Colombian Corn Griddle Cakes
My granny,just like many other grannies in Colombia,would usually get up early in the morning; usually around 5:00 am to grind corn for the Colombian corn griddle cakes (arepas). It’s a tedious task that demands physical labor, but nothing tastes better than a corn griddle cakes made from ground corn!!. Despite the fact that I’ve been living in the Unites States for many years, my breakfast of choice is a good Colombian corn griddle cake (arepa) preferably yellow; with cheese and butter.With the passing of time and with the mass production of many foods you can now find a great variety of corn griddle cakes ( arepas) ready for daily consumption in both groceries and supermarkets alike. For those who prefer to make their own corn griddle cakes at home, but do not wish to cook nor grind their own corn, there are pre -cooked cornmeals such as P.A.N among many others. Colombian breakfast vary throughout its vast and varied land. In Medellin as well as other regions of Colombia the Arepa is the staple of choice at breakfast time.Its been called the “el pan nativo”, the native bread .Colombian corn griddle cakes are super versatile and are often eaten with a variety of toppings such as the typical cheese and butter, hogao, avocado,crackling meat, chorizo, and many more.
The less known arepa de almuerzo (approximately the size of a lime ) is traditionally served with lunch .
The traditional Colombian Arepa – The base of this arepa is the *maíz trillado, either white or yellow which is boiled and then ground in the traditional food mill to later be kneaded and finally converted into an arepa.
The Arepa de Arriero – Very typical of the Antioqueña region is made by adding crackling meat to the dough and then grilled in the traditional manner.
The Arepa de Chocolo it’s base is made of tender chocolo , which is ground and then used to make the arepas.The result is an arepa with a delicate sweet flavor and a soft texture.
The Arepa de Maiz pelao it’s made by soaking the whole kernels , white or yellow ; with a little lye (ashes with hot water ) for 24 hours to remove the bran.It’s then washed, cooked,drained,ground and kneaded.
Nothing symbolizes Colombian cuisine better than our tradicional Arepa !!!
* Corn that has been put thru a threshing machine,an industrial machine ; which removes the bran and splits the corn
1 lb dry corn – yellow or white
7 cups water
2 cups P.A.N pre-cooked cornmeal or any other brand.
2 1/2 cups hot water
Wash the corn under running water.Drain well and and place in a pressure cooker or an Insta Pot.Cover with water.
Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until corn is soft, but firm .If using an Insta Pot follow provided instructions.
Leave over night and let the corn soak up most of the liquid.The next day lightly warm it up and drain whatever remaining liquid there is Don’ throw the water out !!! It makes a wonderful addition to soups.
Once completely drained put the corn thru a food mill to make your masa .
Knead the masa until you have the consistency of play dough, moistening your hand frequently to keep the masa from sticking to your hand. I keep a small bowl of water nearby .
Pour the hot water into a bowl and gradually add the cornmeal .
Knead the masa until you have the consistency of Play Dough , mostining your hand frequently to keep the masa sticking to your hands. I keep a small bowl of water nearby.
Forming the Arepas
Take some of the masa and form a ball , about the size of a baseball. Lightly press a small indentation in the middle of the ball .
Next, start by pressing the edges of the ball while turning it around using your hand as support.Continue doing this until you have flat disk that is 6″ in diameter and 1/8″ thick .
Cook the arepas on top of the stove using an arepa grill or a cast iron saucepan for approximately 3 minutes on each side.
Serve hot topped with butter and Colombian cheese.
Buen provecho !!!