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Tu Vez Latino Culinary Academy: Arepas


Welcome to the Tu Vez Latino Culinary Academy! We are determined to teach Latino men how to feed themselves without having to go to a drive-through. Will it be an old family recipe? A delicious cocktail? A trade secret? Stay tuned to find out!

Maize was the single most important staple of the pre-Colombian diet. It’s still pretty important. This highly adaptable grain can be used as an ingredient in anything. It’s genetically modified mutant grandson is even in your soda. In South America, maize is ground into flour and formed into corn cakes called arepas. This was what most people in Venezuela and Colombia lived off of for centuries. It too is highly adaptable as you can eat it plain, with butter, cheese, or stuffed with any manner of meat and vegetables. It’s relatively low in fat and carbs so you won’t feel guilty eating it. Arepas can be eaten at any time of the day, but I prefer them hot and fresh in the morning.

Arepas

1 1/2 Cups of arepa flour. This is NOT regular corn flour or masa harina. Arepa flour is precooked. It should say masarepa, masa cocinada, masa al instante, or something similar.

A pinch of sea salt. How much is a pinch? No one knows…

1 1/2 Cup of warm water

2 Tbsp of canola oil

Preheat your oven to 350. In a bowl mix the flour, water, and salt. Stir until it becomes a nice ball of masa. Let it rest for five minutes. You can go to the bathroom now, but make sure and wash your hands. Next, knead the dough for a couple of minutes to add air to the masa. This will provide fluffiness. Make little disks about three inches long and an inch thick. Pour the oil in a pan and grill the arepas lightly on each side until they just start to brown. Put the arepas on a non-stick baking sheet and bake them for about 15 minutes. If you tap them and they make a hollow sound, they are ready. You can spread some butter on them or stuff them with cheese or whatever suits your fancy.

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