, your so funny and sarcastic, classic cook. I've learned alot!

the arepas are kinda like pita. I like it!

Please keep rocking on!

ps. I Always enjoy

pps. why aren't you on foodnetwork yet???

Anonymous said...

Here's a blog with a video of "arepa tutorial" that's entertaining. http://blog.thelatinproducts.com/ Especially liked the shark prop. Scroll down to the May 17, 2010 entry. The attached website has the Harina PAN at a reasonable price also.

Ileana said...

Jajaja (LOL)... Granson always in the target... it's true Chef John... only grannys master that technique perfectly..!!! But we try..! Remember you have to seal it first, in a pan with a little bit of oil... and then put it in the oven or in the grill.!!! (so it won't stick or lose it's shape...!)...
You can make NUMBER of things with 'harina PAN'.. arepas, empanadas(a little bit of sugar and flour, they're filled, Shape: crescent), mandocas (a little bit of sugar and cheese, Shape: U form)...
I promise we'll make some videos... or lead u to them...

PS.: when u taste empanadas it'd be your new favorite dish...! ;)

God bless u all..!

Cowinsaint said...

Hello. I`m colombian and here (or at least in my family) we do Arepas a little different.

First, using 1 stick of unsalted butter for 1lb of pre-cooked flour (P.A.N) and 250gr of dried salted cheese (here in colombia we call it "Costeño" but those are its characteristics), we grate the cheese and we mix it with the flour, the salt and the butter, then we add boiling water and we knead. Then we cook it on a dry griddle. That's all.

Sorry for my English.

Chef John said...

Thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

Hey Chef John, really like your posts and recipes! I was wondering if you could do a post on how to make open-faced chicken tacos. I think that would go great in a Arepa! The traditional open faced (or whatever the correct vernacular would be) chicken tacos have a lightly seasoned cut-up chicken - almost like pulled pork - but I'm not sure how to make it and I can never find a recipe for it. Boiled then cut up and fried in a skillet? Just cooked in a skillet, baked, then...? Would love to know your thoughts on this so I could try it in an arepa! Thanks!

Rob said...

Thanks for introducing me to arepas! I'd love to see you attempt something like Grandson's Venezuelan Empanada comment.. oh man that sounds delicious.

Have you ever tried a papusa? They use yellow corn instead, stuffed with cheese and pork, and the end result closely resembles an arepa.

I've been playing with masa to make papusas / tortillas etc.; I can't wait to try the difference with white corn flour.

Matthias said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ale! said...

arepas are delicius! you should try them! but I prefer them grilled!! the secret of a grilled arepa is to put the arepas at the oven at least 5 minutes after grilled! you will get a crunchy arepa! Don´t forget to fill them! They are really nice with emmental cheese avocado and chicken!! just delicius! the "llanera" arepa.. is also perfect!.. tomato, avocado, "guayanes" cheese (you could switch this with cream cheese), grilled meat and a spicy "guasacaca" supremamente ricas!


The best way to get arepa shape is to make a ball with the dough and then smash them carefully! adding a little of oil to the dough! the dough will be smoother and easier to handle!

Tulio said...

u should try it with black beans and white cheese!!!! also to the dough u can add some white cheese that way taste great also!!!

greetings from venezuela really cool website!!!

Carla said...

Hello, i am from Venezuela, where the arepas come from, it´s national food, and you can eat it with everything you want, the limit is your imagination. You should eat the "Reina Pepiada", and you gonna fall in love even more. It`s really cool watch you, and by the way An Arepa it´s never enough. Big fan of your website. Just Amazing.
Greetings from Venezuela.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John. My girl friend is from Colombia so we eat a lot of arepas in my house. Funny part with that brand of corn meal, is that the actual maiz (corn) is from colombia. Anyway I have learned to do arepas in two ways (depending on the region of colombia). First way is with grated cheese (arepa costeño)and then pan fry them, the way you did in your first video. The other common type of arepa is paisa (Medellin). They normaly only use water and the meal (sometimes salt). When you do it that way, you should make them pop up at the stove (or grill), so they inflate like a ballon when you turn them. The easiest way to form them is to use a small plastic bag that you cut up the sides. Place a formed ball of the dough inside the plastic bag and then use a sauce pan and press the ball to a round with your desired thickness.

Regards Magnus