After having a conversation with one of the moms at my son's school about celiac's disease......I spent some time on the Internet investigating gluten free options. At some point I came across many delicious looking photos of arepas. I had never heard of them before, and they seemed to be so very popular??? They are very popular in Venezuela and Columbia and are a corn based staple bread. I know I have seen the flour required to make these in the grocery store at some point....so my search began, and my interest grew. Yesterday, I accidentally found the corn flour and just had to pick some up to give these a try. I made only a half recipe (right off the package) since I didn't know how well they would keep...or how well they would be liked. I can see from my first experiment this morning that I need to make them a little bit thicker, and I have not yet figured out the baking time in the oven. Even thought they were a little thinner than they should have been...the flavour was nice and since they are quite quick and easy to make...I will most definitely be up to a little more arepa experimentation. Once cooked, the arepas can be filled with almost anything you like. Meat, beans, cheese and eggs seem to be popular choices. If you are on a gluten free diet.....this may be your new favourite bread! We tried them with melted cheese and scrambled eggs.
2 1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
2 cups arepa flour
Mix warm water, and salt. Add P.A.N. pre-cooked corn meal and mix to a stiff dough. Let dough sit 5-10 minutes. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Form into balls and flatten to a thickness of 3/4 inch. Fry in a lightly greased, medium heat pan about 4 minutes per side to get a crisp exterior on each side. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 400F for 10-20 minutes until they sound hollow inside when tapped. Serve while still warm. Split arepa and fill with desired filling.
The dough should not be so wet as to stick to your hands, nor so dry that it cracks at the edges when you form it into a disc. Add a water to dough just by wetting hand while forming the discs or work in more flour as needed.