How To Make Arepas With Corn Flour
The arepa is without a doubt one of the most typical and popular dishes in Venezuela, making it ideal for an energetic and delicious breakfast or a simple family dinner. The classic version is made with corn flour and then filled with a huge amount of options that make it a suitable choice for all tastes, budgets and requirements. Would you like to enjoy a tasty Venezuelan arepa but aren't sure where to start? At oneHOWTO we'll explain how to make Arepas with corn flour in detail.
The traditional arepas recipe only requires corn flour, water and salt, so in addition to being delicious they do not contain gluten and so are perfect for people with celiac disease. However, if you want to get a much smoother and tastier dough, you can add a little milk and a teaspoon of butter to the mix. Your arepas will be simply delicious.
It is important to note that the corn flour we use is not the same as cornstarch, which is sometimes also called ‘cornflour’. Cornstarch is a very fine flour most often used as a thickening agent for sauces and stews, etc. The corn flour used for arepas is also known as maize flour and is made from ground cornmeal, although not as fine ground as cornstarch. Specifically, it is called masa flour as it has undergone the process of nixtamalization. Make sure you buy the right kind as cornstarch will not be coarse enough to make arepas.
The arepa dough should always be soft and easy to shape. If it is hard then the end result will also be hard, which will make it difficult to enjoy and digest them.
To keep your arepas soft and delicious, start by mixing a half cup of warm water with a half cup of whole milk, skimmed milk or lactose-free milk (whichever you prefer). Add a teaspoon of salt and stir. If you want to, you can make it without milk and instead use two cups of water.
Add butter if you want to give the dough some more flavor. Then start gradually adding the corn flour while mixing it by hand. Do not put it all in at once or you run the risk of the dough becoming very tough.
Stop adding the flour when the dough is compact but still soft and easy to shape. If you feel that it has become too hard, just add a little more liquid.
Turn the oven to 250°C (482°F) to preheat it and place a non-stick skillet over medium heat at the same time so that it warms up. Add a splash of oil for an even cook, but you do not need to use a lot since we will be finishing them in the oven.
Now it's time to make arepas. Make balls with the dough and then flatten them gently to form a sort of round bread, about the thickness of a finger. The size of the arepa is basically however you want to cook them.
Place the arepas in the pan on medium heat in order to brown and seal them. It is important not to make it too hot as they might burn on the outside and remain raw on the inside.
Once golden brown and sealed, put them in the oven for 5 minutes on each side. Although many people skip this step and only do them in the pan, this final touch allows the arepas to become crispy on the outside but soft and cooked on the inside.
When your arepas are browned on the outside, they're ready to be eaten. Now you just need to open them and fill them with whatever you want: ham and cheese, chicken, beef, etc. There is a long list of delicious possibilities to make a delicious and very complete meal. Bon appetite!
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