What Are Arepas Colombianas

Many people ask me what are arepas Colombianas?  If you are Colombian, the word “arepa” was probably one that you grew up hearing in your home.  In short, an arepa is one of the most popular of Colombian foods.

There are many different versions of arepas all throughout South America but let’s take a little time to talk about arepas Colombianas.

First, a bit of history on this Colombian staple food.  One of the most abundant food sources in South America is corn. Arepas have their roots in the days of the indigenous people of South America.  The Timito-cuicas Indians can be credited with creating what we know today as arepas.  They used corn and Yucca to make it.

Then the Spanish came along and they took this food from the Venezuelan Andes and helped to introduce it to the rest of South America.  When the Spanish arrived, so too did ingredients not typical in indigenous South America which we will get into later.

What Are Arepas Colombianas Made Of


Arepas Colombianas

The great thing about Colombian arepas is that there is such a wide variety of them but the basic formula remains the same.

Arepas can be considered a bread food but sort of like a Pita pocket, they are stuffed with all kinds of delicious ingredients. The bread itself is usually made of corn and one of the most common ingredients placed inside an arepa is egg.  The Colombian Arepa is usually topped with cheese, butter or even condensed milk.

Arepas Colombianas can be fried or grilled.  They are usually eaten for breakfast but like Mexican tortillas, are usually included in one capacity or another throughout the meals of the day.

Other varieties include the arepa rellena which can include ham, grilled chicken shrimp and more, the arepa de arroz which is made with rice as opposed to some type of corn product and the arepa Antioqueña like the one we eat with the famous Bandeja Paisa which is made without salt and tends to be smaller for the purpose of being eaten with Colombian soups.

Arepas Recipe

Your basic arepas Colobianas can be cooked using pre-made cornmeal, some flour, sugar and Colombian cheese.

1-You will have to knead the cornmeal, flour, sugar and butter with milk for about 3 minutes until the whole deal is malleable and blended well.

2-Round the mixture into about a dozen balls and place the balls between 2 sheets of butcher paper and flatten them with your hands.

3-Place the cheese between to flattened pieces of dough that you have created and use your hands to gently seal the fringes.

4-Now it’s time to grill your arepas.  You will want to use a non-stick pan, butter and place the arepas over medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side.  There should be a light crust that forms and the resulting color should be a golden brown.

How You Can Enjoy Arepas

There is really no one way to enjoy arepas.  The great thing about this food is that it can be made custom which is why the recipe will vary from Colombian home to Colombian home.

In our home we eat arepas for breakfast with cheese and chocolate, at lunch with soups and at dinner time with meats and even tuna.  They are so versatile and tasty that there are special restaurants throughout Colombia that serve “Arepas con Todo” or arepas with everything like “J & C Delicias”.

You can enjoy them for breakfast with hot chocolate; you can make a meal of them by filling them with your favorite meats and vegetables or keep it basic and use it as a bread to sop up the flavors of other great Colombian foods.  Keep an open mind and enjoy!

About Brandon Gonzo

I grew up in Los Angeles, privileged by the hard work of my single Latino mother. While most of my peers were still wondering what they wanted to do, I was fortunate and foolish enough to know with certainty I wanted to write, and there was little anyone else could do or say to try and divert me.
I am as passionate about turning words into prose as I was when I was first stunned by the literary fluency of authors like Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson.

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