Arepas, our blog is named after them, yet they are among the topics we discuss and experiment with the least, and it is a real shame, because arepas they are glorious.
As I mentioned in my previous post, during our recent trip, I was rediscovering the wonderful tastes from “the beautiful country of Colombia”. This trip reminded me of why arepas are so wonderful, and more importantly, what a good one should taste like.
They are also everywhere.
Whether you like to make them from scratch or just pop them into the oven just before you eat them at your own home.
Or, you like them deep fried and filled with an egg (Arepas de Huevo)
Or, we even discovered gourmet arepas, which quickly became my favorite way to eat them, as it resolved the issue I always had with them… that they can be a bit dry and carb-full.
The idea is brilliant! Load up a very sturdy and tasty base with mounds of goodness and devour before it get soggy and falls apart. Done, sold, I am convinced and I need to replicate this.
Unfortunately, it is not that easy to replicate here in London. Pre-cooked corn flour is not so readily available, cornmeal does not work as a substitute. Trust me, I tried, and it does not work. The only option really is to find a specialist retailer… or a pan-latin restaurant (Las Iguanas, who knew!?)!
And so, I set off yesterday morning to make a nice batch of arepas (or a couple batches), so that we would enjoy the first few for brunch and then freeze the rest for any other arepa cravings we might have.
This was not the first time I made arepas, every time I failed for one reason or another to make tasty, lightly crisp on the outside, soft and moist on the inside arepas, until this recipe. Very straight forward, BUT contained cheese, 2 types of it. As soon as I saw it I had to give it a try, giving it my own little spin.
They turned out creamy, delicious and so addictive.
After enjoying a couple, I couldn’t stop there, I wanted to go all out and recreate my own version of a gourmet arepa! Enjoy 🙂
Shredded Chicken and Peach Salsa Arepas
Arepas (makes around 24)
- 2 cups arepa flour (precooked cornmeal)
- 1 cup kwark (British fat-free probiotic creamy cheese) or creamed ricotta
- 1 cup grated mozzarela
- 2 1/2 cups water
- vegetable oil
- 1 precooked chicken breast (or salmon)
- 2 peaches diced
- 8 cherry tomatoes quartered
- 2 spring onions finely chopped
- 1 chili finely chopped
- 2 limes’ juice
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper
- In a large bowl, combine all the arepa ingredients, until the dough comes together into a soft ball. Let stand for a couple of minutes, the dough will absorb much of the moisture.
- Form the dough into golf sized balls onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper, to avoid sticking.
- Heat a large frying pan with 1 tbsp vegetable oil on medium heat. While the pan is heating, start to press your dough balls into thin flat disks (about 1/4 inch thick). You should be able to fit about 3-4 arepas per batch on your pan, cooking them about 8-10 mins total, until they are golden brown in patches. Remove from pan and drain on kitchen paper towels to remove excess grease.
- While your arepas are cooking, prepare the peach and tomato salsa. In a bowl combine the peaches, tomatoes, spring onion, chili, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Chill in the fridge, to let the flavours combine, until ready to eat.
- When ready to eat, put 4 hot arepas on a serving plate, top with a small handful of shredded chicken and finally gently put 1 tablespoon of peach and tomato salsa. Eat immediately!