Posted by TPS contributor Brandi Bernoskie
A trip to New York City always results in new culinary inspirations for me. My recent one was no different, except that the trip to Smorgasburg meant that my list of things-to-try was longer than usual. The outdoor food market on the waters of the Hudson is a delight for any foodie – there are always new cuisines and sweets and specialties to try. This time, a friend and I indulged in Columbian arepas, and I knew I needed to make them for myself.
The arepa itself is simple, a mix of corn meal, though I decided to make quinoa arepas to add a bit of a challenge. Traditionally they’re topped (if flat) or stuffed (if made into a little patty) with meat, but vegetarians like me can enjoy these as well. Since they’re fried in oil, I decided to keep my toppings light and mostly raw: fresh tomatoes, arugula, mozzarella, and avocado. But they’d also be delicious with sautéed mushrooms or greens, slices of chicken or other meat, or anything else you could imagine. They’re also usually topped with a red and a green hot sauce, though you could leave those out if you’re sensitive to spicy foods.
Makes 6-8 arepas.
1 cup cooked light quinoa
1 cup masarepa (corn meal – white or yellow or a mixture of both)
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
3/4 – 1 cup whole milk or buttermilk
vegetable oil for frying
1. In a mixing bowl, combine cooked quinoa, masarepa, butter, and honey. Slowly mix in the milk with a fork until dough comes together. The dough will be wet but not crumbly. Add more milk if necessary, in small amounts. Knead dough briefly.
2. In a frying pan over medium high heat, add vegetable oil and allow oil to heat. Break off piece of dough, about what would be a 1/3 cup of it, and shape with hands, either into a 1/2-inch thick patty, as you would do for a burger, or ball then flatten, like a thick tortilla. Place your arepa in the frying pan and allow each side to cook until lightly brown and crispy on each side. Be careful when flipping them, so oil does not splatter. Transfer finished arepas to a paper towel to drain excess oil. Serve warm, top with delicious ingredients of your choice and enjoy!
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