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.


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.

Luatica 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

Juan Nieto 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


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.

Unknown 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!

Unknown 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.

Matthiu 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

Unknown said...

If the arepas are raw in the inside after 10 minutes in the grill, try making them a little thinner.

Chris said...

Hello Chef John,
I am Venezuelan. As such the company POLAR makes flour PAN(Producto Alimenticio Nacional) - National Nutritious Product. This company started by producing beer by in later years started buying out other companies and exporting or opening plants in other countries as in Colombia in case Chavez wanted to take over. The food part expansion began in 1954 - Corn meal PAN, oil, beverages other than beer.
To Venezuelans, arepas are our bread, which can be eaten anytime in the day. Other countries have their version of our arepas and some vary in preparation. We have the white corn meal and yellow cornmeal for arepas. There is another that is sweeter that we use for cachapas- corn pancakes.
Nowadays, you can find cornmeal in bigger cities and online in small bags or 5 lb bags. Most people I know do not deep fry arepas. Some put lard others do not. Others put oil others do not. All that to prevent the cracking. If the flour is fresh I personally prepare them with water:
2 cups of corn meal PAN
2 1/2 of water
1 teaspoon of salt
What I do is get the corn meal add the salt as I like and add the water a bit at a time so I can mix it and and not add too much. When I have a nice smooth dough, I start forming them into patties. Some Venezuelans like them fat, others flatter and bigger depending on the region.
Remember, you can always add more water. I also use a bowl with water to wet my hands to make it easier to make the patties.
On a fry pan, I place my arepas to create a skin so they don't stick in the oven. Heat oven at 350 degrees F, put in your arepas and when they sound hollow they are ready to take out and filled them with meats, chicken, beans and cheese, cheeses or eggs, ham. My kid sometimes just like them with butter.

Jota said...

Chef John:

This is an interesting can of worms to open. I am willing to bet that between Colombia and Venezuela there are more than 100 different types of arepa, some of which cannot be made with the Harina PAN (yep, that's how we call it in Colombia). As you mention in the Imusa machine video, cracked edges indicate you need more liquid. Finally, you are forming the arepa in the traditional manner; lots of people now prefer the method indicated in a prior comment, where you put your dough ball in between two sheets of plastic and flatten with something flat to the right thickness.