Tag Archives: Gluten Free

Recipe: Arepitas Dulces | Arepitas de Anís (Sweet Arepas)

2 Nov

Yes! that’s right… yet another post about Arepas.   By now you know why they are the most Venezuelan dish ever!   But these are different than the Arepas I have blogged about before.   These are sweet arepas… Sweet? You say… YES! Sweet.   They are delicious.   These were sort of a treat when I was growing up.   My mom only made them once in a while.   Of course regular arepas were made… regularly.   But these were special arepas!   She would make them for dinner and serve them with “Queso Blanco”, the same one I’ve been saying is good with Arepas, and Empanadas, and anything else you can think of.   These can be great for breakfast as well, or even as a snack, or pretty much whenever you feel like having one.   Like today, I just felt I had to try to make these myself, because I haven’t had them in years.

Key Ingredient

Key Ingredient

Now, most of the recipes you see out there for “Arepas Dulces” or “Arepas de Anís” have a very peculiar ingredient that is definitely hard to find.   I am talking about “Papelón”.   Papelón is also known as “Panela”, which is an unrefined whole cane sugar that comes in a solid block.   I didn’t even know what papelón was until I was trying to make these arepas, but since I couldn’t even find it; I called my mom and asked for her recipe, which doesn’t include this mysterious ingredient.   So here it is:

Ingredients for Arepitas Dulces

Ingredients for Arepitas Dulces


What you need:

– 1 Cup Harina PAN
– 1 Cup Water
– 1 ½ Tablespoon Sugar
– ½ Teaspoon Anise Seeds
– ¼ Teaspoon Salt
– Vegetable Oil (Enough for frying)

Preparation:

1. Add the Harina PAN into a bowl, add the anise seeds to the Harina PAN a mix with your hand so that the seeds are spread evenly throughout the mix.

Add Anise Seeds to Harina Pan

Add Anise Seeds to Harina Pan

2. Add the water, salt and sugar into a separate bowl, or measuring cup, and stir it, so that the salt and sugar dissolve in the water.   The water should taste sweet, but have sort of a salty kick to it.   I tried it; I just don’t know how to explain it in correct terms… sorry!

Add Sugar and Salt to Water

Add Sugar and Salt to Water

3. Add the water slowly to the mix and start kneading with your hands.

Add Water to Harina Pan

Add Water to Harina Pan

4. Once the dough is ready, let it sit for a minute, while you prepare for the next step.   The dough will be ready when it feels sort of like play dough, but it is firm and doesn’t crack.

Let the Dough Sit

Let the Dough Sit

5. On top of a cutting board, or simply your countertop, lay a large enough sheet of Cling Wrap, and have a bowl, round cookie cutter, or Tupperware of about a 3” diameter, as well as a large flat heavy plate set aside.
6. You are going to grab a handful of the dough, make a ball, set it in the middle of your cling wrap, cover it with the other half of the cling wrap or even grab another sheet of cling wrap if you wish.   Then press on it a bit with your hand, and then grab the large flat heavy plate and press on it until you flatten it to about ¼ of an inch thick.   Then with the cookie cutter or bowl cut out a 3” diameter circle from the dough.   Uncover the cling wrap and remove the circle and set aside (on top of another sheet of cling wrap) to fry them when they are all ready.   Remove the excess dough from the cling wrap and put back in your bowl of dough.   Continue to make these disks until you have no more dough left.

Ball of Dough

Ball of Dough

Flatten with Heavy Plate

Flatten with Heavy Plate

Disk of Dough

Disk of Dough

About 1/4 of an Inch Thick

About 1/4 of an Inch Thick

Cut Out Smaller Disk

Cut Out Smaller Disk

About 3" Diameter

About 3" Diameter

Remember They Should Be Thin

Remember They Should Be Thin

Cut Out As Many As You Can

Cut Out As Many As You Can

7. Heat up the frying oil and begin to fry your arepas.   Not too many at a time, just as many as fit in your frying pot, deep fryer, or Dutch oven, as you can without them touching each other.   But there should be enough oil to cover them completely.

Fry Until Golden Brown

Fry Until Golden Brown

8. As they fry, they will sit at the bottom, but quickly rise to the top.   They will also start to bubble, as in they will look like they are puffed up.   The skin should be crispy and separate from the dough inside.   When one side has done this, and started to brown, flip them.
9. They will be ready when they are brown/golden on both sides.
10. Lay on paper towels to remove the excess oil.
11. Serve hot with Queso Blanco (and a little butter if you wish).

Serve with Queso Blanco

Serve with Queso Blanco

12. To eat them, delicately using a knife, separate the skin on the side which is most puffed-up and stuff with cheese, add butter to the inside dough if you wish.

Venezuelan Arepitas Dulces / Arepitas de Anís

Venezuelan Arepitas Dulces / Arepitas de Anís

*Makes about 8 arepas of 3” diameter and ¼ of an inch thick (uncooked).

¡Buen Provecho!

