Anyone can be "the family chef". You just need good recipes and techniques! Chef Amy Fothergill shares her best recipes with you for quick and easy dishes with an emphasis on gluten-free.

Get information here about her cookbook, The Warm Kitchen: Gluten-Free Recipes Anyone Can Make and Everyone Will Love.

Friday, September 27, 2013

How to make Arepas

Arepas (ah-ray-pahs) are a corn pocket which can be found on many street corners in Venezuela. I first became familiar with them when I met Adriana Lopez Vermut from Pica Pica Arepa Kitchen at the Gluten-Free Spree in San Francisco in 2009. At the time, she only had a location in Napa's Oxbow Market. Now, there are two other locations in San Francisco (Mission and Castro areas). Click on that link and scroll down to see exact locations. I wrote an article about Pica Pica as well.

She was recently featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. He, like most people, was blown away by Pica Picas' arepas. The flavors of the arepa fillings are really amazing. I believe he deemed them "outrageous", possibly the highest triple D compliment one can receive.

A few years ago she invited me to come to her restaurant to make a special Family Chef recipe for the arepas. I chose a sweet potato and black bean-style chili which went very well with the crunchy on the outside-soft on the inside corn pocket. Watch the video here. I only made arepas once since then and decided recently I needed to try them again; practice makes perfect!

For the filling, I made a crock pot Latin-style chicken and served it with black beans, cilantro, avocado, red onion, and lime. My family loved it (especially the make-your-own part as we each like different fillings). They were delicious!

I'm going to try to make a pabellon style this weekend with a tomato-based skirt steak filling. Yes, I think about my meals 2 days in advance!

Well, here is my tutorial for you. I hope it helps to make you successful!

How to Make Arepas
Note: This is just an overview. For a recipe with amounts, visit Adriana's blog.

1. Make the dough.

2. Make sure it's the right texture.

3. Roll it into a ball first.

4. Shape into a flat circle or puck (watch the video to see a funny interaction with Adriana and I). Move from hand to hand and shape. If the dough is too wet, add more hair a pan. If its too dry, add a little water. It should not crack. Note: I make mine smaller than Adriana's. Base it on your preference.

5. Seal on a griddle with oil just until light brown.

6. Bake in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes. This helps to cook the inside.

7. Serve with your favorite fillings!

I made a crock pot chicken, Latin-style, by adding diced tomatoes, garlic, oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Watch my video here for how I make a regular one.

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