Monday 18 November 2013

Arepas, a weekend and random links

A large bag of masa lista has sat on my bench for simply ages.  It is the first time I have purchased it.  I tried tamales.  They weren't quite right.  I didn't feel any love for that giant bag of flour.  Yet it is taking up valuable real estate.  So it is a relief to find an easy recipe using the masa lista.  I followed Janet's example and made these excellent Arepas recently. 

I made them two Saturdays ago after I finally had a Saturday free to go to Coburg Farmers Market again after a busy October.  We bought lots of nice fruit and vegies and lots of interesting foods.  After we had filled our recyclable bags, I noticed a table of pens and glue and sequins.  Craft!  We went over and Sylvia made an elephant mask.  I was sorry to hear this was the last week of the craft table.

We went home and had a lovely farmers market lunch.  Pan-fried asparagus, fermented beetroot and Milawa white cheese on homemade sourdough bread.  You might have expected that I would have used all the fresh produce for dinner.  I had leftover Mexican rice in the fridge and little energy for fancy food.  It was a great opportunity to try out some arepas.

Arepas are embarrassingly easy.  You would think I might have tried them before.  Given that I have that huge bag of masa lista (which I hear is quite like masa harina).  It was just a matter of mixing masa lista with water and salt, shaping into patties and frying.  I skipped the part where Janet cooked hers in the oven at the end.  I decided it wasn't worth it in my slow oven.  I am unsure if this makes a huge difference.

For the initiated, masa lista is a very fine corn flour that is treated with lime and used for making tortillas or arepas because it binds well into a dough.  (According to this post, masa lista is made from white corn and masa harina is made from yellow corn.)  I am yet to find masa harina in Melbourne.  I can tell you that masa lista works well for arepas.

The arepas were delicious.  Crisp on the outside and soft inside, they reminded me a little of Scottish potato scones that we make from time to time.  E and I loved them.  They were great with Mexican rice, tofu bacon, diced cheese and steamed broccoli.  Sylvia initially enjoyed them and then decided she only liked the crisp outsides and not the soft insides. 

It was just as well I didn't spend too much energy on dinner.  We had a terrible night with Sylvia's favourite Dolly missing.  It took us until the next evening to find her hiding in a box.  On Sunday we to visit my family in Geelong for my brother's birthday.  Sylvia was delighted with her golden nail polish applied by my sister Fran.

We still had leftover Mexican rice when we got home and I took the opportunity to try my hand at tortillas with the masa lista.  It wasn't quite so straight forward.  I am still experimenting with corn tortillas and once I am happy with them I will share more.  Meanwhile, it is good to know I can make these arepas with ease.  I will make my way through the masa lista!

I am sharing these arepas in Ricki Heller's Wellness Weekends.  And now for something totally off topic, I have some Random Quicklinks to share:

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago:
In my kitchen - November 2012
Two years ago: CC Cheesy pumpkin sausages
Three years ago: Butterfly birthday cake
Four years ago: PPN Sausages Pasta, Garden and Global Warming
Five years ago: A cool week of casseroles
Six years ago: Choc Chip Cookies at the Zoo
Venezuelan-Style Mini Arepas
Lightly adapted from The Taste Space
serves 2 to 4

1 cup masa harina (or masa lista)
3/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups boiling water
oil for frying (I used rice bran oil)

Mix masa harina, salt and boiling water until you have a soft dough that feels like playdough.  Leave for 5 to 10 minutes (to make it easier to shape).

Dampen hands and roll handfuls about the size of a golf ball into balls and flatten gently into discs (or arepas).  (I think my hands might have got a little less sticky if I had kept them damp.)

Heat heavy bottomed non-stick frypan over medium high heat.  Pour in about 1-2 tbsp of oil.  Place arepas in the pan and fry for about 8 minutes or until a light golden brown.  Fry another 4 to 5 minutes on the other side or until golden brown.  Serve warm.  Best eaten soon after cooking.

On the Stereo:
Fin de Siecle - The Divine Comedy


  1. YES! Rob loves making arepas because they are so simple. We've baked them anywhere between 5-20 minutes but I am now curious if we could skip that step altogether with the smaller arepas and a longer time in the skillet. I think the baking is meant to bake the middle but I love it more when it is slightly soft and squishy with a firm crust. :)

    1. Thanks Janet - I think I could get into making arepas regularly - esp as I don't always stock tortillas or tacos and something I feel like mexican but want something like that in the meal. I was being a bit lazy with the baking but I find that my oven often lets me down and I don't know if I keep baking for ages to get the effect or just give up. I loved the squishy middle but maybe will try baking them at some stage.

  2. I keep hearing about arepas and yet still don't really grasp what would be like to eat. Your comparison with Scottish potato scones helps! They look beautifully fluffy and I'm glad you found a good use for the flour. I do dislike things that take up space but I don't really want to use!

    1. Thanks Kari - glad you got the potato scone reference - highly recommend you try them if you can stand having masa lista or harina taking up space :-)

  3. I love arepas! They are so simple and yet so perfectly textured and tasty! Plus they can be topped with just about anything.

    1. Thanks Joanne - I must try some different toppings with arepas - Janet has a few good ideas - I love her tofu scramble and arepas - will look out for other ideas

  4. I saw Janet's post about these just recently and thought how much I wanted to try them. I'll have to get some masa harina or masa lista, depending what I can find.
    I'm often the same in that I buy a load of beautiful produce but don't actually crack into it straight away. Sometimes it can be overwhelming deciding where to start!

    1. Thanks Emma - I saw Janet post about them recently too - I am not sure why I could only find masa lista and not masa harina in Australia but have seen some other aussie bloggers with the same experience - would be interested to hear about how you go finding it in the UK.

  5. Arepas are new to me but sound interesting. Another Dolly drama - oh no! I like Sylvia's nail polish too.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - yes a dolly drama - I felt terrible because I couldn't stand losing dolly all over again - once is enough

  6. Interesting. I haven't heard of Arepas but I often make tatie scones. I have a bag of masa harina flour, I've made tortillas but didn't like them so I may give these a go. Thank you

    1. Thanks Marie - if you have a bag of masa harina this could well be a good way to get through it - I am experimenting with tortillas and like this but they are harder than arepas. Good luck.

  7. These are really cool! I had no idea what that flour was so thanks for the low down. The lime makes it sound really yummy. I hear you with the bench space. I'm forever trying to make myself make something so I have more room!

  8. Just yum. Another must try from your lovely blog.


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