Arepa Reina Pepiada ~ Arepa Sandwich with Chicken and Avocado

Welcome back to Cultural Connections, this month we are going to South America for some arepas. Arepas are a simple bread made from precooked corn flour, and is popular in Columbia, Venezuela, and the rest of Latin America. These corncakes can be thick, thin, stuffed, topped or made into a sandwich. You can find them on the breakfast table in many Colombian homes. I won’t go into the differences of the Colombian and Venezuelan arepas and who was the first to come up with them. I’ll just show you one way to make them.
I have both the white and yellow corn masarepa, supposedly you have to have this flour to make an arepa. I found it in our local grocery store in the Latin foods section. If you can’t find it in your store I’m sure a Latin market will carry it.
Simply mix 2 cups masarepa flour, 3 cups warm water, and a 1/4 tsp salt. Mix until well absorbed and the dough is not sticky, I use my hands for this, you get a better feel of the dough. Let set for 5 – 10 minutes. Wet your hands before you start and form into a ball, then flatten into a patty, about 3″ across and 3/4″ thick, if it cracks add some water to smooth it out. Some recipes call for oil or butter, but I found you really don’t need this.
Place the arepas on a griddle or skillet heated to medium – high heat. Cook on each side 5 -6 minutes until golden crust forms. Take them from pan and place in a 375 degree oven right on the rack, and bake 15-20 minutes, they will sound hollow when tapped.
(I made some small ones for a bento lunch). The arepas Reina Pepiada: The Curvy Queen of Arepas was said to be named after a Venezuelan beauty queen Susana Dujim – she was 1955 Miss World the first time a Venezuelan held the title. For fun you might want to read more about this at Venezuelan food and drinks. This is my version of:

Arepa Reina Pepiada

4 arepas
3/4 cup shredded cooked chicken
1 ripe avocado
1 shallot chopped
1 clove garlic (roasted and chopped)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1-2 tomatillos (roasted and diced – optional of course)
3-4 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
I had some tomatillos so I thought I would use them, of course you can omit this. I roasted them and the garlic while the arepas were cooking/baking.

I put some lemon juice on the avocado slices just so they wouldn’t turn brown. Shred or chop the chicken and cut everything in uniform size pieces, and mix together.

Slice the arepas in half or cut them almost all the way through so you can stuff them.

Fill them as full as you like…

Ahhh…the simple pleasure…enjoy them for breakfast or like we did with these for lunch
Martha (MM)

Looks wonderful! I just love all the cultural foods you try Lyndsey. At first I thought they would be like an English muffin from the look and your description but seeing them sliced open they look much more dense. Great sandwich!