Recipe: Venezuelan Empanadas

19 Oct

Empanadas are like Venezuelan hot pockets or calzones.   We usually serve them as appetizers (small ones), or as a main dish with delicious fillings and dipping sauces.   Empanada fillings are as varied as Arepa fillings, and we use some of the same fillings that we use in Arepas as well.   The most common and easy to prepare are cheese empanadas, and they are the most popular amongst kids.   We also have exquisite ones like lobster, or Cazón (small shark), and common ones like ground beef, shredded chicken, shredded meat.   Then there are big ones like filled with Pabellón (Shredded beef, black beans and plantains), or combination ones like cheese and beef, or even ham and cheese.   One thing is for sure; you will like them no matter what is in them.   Another great thing about empanadas is that they are a great way to re-purpose your leftovers, and no one will complain about eating the same thing for lunch that they had the night before for dinner, because everyone loves empanadas.   So keep that in mind when you have leftovers, and you don’t want them to go to waste.

Ingredients for Venezuelan Empanadas

Ingredients for Venezuelan Empanadas

What You’ll Need:

– 1 Cup Harina PAN
– 1 ¼ Cup Water
– ½ Teaspoon Salt
– 1/3 Teaspoon Sugar
– Vegetable Oil (enough to fry all the empanadas)
– Your Empanada Fillings (Cheese, beef, chicken, pork, etc.)
– Clear Plastic Wrap (Cling Wrap)
– Bowls

Preparation

1. Just like the Arepas: Add the Harina PAN into a mixing bowl, then add the salt and the sugar to the water and stir it.   Now little by little add the water and knead and mix the dough using your hands.   You must knead the dough until the mix is soft, firm and has a uniform consistency without any grains.

Knead the Dough

Knead the Dough

2. Once the dough is ready, make a big ball out of it, and then split into 4 equal parts.

Split Into Equal Parts

Split Into Equal Parts

3. Set up your cooking space as shown in the picture below in order to have:
a) Your Dough
b) Your Fillings (I have beef and shredded Queso Blanco cheese here)
c) A bowl with warm water with a little bit of oil in it.
d) A bowl to shape your empanadas with
e) A large enough piece of Cling Wrap

Set Up Your Cooking Space

Set Up Your Cooking Space

4. Grab one of your four sections of dough and form a ball.

Form A Ball

Form A Ball

5. Begin to flatten the ball into a disk shape using the entire length of your hands, also use the water with oil to moisten your hands so that the dough doesn’t stick to them.
6. Flatten the ball until it is less than 0.25” thick.

Flatten

Flatten

Flatten More

Flatten More

Done

Done

7. Place about two to three tablespoons of your filling right below the center of the circle.

Add Filling

Add Filling

Add Any Filling

Add Any Filling

8. With both hands grab the top of the Cling Wrap and carefully fold the circle in two, so that you have a semicircle.

Fold Circle Into Semicircle

Fold Circle Into Semicircle

9. Press the Cling Wrap with your fingers over the top dough towards the bottom dough, in order to close the empanada.

Semicircle

Semicircle

Press Edged to Close Empanada

Press Edged to Close Empanada

10. Now use the extra empty bowl as shown to cut the excess dough and make the famous empanada moon-shape.

Use Empty Bowl

Use Empty Bowl

Cut Out Empanada Shape

Cut Out Empanada Shape

11. Open the Cling Wrap and remove the excess dough, which you can add to the remaining dough to make the rest of the empanadas.

Empanada Shape

Empanada Shape

Open Cling Wrap

Open Cling Wrap

Remove Excess Dough

Remove Excess Dough

Empanada Shape Done

The Perfect Empanada Shape

12. Carefully remove the empanada from the Cling Wrap, so you can make the rest of them.

Carefully Remove from Cling Wrap

Carefully Remove from Cling Wrap

Set Aside

Set Aside

13. You can begin to fry them immediately if you have someone else to help keep an eye on the ones in the pan, so you can continue making the other ones and not burn them.

Fry Empanadas

Fry Empanadas

14. Also, it is a good idea to mark them so you know which ones have which filling. In case someone doesn’t want one of the fillings. I use one dot for cheese, two dots for beef, and three dots for beef and cheese.   But you can use whatever you want.

Mark Your Empanadas

Mark Your Empanadas

15. Once you have all your empanadas ready, it’s time to fry them.

Fried Empanada and Remove Excess Oil with Paper Towels

Fried Empanada and Remove Excess Oil with Paper Towels

16. Once they are golden, take them out and lay them on paper towels to remove the excess oil.
17. Serve and enjoy.   Be careful, they are hot!

Venezuelan Empanadas

Venezuelan Empanadas

¡Buen Provecho!

More Delicious Arepa Fillings (Rellenos)

7 Sep

As it turns out, I actually needed more than 4 posts to cover everything there is to know about our delicious Venezuelan Arepas.   So here are some more ideas for delicious arepa fillings. Some of them even have unique names that sort of describe the filling or stuffing in one way or another.   This is probably because we Venezuelans would take too long at an Arepera (Arepa Restaurant) ordering an arepa, trying to decide which of the 20 different fillings to get inside of it.   So then, if we say “Una de Pabellón”, de Arepera knows what we mean.

