Arepas 2.0

image (11)I like to look at my site statistics from time to time. My absolute favorite is seeing what Google searches people use to get to the blog. My top two favorite searches are:

1. Demon pig

2. Pig excited about funnel cake

But the most popular searches are some variation on “Puerto Rican arepas recipe.” When I was searching out recipes, I had a really difficult time finding Puerto Rican specific recipes and so I’m glad that I might be able to help others find what they’re looking for. But, it also shows me that I should get back to testing recipes so I can find a perfect recipe. So here is my second attempt.

I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go after my first attempt. If you haven’t read it, you can find it here. So I did some searching and I found an email my dad sent me in 2010. So you can see, I’ve been thinking about this for a looooong time. This recipe is almost totally different from what I did before, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

The pocket!!

The pocket!!

Here are the pros: I got the arepas to puff up and have pockets. They were so easy to stuff with rice and beans! Ryan actually deserves all the credit for the pockets existing. I was kneading the dough into the shape I wanted them to be and then frying them. My way, the dough was coming out like deep-fried bread rolls and were completely thick and dense in the inside. Ryan suggested I use less dough then use a rolling pin to shape the dough to the diameter I wanted (about the size of my hand). Then when we put it into the fryer they puffed up to exactly the size I wanted and I squealed with glee. So now I want to know, if I had done this the first time and kneaded the dough for longer and into thinner patties, would I have gotten pockets?

The con is that I felt like the consistency was too much like bread. It wasn’t quite the like the fried dough I remembered. I though the my first arepas were closer in texture to my grandmother’s arepa.

Now the problem with doing something totally different is that there are too many variables. What made it be different? Is it the self-rising flour vs all-purpose? Is it the added salt? The milk instead of water? Now I have to go back to the drawing board. I’m thinking arepas 3.0 will be this recipe but with all-purpose flour instead.

Anyway, I think I’m on to something. So for all you Google searchers out there, I hope this is what you’re looking for.

Ingredients

4 cups self-rising flour

1 tbsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp lard/shortening/butter ( I used shortening)

1 cup milk

Directions

1. Put the flour in a large bowl. Add salt and baking soda. Mix

2. Cut the lard/shortening/butter into the dry ingredients.

3. Make a hole in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the milk.

4. Mix until everything is incorporated and you have dough that has the consistency of pizza dough. This is hard to do by hand or with a fork so you can also use a mixer with a dough hook set on low.

image (5)

5. Cover the bowl and let sit for 3 hours.

6. Knead the dough for a few minutes (about 3-5).

7. Take a golf ball size ball of dough. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/8″ thick and about 5-6″ wide.

8. Heat about 1″ of oil in a skillet until very hot. Or heat a deep fryer to 350°.

9. Place an arepa in the hot oil until it is golden brown. Then flip it and brown the other side. This takes about 2-3 minutes per side.

Look at that bubble!

Look at that bubble!

10. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel.

11. Serve with rice and beans!

image (10)

2 spoonMessy Level: This is mildly messy. Mixing the dough takes a ton of work and if you do it by hand you are likely to have flour glob all over yourself and your counter. I tried mixing by hand, before I gave up and used the dough hook. I washed my hands of the dough and Ryan looked in the sink and was a little surprised to see yucky, lumpy, white clumps in the sink.  But that’s not so bad. Mostly using a lot of oil can lead to difficult clean up, but largely this is pretty straightforward to make and clean up. I hope you try it!

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