The idea for how to make homemade arepas came to me from two different stages of my life: college student, and college professor. Let me tell you the story.
You see, while I was in college I was friends with a girl from Venezuela who introduced me to her arepas recipe. We used to hang out at her apartment, or mine and we would cook foods from our countries. I fell in love with arepas and their versatility.
The second source for inspiration came from an old student, Sherette, from Trinidad and Tobago, who now works in the family's food delivery business called Mixes and Medleys. They make delicious looking salads, and other goodies, that I hope to try some day. Right away my culinary radar spotted a collaborative opportunity, and she was on board. But, there were some product delivery logistics that needed to be worked out.
It just so happened that Sherette was traveling from Trinidad to DC for a wedding, and there she would join up with some of her old college friends. One of these girls lives two hours away from me! How convenient.
Now to get the goods!
To make a long story short, I met up with my student's friend at a halfway point (an outlet mall) and she handed me the goods. We both laughed at how this was accomplished. The technological power of communication in the 21st century is amazing.
Anyhow, now that you know all about the inspiration for this recipe, let me tell you a little bit about it.
What are arepas?
Arepas, made with white cornmeal, are very popular in South America. There are different styles throughout the different countries. In Venezuela for example arepas rellenas (stuffed arepas) are very popular, and that is what I am making today. I am actually marinating the chicken in the tangy and divine mustard dressing that Sherette sent me. This is her mom's recipe, and it is outstanding.
Once you learn how to make arepas, the possibilities are endless. Watch my short video and you will become an expert at rolling out arepas!
Sherette and her family are so excited that their product is going to be featured on my blog, and I am thrilled I can use her family's dressing in one of my recipes. I can't wait to try the other sauces she sent. Stay tuned.
If you love Latin food then you have to try some of my all time favorite dishes or bookmark them for later. Here are some of the most popular ethnic dishes, their history and ingredients to make at home.
Mexican Pork Carnitas: Make this in the slow cooker and then broil for crispy goodness.
Cuban Ropa Vieja: A true comfort food of slow cooked beef served over rice.
Recaito: This is the very intense cilantro based ingredient used in many Latin soups, stews and black beans.
Sofrito: You need to have this tomato bases ingredient for Latin style beans and shredded chicken.
Latin Style Cuban Black Beans: If you have never tried these you are missing out and they are so easy!
How to Make Homemade Arepas
Homemade arepas are easy to make, and so versatile. You can eat them plain, or stuff them with your favorite filling. They are a typical South American treat.
- 1 ¼ lb chicken breast
- ¾ cup Mixes and Medleys mustard salad dressing
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- ⅓ cup onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 4 Tbsp cilantro chopped
- 1 Tbsp Mixes and Medleys mustard salad dressing to add at the end
- 2 ½ Tbsp queso fresco crumbled
To Make Arepas:
In a large bowl mix together arepa flour, and Kosher salt.
Slowly add in the water, mixing with a wooden spoon.
Cover, and let it rest for about 25 minutes.
Start making patties that are about 4" in diameter by ½" thick. You need this thickness so you can split them.
Heat oil in pan (I use a cast iron skillet) to medium heat, and cook until the arepas are brown on both sides.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.
To make chicken:
Poke holes in chicken breast with a fork then place dressing in a large sealable bag, and put the chicken inside. Allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for about one hour
Heat olive oil in non-stick pan on medium, and cook chicken covered, for about 5 minutes on each side. If chicken breasts are thick, you might need to cook longer.
Place chicken on a cutting board, and shred using two forks.
Place shredded chicken back in the same skillet, sprinkle in salt, and stir.
Add onion, garlic, and cilantro and stir to combine. Cook for about 10 minutes on medium, stirring often.
Add dressing and stir.
Slice arepa in half lengthwise. Fill with about 4 oz. of chicken each. Sprinkle with queso fresco and cilantro. Top with other arepa slice, like a sandwich.