One of the main Venezuelan dishes is the arepa, a corn “bread”, done since prehistorical times by the natives, the history of the arepa date from the 800 to 400 b.C, some corn fossils and utensils used to make them has been found.
The original process require dried corn kernels, de hulled, cooked, milled and kneaded, which required a lot of cooking time, however, thanks to the industrial revolution in 1959 a group of visionaries simplified this process with the creation of the precooked corn flour, a product obtained from the corn flakes used for the brewing process.
There is versions of the arepas as homes in Venezuela, there are sweet and savory, empty and filled, this first recipe has the basic arepa dough.
Some of The benefits of the arepas are the high glycemic index, which keeps the blood sugar levels very stable, being a corn product is riched with tocopherols and phytosterols which helps to reduce cholesterol levels in blod, it’s a gluten free or low gluten, depending on the corn flour producers.
It can be found in over 32 countries around the world under the brand P.A.N. made out of two maize varieties yellow or white corn.
1 cup of precooked corn flour
1 1/4 cups of water
1 teaspoon corn oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
In a bowl dissolve the salt into the water.
Gradually add the flour and mix it with the fingers to dissolve any lumps, adding enough to make a soft dough that holds its shape without cracking when molded.
Leave to rest for 5 minutes, then add the oil and work it in with your hands, if needed add more corn flour or water to keep the dough to the proper consistency.
Divide the dough in two portions, shape them into a 4-inch diameter patties, about 1 inch thick. Transfer to a plate.
Lightly oil a large nonstick skillet or griddle and heat over medium heat.
In batches, place the arepas in the griddle. Cook until the underside is golden brown, about 4 minutes, the patties must be loose from the griddle. Turn and brown the other side.
When the arepas are browned, transfer them directly to the oven rack (without any baking sheet) and bake until the surfaces of the arepas have formed a taut skin, when they are done you can tap them with the fingers and hear a hollow sound. Return arepas to the plate and let them cool a little bit.
Serve warm and pick something to fill them like ham or cheese, and enjoy!