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Monday, November 2, 2009

The versatile Arepa...

If you have not yet discovered arepas, they are truly a wonderful freedom food for the gluten intolerant that is gluten free. The arepa is a flat, unleavened patty made of corn flour that originated in the South Americas.
Arepas are wonderful because you stuff them like a pita of sorts. They are crispy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. And they are quick enough to make these up on a weeknight dinner. At our home they are used for this recipe (stuffed with shrimp and other good things), or as hamburger buns, (it is the most like a real hamburger expereince you will get without the bun!) or for pulled pork BBQ.
The next day, when split and put into a toaster, then slathered with a bit of fig jam, well…you might just think you were eating an English muffin.

You need one special ingredient, but it is easy to find at Mexican grocers, ethic food markets, and well stocked grocers.

Makes about 4 bun-sized arepas (about 4-inches)

  • 2 cups P.A.N. pre-cooked corn meal (also known as corn flour). NOTE: polenta, grits, regular corn meal, or masa harina will not work for this recipe 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 cups warm water
  • 3 tbs oil
In a large Pyrex measure, use warm tap water, and add salt to dissolve. Add oil to the water. Place the corn flour in a large mixing bowl, and begin to add the water mixture slowly while stirring with a fork. Add as much water to the mixture as it will take (it could be 2 cups, or all 3 cups). The mixture will stick together, but not be sticky. It should be a little shiny. You should be able to form patties that stay together, but do not stick to your hands.

On a dry griddle or skillet set to medium, cook on griddle about 10 minutes per side. They should be browned, and sound hollow when tapped when they are done.

Split with a knife and stuff with whatever you like. In this picture we stuffed it with shrimp sautéed with lime juice, a cucumber-radish slaw, and a chipotle sauce.


  1. what stores do you buy P.A.N? This looks so good! Thanks for posting this information.
    Lindsay Rattay

  2. Thanks Lindsay- in the Southwest, stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Sunflower Market usually carry them, although not always depending on the part of the city. Food City does in the Southwest, that is where I buy mine. And also any asian or ethnic markets. Hope that helps!