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Colombian gastronomy: four typical Colombian arepas

Typical Colombian Arepas

In Colombia there are different types of arepas: soft, spongy and sweet. These have emerged from different parts of the country. Here in Bogotá you can find all the types of Colombian arepas  because it is a multicultural city and some people from outside the capital that have moved to this beautiful city have brought with them their gastronomy including their typical arepa. So, if you want to try all these types of arepa in just one city,  come to Bogotá. In this article, you will find the 4 most common and delicious Colombian arepas and their recipe.

Before starting with the recipes, you’re probably wondering about arepa history and how it became part of our daily  diet. By the way, did you know that their first appearance dates back to the pre-columbian years? Yes I know, it was a long time ago, but if you wanna know more about its history and the generic recipe of the arepa, check it out here “Traditional Colombian Food: The World of Arepas”

Arepa Paisa:

This is the most common arepa in the department of “Antioquia”. The “Paisas” (people that were born in the department of “Antioquia”) usually eat it for breakfast, dinner or  as a side to almost every meal. They also like to spread butter and cheese on top. You can eat it with a cup of Colombian hot chocolate, panela water, Pony Malta, juice or any drink you want.

Ingredients (for 4 people)

  •  1 cup of pre-cooked white or white arepa flour (cornmeal) (The most common arepa flour brands are “P.A.N” and “Doña Arepa”) “Harina para arepas”
  •  1 cup of warm water “Agua”
  • 2 tablespoons of butter “Mantequilla”
  •  Pinch of salt “Sal”

Optional:

  •   1/3 cup of white or mozzarella cheese (grated)

Directions:

  1. Mix the cornmeal, warm water, cheese, one-tablespoon butter and salt. Mix thoroughly till the dough is perfectly mixed and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Knead with your hands for about 3 minutes moistening your hands with water as you do it.
  3. Form 4 small balls with the dough. Place each ball between 2 plastic bags and with a flat dish push the dough down till it is flat.
  4. Add the butter to a nonstick pan over medium heat. Place the arepas in the pan and cook about 3-5 minutes on each side, until a crust forms or they are golden brown.
  5. Spread butter and put the mozzarella on the top of the arepa  (Optional)
  6. Serve and enjoy this traditional arepa paisa.

Approximate Budget:

  • Pre-cooked white or white arepa flour (cornmeal) “Harina para arepas” (1000 gr) : $3,100 COP (1.03 USD)
  • Butter “Mantequilla” (125 GR): $3,500 COP (1.16 USD)
  • Total Budget: $6,600 COP (2.2 USD)

Arepa Boyacense

Typical Colombian Arepas
© Photograph by dosconsentidos.com

This arepa is from Boyacá, a department of Colombia.  It is located in the Andean region of the country. Some people say that it is originated in a municipality call “Ventaquemada” (Click here to find out where it is https://goo.gl/maps/LGga7sxvyZz)  It was traditionally prepared by the peasants with corn that they cultivated. It has curd, a type of cheese that they produced themselves and then they cooked it in stone stoves with firewood. The Arepas Boyacenses are one of my favorite because I like the combination of the sweetness from the sugar and the cheese.

Ingredients (for 4 people)

  • 1 cup (150 g) yellow pre-cooked cornmeal “Harina para hacer arepas”
  • 3 tablespoons of wheat flour  “harina de trigo”
  • 2 ½  tablespoons of grated panela “panela rayada”
  • ¼ tablespoon of salt “sal”
  • 1 cup of hot milk “leche”
  • 1 ¾  cups of cheese “Queso”
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (it has to be melted) “mantequilla sin sal”
  • 1-2 tablespoon of butter (to put into the pan) “mantequilla”

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl mix the pre-cooked cornmeal, wheat flour, grated panela or sugar, and salt.
  2. Add 1 cup of cheese and the melted butter (reserve what remains of the cheese)
  3. Add the hot milk. (the temperature of the milk is important so the panela will be incorporated well)
  4. Knead all the ingredients (the dough should be soft and moist, not dry, if it is dry, add more milk)
  5. Make 4 small balls with the dough
  6. Make like a nest in the center of each ball
  7. Put 2 tablespoons of grated cheese in each ball
  8. Close the “nest” and make the circular shape again
  9. With your hands, flatten the arepas (the arepas should not be too thick or too thin
  10. Add the butter to a nonstick pan over medium heat. Place the arepas in the pan and cook about 3-5 minutes on each side, until a crust forms or they are golden brown.

