During isolation and coronavirus, I decided that I wanted to do something fun and creative with my family. We decided to “Cook Around the World”! The first country we chose was Venezuela and we decided to make traditional arepas filled with a chicken and avocado mixture called Reina Pepiada.
Cooking Around the World has been a really cool way to not only include my young boys in cooking and trying new flavors, but also in exploring different cultures and creating communication about different ethnicities as well as teaching about geography.
This recipe creates a perfectly flavorful, crispy, fluffy-on-the-inside arepa! A part of me loves sweet dough, so next time I might take a non-traditional turn and add a little but of sugar!
This recipe requires 30 minutes, 1 bowl, and just 3 ingredients: salt, water (which we don’t count as an ingredient), oil for cooking, and areparina or masarepa, which is a special pre-cooked corn flour specifically for making arepas.
I wanted to try it with corn meal (because I had it on hand) or Masa Harina because it was at my local grocer. However, every single recipe I read said to not do that, and I trusted that they had tried it themselves, so I learned from their mistakes and ordered Masarepa from Amazon.
The wait was grueling, but once it arrived, we were so ready to jump in!
My oldest son, Sutton, is five years old and he decided to help me with this recipe! He eventually made a little man out of the dough and loved helping to mix it with his hands.
We saw many recipes where they would bake, sear or deep fry the Arepas, so we decided to sear and deep fry ours!
Once they were finished cooking and we’re still warm, I tasted them and was reminded of a fluffy corn cake! Oftentimes in Venezuela, Arepas are used as a medium to hold other ingredients – Pork, chicken and even fish. We chose a traditional Reina Pepiada recipe which was made with avocado, chicken, mayonnaise, cilantro, jalapeño and many other flavorful ingredients.
After we ate our Reina Pepiada Arepas, we ended up eating the rest with a little bit of honey and butter on top – and it was heavenly!
I hope you take some time with your family to try this recipe and enjoy the different flavors and cultures of our world!
Reina Pepiada (Chicken and Avocado)
For The Arepas
- 2 cups Arepa Flour (pre-cooked cornmeal)
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 1/4 cups warm water
- Canola oil or butter for baking
For the Reina Pepiada
- 1 Rotisserie Chicken
- 2 Haas Avocados, peeled, pitted, roughly mashed
- 3-4 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
- 3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
- 2 tsp finely minced garlic (2 medium cloves)
- 1/2 tsp salt or more, to taste
- fresh ground black pepper
1. Mix arepa flour and salt. Slowly add warm water and knead to form a dough ball (or use your Kitchenaid mixer). Rest dough for about 5 minutes.
2. Divide dough into 6-8 pieces, roll into a ball in the palm of hands. Flatten dough to form a disk about 1/2 inch thick.
3. Heat Griddle or cast iron skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Add arepas and cook for about 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. You can cover them in oil to deep fry for best flavor or do a thin layer of oil for something a little more healthy.
4. Take Arepas out of pan and put it on a plate with a paper towel before stuffing.
In a medium bowl mix the mashed avocado with mayonnaise and lime juice.
Add the rest of the ingredients: chicken, bell pepper, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and garlic.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and store in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
Add Reina Pepiada mixture to Arepas and serve!