Health, Healthy food choices, Healthy lifestyle, Food, Wholefood, Diet, Information, Recipe, Arepas
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Arepas, a traditional food

As someone born in Bogotá, Colombia, the idea of eating arepas for breakfast regularly is a desire that constantly comes and goes. On one hand, it is quite an easy side dish to make if we use the modern process: using pre-cooked corn flour. On the other hand, I am a person who values variety enormously, but I do not have all the utensils and ingredients I need to make the at least 55 types of arepas you can find in Colombia.

What is an arepa?

An arepa is a flat, unleavened bread traditionally made by soaking and pounding dried corn in a large mortar and pestle. The moist pounded dough is then shaped into a golf-sized ball and pressed with the hands. Then it can be either grilled, baked, or fried. These days, most people buy pre-cooked, dehydrated arepa flour that only needs to be mixed with water and salt to form a dough.

Arepas are considered an indispensable side dish in Colombian and Venezuelan cuisines. They can be served plain or with accompaniments such as avocado, cheese, eggs, tomato, or split to make different kinds of sandwiches. The main difference between the two countries is that the Colombian arepa is typically plain while the Venezuelan is normally filled with various ingredients.

Arepas were originally made by an Amerindian group called Timoto-cuicas who lived in the Northern Andes, which today are the territories of Colombia and Venezuela. The indigenous women would chew the corn and put it onto a base until forming a paste that was later cooked in circular forms in ceramic dishes. Afterward, they would crush the corn with two stones until forming a malleable dough and, finally, they would eat them. Arawaks and the Caribes, other Amerindian groups in the region, consumed a form of arepa known as casabe, but made from cassava (yucca).

Health, Healthy food choices, Healthy lifestyle, Food, Wholefood, Diet, Information, Recipe, Arepas

Recipe for plain, savory Colombian arepas:
  • 1 cup of pre-cooked arepa flour (Harina Pan or Doña Arepa**)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda (to make them fluffy)
  • Salt to taste (½ tsp. to 1 tsp.)
  • 3 tsp. of melted fresh butter or ghee + ½ tsp. for cooking in the pan

* The ratio of water to flour is 1:1

** These flours can be bought at www.amazon.de

Health, Healthy food choices, Healthy lifestyle, Food, Wholefood, Diet, Information, Recipe, Arepas

Instructions
  1. Add to a large mixing bowl the flour, ½ tsp. of salt, 1 tsp. baking soda and 2 tbsp. of melted fresh butter or ghee.
  2. A little at a time, add the cup of water and stir with your hands until you obtain a malleable and moist dough that can be rolled into a big ball without easily sticking to your hands.
  3. Taste the dough to check the salt.
  4. Take the dough and roll it to make golf-sized balls.
  5. Carefully press each ball between the palms of your hands to form a 1 cm thick circular pancake.
  6. If the edges crack, close them by gently patting along them.
  7. Once the arepas are formed, heat a pan with the ½ tsp. butter for cooking and add the arepas.
  8. Cook until deep golden brown on both sides.

Health, Healthy food choices, Healthy lifestyle, Food, Wholefood, Diet, Information, Recipe, Arepas

Like all of you, I am a unique individual with particular needs that I have learned to listen to and that I have really acknowledged over the last 8 years. I’ve learned to focus on my energy levels, to observe my body’s reactions to food, situations and emotions, and to respond to them accordingly. I have learned to put myself beyond everything and to get to know myself for who I am, Tatiana. It has been a very constructive and arduous journey and one that has taught me to be patient and to give each change or modification time to take effect. This brief introduction is to tell you why I developed a deep interest in holistic nutrition due to many circumstances in my life.

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