While in New York visiting my cousin this past summer, we frequented a neighbourhood joint in Queens called Que Sabor which served homey Colombian food. It’s not complicated food, but it hits the spot just right. Thus began my current love affair with Colombian food.
For breakfast, we ordered arepas con queso, which are corn meal cakes topped with fresh cheese. Tucked with a nice hot cup of Colombian coffee, I was instantly in love.
Back here at home, I found a website called My Colombian Recipes which had a recipe for Arepa Boyacense. Arepas from Boyacá (a “department” of Colombia, similar to a state or province) are sweet and queso-stuffed, and the recipe is real fun to make.
The dough is really simple to mix, though it’s wise to note that the main ingredient is masarepa, which is different from corn meal in that it is a pre-cooked flour (corn meal, I assume, is not). Kneading the dough feels like playing with play dough. I added a 1/2 cup of processed frozen corn kernels into my batch here, and rolled them into balls. I’m going to try whole kernels next time, to give it more bite.
Next, the balls go under parchment and get pressed with a flat pot lid. Squishing the balls is probably the best part of making arepas!
They then get paired up and stuffed with crumbled queso on the inside – also a fun process.
They go in a frying pan for 3 minutes or so on each side and they are ready to serve!
Mmm… cheese filled middle… I also topped mine with some bacon strips as a lot of arepa menu items come meat topped. Not sure if they do it for Arepa Boyacense, but it works for me! (Side note: if you have a chance, try Colombian bacon/pork belly or chicharrón. It is something else!)
What’s most delightful about arepas is that they can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a snack. So give it a try – anytime of the day!