Arepas de Heuvo 02.28.2011

I would be remiss in not telling you about Gledis.  She is a cook in Cartagena and over the course of our time there, we tried a lot of her cooking.  She made the cilantro sauce on our first day, and I spent one morning with her so she could teach me to make arepas.

Arepas are eaten for breakfast in Colombia and Venezuela, and made out of ground corn.  Arepas also can include an egg -- arepas de heuvo -- or other ingredients.  I wanted to learn how to make arepas de heuvo because, well, they are divine.

Arepas are fried -- twice.  There is nothing healthy about this dish, except that you have a deep sense of satisfaction after you eat it.  When I eat arepas de heuvo, I splash a little hot sauce on top.

Okay, so here are arepas de heuvo, step-by-step.  While you are whipping up the dough and making other preparations, also have a medium-sized pot of oil on the stove.  The arepas are going to be fired and will need room to float and fluff up.  The oil should be at a boil, but not furious.

Take about two cups corn flour and combine with a little water until doughy.

Chop a small red onion and a tomato and combine with salt and pepper.  This mixture will be spooned into each arepa.

 Let the dough sit for a few minutes and check to see if it the texture is still doughy, not sticky. 

Fry up the onions and tomatoes in a little bit of oil and stir.

Work the dough again with your hands.

Pull some of the dough and roll into a ball.  The ball should be little over an inch in diameter.

Put out a plastic bag -- saran wrap will not work -- and put a little oil on it, and spread it around with your hands.

Place the ball of dough on to the plastic surface.

Cover half the plastic sheet over the ball.

Flatten with a cutting board.


Once you have a few of these corn flour discs on hand, begin frying them.  Each arepa should fluff up a bit, creating a dome and some room in between the top and bottom layers.  It doesn't have to be a lot of room -- just enough for you to cut in there later and insert an egg and the onion and tomato mixture. 

Once the arepas have fluffed up, let them sit in a steel colander to drain and cool.

You will fill each arepa individually before frying, so stack up a few before beginning this next step.  Crack each egg into a small measuring cup with a spout.

Then cut a one-to-two-inch slit into the arepa.

Put a teaspoon of the onion and tomato mixture through the cut.

 Pour in the egg.

And back it goes into the bubbling oil.  Some of the egg does pour out.  For the arepas where a significant amount of egg had come out, Gledis put them aside; they did not make the final cut.

 Let the egg-filled arepas drain in the colander, and then they're ready. 

I love arepas with hot sauce, but Gledis made concoction:  a few tablespoons of yogurt or sour cream, and a few teaspoons of zippy salsa.

This is the salsa Gledis used.

This is our breakfast table.  I put the yogurt mixture on top of the arepa, and when I cut into it, the yolk poured out.  Fabulous.  Gledis also made a few arepas with nothing in them, and a few with cheese.

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