Arepa

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Arepa
250px
Arepas on a street stall
Origin
Place of origin Colombia, Panama, Venezuela
Region or state Northern South America
Creator(s) Timoto-Cuica people
Details
Course served Breakfast
Main ingredient(s) corn flour (maize meal or flour)

Arepa (Spanish pronunciation: [aˈɾepa]) is a type of food made of ground maize dough or cooked flour prominent in the cuisine of Colombia and Venezuela.[1][2]

It is eaten daily in those countries and can be served with accompaniments such as cheese (cuajada), avocado, or split to make sandwiches. Sizes, maize types, and added ingredients vary its preparation. Arepas can also be found in Panama, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and the Canary Islands.[3][better source needed] It is similar in shape to the Mexican gordita and the Salvadoran pupusa.

Characteristics

The arepa is a flat, round, unleavened patty of soaked, ground kernels of maize, or—more frequently nowadays—maize meal or maize flour that can be grilled, baked, fried, boiled or steamed. The characteristics vary by color, flavor, size, and the food with which it may be stuffed, depending on the region. It can be topped or filled with meat, eggs, tomatoes, salad, cheese, shrimp, or fish depending on the meal.

Production

The flour is mixed with water and salt, and occasionally oil, butter, eggs, and/or milk. Because the flour is already cooked, the blend forms into patties easily. After being kneaded and formed, the patties are fried, grilled, or baked. This production of maize is unusual for not using the nixtamalization (alkali cooking process) to remove the pericarp of the kernels. This makes arepa flour different from masa flour, which is used to make tortillas.[4]

Arepa flour is specially prepared (cooked in water, then dried) for making arepas and other maize dough-based dishes, such as hallacas, bollos, tamales, empanadas and chicha. The flour may be called masarepa, masa de arepa, masa al instante, or harina precocida. The most popular brand names of maize flour are Harina PAN, Harina Juana, and Goya in Venezuela, Areparina in Colombia.[4]

Regional Varieties

Colombia

File:Barranquilla arepas asadas.jpg
Street vendor selling grilled arepas on bijao leaves in Barranquilla.

The arepa is an iconic food in Colombia, with some 75 distinct forms of preparation. According to a study conducted by the Colombian Academia of Gastronomy, "The arepa is part of our cultural heritage and can be considered a symbol of national gastronomic unity."[5]

In 2006, the arepa was named the cultural symbol of Colombia in a competition organized by Semana magazine with support from Caracol TV, the Minister of Culture and Colombia is Passion.[5]

In the Paisa Region, the arepa is especially important to the local people and accompanies all meals of the day. In addition, arepas are strung into necklaces and placed around the necks of honored dignitaries as a sign of praise.[5]

In Colombia, the arepa is sold on a commercial level in neighborhood stores, chain supermarkets and market plazas and packaged with preservatives as a pre-molded white or yellow corn dough that is ready to grill or fry at home.[6] It is also sold in the form of industrialized corn flour that requires hydration before preparation.[7] In addition, arepas are sold by street vendors, in cafeterias, and in neighborhood stores. Restaurants of the Paisa Region, offer a wide variety of arepas including a unique style of stuffed arepa that can be filled with eggs, meat or cheese.[8]

The Colombian Arepa Festival is celebrated in the following five major cities: Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla, and Bucaramanga. According to the program calendar, each city takes turns organizing the festival between the months of August and December.[9]

See also

References

  1. "Arepas". whats4eats. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  2. "Arepas". picapica. Retrieved 16 September 2016. 
  3. Lopez, Adriana. "Bringing the Arepa to the World". Picapica. Retrieved February 22, 2015. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Blazes, Marian. "Masarepa - Precooked Corn Flour for Making Arepas". About Food. Retrieved July 8, 2015. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Revista Semana. "La arepa". Retrieved 11 January 2011. 
  6. Gamba, Raúl Ricardo; Caro, Carlos Andrés; Martínez, Olga Lucía; Moretti, Ana Florencia; Giannuzzi, Leda; De Antoni, Graciela Liliana; Peláez, Angela León (17 October 2016). "Antifungal effect of kefir fermented milk and shelf life improvement of corn arepas". 235: 85–92. 
  7. Hernandez, Blanca; Guerra, Marisa; Rivers, Francisco (1999). "Obtención y caracterización de harinas compuestas de endospermo–germen de maíz y su uso en la preparación de arepas". 19 (2): 194–198. ISSN 0101-2061. 
  8. Winchester, Elizabeth (2014-09-26). "What's Cooking?". Time for Kids (Grades 5-6). Vol. 5 no. 3. p. 7. 
  9. El festival de la arepa colombiana

Further reading