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Give me all the Colombian homemade arepas! All of them! My grandma taught me to make these Colombian arepas when I was younger. Arepas are made with masarepa (corn dough that has been dried and ground down). The beauty of them is in their simplicity and how they can be paired with just about anything.
When I was growing up, my maternal grandparents didn’t live near us (about a 6 hour car ride away). We would visit them often, and everytime we’d show up, my grandma would immediately begin cooking for us. It was her way of showing love; something I selfishly hope I inherited. The most impressive part was how she’d never use a recipe or wrote anything down. Seriously…her famous pound cake? All measured by feel. MIND. BLOWN.
I treasured sitting at the table watching her in the kitchen, fully immersed in her element. My favorite memory was watching her late one evening making arepas in the dimly lit kitchen for a family lunch the next day. I finally gained enough courage to ask her to if I could help. I got a nod and that was it.
That night, she showed me exactly how much to add, roll and flatten. I watched as she added them to the griddle and marveled at how she wouldn’t use a spatula to flip them. For the record, I do not recommend this technique. Since she passed, I continue making arepas the same way she taught me, knowing each time she’s smiling down on me with pride. 🙂
- Make sure that you are using masarepa (like Pan or Goya) and not masa harina. Masarepa is corn dough that had been cooked and ground and has the consistency of a finer corn meal. Masa harina, on the other hand, is corn flour and is traditionally used to make tortillas, tamales, and a host of other Latin american dishes.
- I love to mix in cheese before I form the arepas. Typically, I use a good melting white cheese like Monterey Jack or Mozzarella. In a pinch I’ve used Swiss or Gouda which give them a nice bit of sharpness.
- Much like a tortilla, arepa’s are great for any time of the day. I make them for breakfast and serve them to my family with some butter or scrambled eggs. I personally love them with a fried egg on top. Yum!
- Feel free to stuff the arepas with literally anything you’d like. Eggs, avocados, shredded chicken, refried beans…more cheese. Honestly the options are endless. I personally love them with a fried egg on top.
Colombian homemade arepas are one of my favorite sides to have on hand. They’re incredibly easy to make and go with just about anything. Give them a try and let me know what you think. Enjoy! 🙂
Colombian Homemade Arepas
- 2½ cups water
- 2 cups masarepa
- 1 tsp salt
- 1½ cups shredded cheese
- butter for grilling
- Pour water into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the masarepa and salt evenly in the water. Mix until combined.
- Add cheese to the arepa dough and mix until combined. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, heat a large skillet over medium heat.
- Once the dough has rested, use your hands to begin forming 12 arepas. To achieve this, grab about a ½ cup of the dough and roll between your hands creating a ball. Then gently pat the dough down with your fingers to create a flat pattie shape. Repeat this process untill all the dough has been formed.
- Grease the pan with butter and gently place an arepa in it. Cook for 5 minutes per side until the arepa starts to brown.
- Once evenly griddled, allow the arepas to cool slightly before adding toppings and serving warm.