De Pabellón 

De Pabellón

De Pabellón


The “Pabellón”, it the most traditional dish after the Arepas.   Somehow, someone decided to combine the two most traditional Venezuelan dishes into one, making an arepa stuffed with the second dish, Pabellón.   Pabellón is a word for “pavilion”, but it can also mean the national flag, an ensign, or even a tent.   The Pabellón Criollo, the traditional Venezuelan dish is made up of shredded (or pulled) beef, black beans, rice and fried plantains, as the most basic version of it.   Some people, depending on the part of the country, also add a plain arepa on the side, some avocadoes, some delicious grated white cheese and even a fried egg.   Of course that would be way to much stuff to put inside an Arepa, so the basic Arepa de Pabellón simply includes shredded beef, black beans, and fried plantains.

La Dominó
Just like the traditional game of domino’s black and white chips, this arepa has a black and white stuffing or filling.   The Dominó Arepa includes black beans and grated white cheese.

La Dominó

La Dominó

La Viuda (The Widow)
This arepa is a plain and empty arepa.   Usually served as a “side” to other dishes like the Pabellón Criollo, or a delicious fried egg breakfast.

La Pelúa (The Hairy One)
Don’t panic! This arepa doesn’t have any hair.   The filling on this Arepa consists of shredded or pulled beef and Gouda cheese.

La Catira (The Blond One)
This Arepa has more fun! The filling is made up of shredded chicken and Gouda cheese.

La Sifrina (The Snobby One)
This Arepa is too good for you! The filling is the same as the Reinapepiada, but it also has Gouda cheese.

La Rumbera (The Party One)
This arepa is for the 3AM after party munchies.   The filling is Pork and Gouda cheese.

La Rumbera

La Rumbera

La Musiua (The “Monsier” One)
This arepa is a burger.   Literally.   It has a burger patty, tomatoes, onions and lettuce, minus the burger buns, inside an Arepa.   I have never had this myself, but it just doesn’t sound right.

La Bomba (The Bomb)
This arepa IS the BOMB! Filled with Perico and Black Beans.

La Pata-Pata
Filled with black beans, Gouda cheese and avocado

De Carne Mechada (Pulled/Shredded Beef)
Filled with delicious shredded beef, just like the one served on the Pabellón dish. 

De Carne Mechada

De Carne Mechada

De Guasacaca
Stuffed with Guasacaca and white cheese.

De Carne Molida
Just like the name says it; this one is stuffed with ground beef.

De Pernil
Just like the name says it; this one is stuffed with roast pork.

De Pernil

De Pernil

De Jamón y Queso
Just like the name says it; this one is stuffed with ham and cheese.

De Pollo
Just like the name says it; this one is stuffed with pulled chicken.

De Chorizo
Just like the name says it; this one is stuffed with Spanish Sausage or Chorizo.

De Cazón
Just like the name says it, this one is stuffed with Cazón… what is cazón? Cazón is a small shark, and this is one of my favorites because it is a popular one in the town where I was born, Puerto La Cruz.

Arepa Filling Faux-Pau
Do not by any means use any of these fillings in front of a Venezuelan:

– Peanut butter
– Jelly
– Jam
– Ketchup
– BBQ sauce

¡Buen Provecho!

*Thank you to Flickr photographers who share their photos with Creative Commons licenses.

Arepas Nutritional Facts

27 Jul

I was curious to know just how bad or good for you arepas are.   So I went ahead and did some calculations. According to the Harina PAN packaging Nutritional Facts, in 1 serving of 30 g. there is:

Calories 110
Calories from Fat 5
Total Fat 0,5 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Sodium 0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 24 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Protein 2 g
Harina PAN & Arepa Nutritional Facts

Harina PAN & Arepa Nutritional Facts

So, if we do some math… ugh math… we can establish that (if you follow my recipe) we are using 1 cup of Harina PAN, which I measured out to be about 170 grams. Out of that I got about 4 arepas, so each arepa would contain about 42.5 grams of Harina Pan, in which with a simple cross-multiplication we can conclude that the nutritional information would be as follows (keep in mind this is just an estimate):

Serving = 1 Arepa of about 42.5 g. of Harina Pan + Water (without adding the salt)

Calories 156
Calories from Fat 7
Total Fat 0,7 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Sodium 0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 34 g
Dietary Fiber 4.25 g
Protein 2.83 g

For those of you in a Gluten Free diet or Low Sodium/Heart Healthy Diet, an arepa can be a healthier alternative to a sandwich, as long as you fill it with healthy fillings like some scrambled egg whites and other cheeses or meats you are allowed to eat.   For the low sodium diets, just don’t add salt to the mix before you prepare the dough.   And you can also use the Harina PAN to make empanadas, tortillas, hallaquitas, tamales and other similar products.

Also I think the arepas made in the Tostiarepa are about twice the size of the arepas I measured out here.

¡Buen Provecho!

***I just realized it took me 4 posts to cover everything about arepas.

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