Approximate Budget:

  • Pre-cooked white or white arepa flour (cornmeal) “Harina para arepas” (1000 gr) : $3,100 COP (1.03 USD)
  • Wheat flour  “harina de trigo” (500 gr): $1,800 COP (0.6 USD)
  • Grated panela “panela pulverizada”: $3,000COP (0.98 USD)
  • Milk “leche” (1L): $3,800 COP (1.2 USD)
  • Cheese “Queso campesino” (250 gr): $5,500 COP (1.8 USD)
  • Unsalted butter “Mantequilla sin sal” (125 GR): $3,800 COP (1.2 USD)
  • Butter “Mantequilla” (125 GR): $3,500 COP (1.16 USD)
  • Total Budget: $24,500 COP (8,2 USD)

Arepa de Choclo

Typical Colombian Arepas
© Photograph by recetapordia.es

These traditional and popular arepas are from the Andean region of Colombia. They are absolutely delicious and one of my favorites because they taste sweet, and are crunchy and chewy at the same time. The recipe above is not 100% authentic because this has yellow pre-cooked cornmeal (the original one only has the corn kernels) but trust me that it is quite similar to the original  and you’ll probably love it.

Ingredients (for 4 people):

  • 1 cup corn kernels “granos de maiz dulce”
  • 1 cup yellow pre-cooked cornmeal “Harina para hacer arepas”
  • ¼ cup unbleached wheat flour “Harina de trigo tradicional”
  • ⅓ cup of sugar “Azúcar”
  • ¼ tablespoons salt “Sal”
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella “Queso Mozzarella rayado”
  • 1 ½ cup milk “Leche”
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter  “Mantequilla sin sal”

Optional for serving:

  • Cheese “Queso campesino”

Directions:

  1. Grind the frozen corn kernels in a food processor until they are mostly fine. (If you don’t want any chunks, you can grind the kernels until completely fine)
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the ground corn, yellow pre-cooked cornmeal, sugar, wheat flour, salt and the grated mozzarella.
  3. In another bowl add 1 and ½ cups of hot milk and the 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (it should be melted)
  4. Add the hot milk and the melted butter into the first bowl. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until there are no lumps. After a few minutes, you will notice that the liquid is absorbed by the pre-cooked cornmeal.
  5. Add the butter to a nonstick pan over medium heat, ladle about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet, to make an arepa. Cook about 3-5 minutes on each side, until a crust forms or they are golden brown.
  6. Serve with butter and white cheese on top.

Approximate Budget:

  • Corn kernels “granos de maiz dulce” (500 gr):  $1,100 COP (0.37 USD)
  • Unbleached wheat flour “Harina de trigo tradicional” (1 lb):  $1,300 COP (0.43USD)
  • Yellow pre-cooked cornmeal “Harina para hacer arepas amarilla” (500 gr) : $1,900 COP (0.62 USD)
  • Sugar “Azúcar (1000 gr)”:$2,200 COP (0.73 USD)
  • Milk “leche” (1L): $3,800 COP (1.2 USD)
  • Mozzarella “Queso Mozzarella” (250 gr)  $6,300 COP (2.1USD)
  • Unsalted butter “Mantequilla sin sal” (125 GR): $3,800 COP (1.2 USD)
  • Total Budget: $20,400 COP (6.78USD)

Arepa de huevo

Typical Colombian Arepas
© Photograph by colombia.com

This arepa is typical dish from the Caribbean region of Colombia, if you visit one of the cities or villages that are part of this region, you will notice that they sell “Arepa de huevo” on street stalls or almost on every corner. These arepas are served in Colombian homes with breakfast, dinner or whenever you want it. They are made with pre-cooked cornmeal and filled with eggs then fried.

