Arepas are a common breakfast and brunch from South America in both Venezuela and Colombia. Which country originally created it? ….who knows…(although i bet my venezuelan friend, Vrinda would highly object that they are Colombian), either way Arepas are just simply delicious. This recipe is for a popular dish called Reina Pepiada. It is a filling usually made with chicken, avocado and mayo, stuffed in a precooked cornmeal bread that formed like a patty. Arepas can be grilled, pan fried, baked or deep fried. They are pretty similar to the mexican gorditas and can be stuffed with countless fillings. If you looove avocado like I do, this dish will simply overwhelm your taste buds with pure bliss.
4 cups warm water
1 tsp salt
3 cups of Venezuelan harina P.A.N.
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 package of chicken-less strips from Trader Joe’s or any other fake chicken meat (for gluten free; tofu strips, pre grilled, pan or deep fried)
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and chopped
1/2 cup cilantro (aka coriander), finely chopped
4 tbsp of Veganaise or Trader Joe’s eggless mayonnaise
2 tsp of yellow mustard
- Finely shred and chop the chicken-less. Then in a medium heat, saute 1/2 of the minced onions in a pan for 1 minute, add the fake chicken or tofu and quickly stir for 5 minutes on a high flame, add salt, lemon juice and empty into a container, cover and cool in the fridge.
- In a large bowl mix together the water and salt, and slowly add the harina P.A.N. as you mix it together with your fingers. Mix and knead until it forms a soft and fluffy dough. When you can pick up all of the dough in a mass without it sticking to your hands, it’s ready to form the arepas.
- Make a ball with your hands, then gently flatten and form into a patty. You can wet your hands with a little water if the dough is a bit sticky. Heat 4 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Cook the arepas until they release from the pan and are able to be moved. Cook for about 4 minute 30 seconds (or until they are golden on the side) and then flip and cook the other side for another 4 minute 30 seconds.
- Arepas are cooked when you tap them and they sound like a drum. Repeat with the remaining masa until you fill up the pan. When they are all ready, split the arepas in half, then scrape out and discard a bit of the middle.
- Add the remaining chopped onion, avocado, cilantro, Veganaise, and mustard to the chilled fake chicken or tofu. Mix well and check if it needs more salt or lemon. Stuff the arepas with the mixture and enjoy immediately.
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