Ingredients (for 4 people):

  • 1 cup of yellow pre-cooked cornmeal “harina para hacer arepas, maiz amarillo”
  • ½ teaspoon of salt “sal”
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar “azúcar”
  • 1  cup of hot water “agua”
  • 4 eggs “huevos”
  • 1 liter of vegetable oil for frying “aceite para freir”

Directions:

  1. Place in a medium bowl the pre-cooked cornmeal, salt, sugar. Add the hot water and knead with your hands till it makes a soft and workable  batter. Let it sit for 5 minutes
  2. Divide the mixture into 4 equal size balls. You can place each ball between 2 plastic bags and with a flat dish push the dough till it is flat. Or you can flatten the arepas with your hands. (The arepas should not be too thick or too thin (½ cm thick approximately)
  3. Take a big pot over medium heat and add the liter of vegetable oil. Bring it to boil and add the arepas one by one (they should rise to the surface and sponge) fry for 3 minutes, flip each one once.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the arepas from the oil and drain on paper towels.
  5. When the arepa is cold enough to handle, take a knife and carefully make a 3 cm lateral opening to introduce the raw whole egg, press it a litte with your fingers and put it back to the oil not so hot for the egg to cook for 4 minutes.
  6. With a slotted spoon, remove the arepas from the oil and drain on paper towel and serve immediately.
  7. While you eat them you can put a little bit of salt.

Approximate Budget:

  • Yellow pre-cooked cornmeal “Harina para hacer arepas amarilla” (500 gr) : $1,900 COP (0.62 USD)
  • Eggs “huevos” (4 eggs) : $1,600 COP (0.53 USD)
  • Vegetable oil for frying “aceite vegetal”  : $6,800 COP (2.27 USD)
  • Total Budget: $10,300 COP (3.4 USD)

General Tips:

Where to buy all the ingredients?

You can buy all of these ingredients in almost every grocery store (see “Bogotá’s Five Most Popular Supermarkets & Grocery Stores”) to where you are staying, small neighborhood stores or bigger markets such as “Exito”, “Jumbo”, “Carulla”, “Surtimax”, etc.

If you don’t want to prepare them yourself, you can eat them at:

Arepa paisa:

Restaurante Bar La Arepita de Medellin: Calle 39#21-75

La arepita paisa: Carrera 69b#98-33

El carriel: Transversal 73a #82-19

Arepa de huevo:

Sierva Maria: Carrera 8º #12B-26

“Monocuco, Las aguas”: Carrera 4 con 15 diagonal to “Juan Valdez”

“El recreo de los tomasinos” Carrera 9# 51-24

“Narcobollo”: Carrera 20#116-14

Arepas de choclo:

 Choco Rola Arepas de Chocolo: Carrera 58#128b-85

Andres carne de res: Calle 82 # 12-21  Calle 82 No 12-21

El tambor: Autopista Norte # 224-60/ La calera km 12 via Bogotá (https://goo.gl/maps/UmA2pSAbHDt)

Arepas Boyacense:

Probocaitos: Calle 76#16A-17

Arepas la tunjana: Calle 57 #15A-24

The typical flour for making arepas are:

  • P.A.N, if you want to learn more recipe visit their site: www.pancorn.com
  • Doña Arepa, if you want to learn more recipes visit:  https://donarepa.com/recetas/

Don’t give up! If is your first time making any of these recipes and it goes wrong, don’t worry you can try it again with the ingredients that are left!.

Would you like to try more recipes, try Arepa de yuca!

I chose these 4 recipes because they are the most common, popular and delicious arepas in Colombia that you can prepare easily in Bogotá. Thank you for reading and remember to comment below if you prepare any of these tasty arepas and share it if you like it. Continue exploring our amazing city and follow us on Facebook & Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter.

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