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Arepas are a crispy flatbread made from a special white corn meal (masarepa flour) and are naturally gluten free. They are a snap to make, and flexible–small or large, thick or thin. You can stuff them like pita or simply grill in butter or olive oil. We had them with some Columbian style scrambled eggs with tomato and onion. And a little hot sauce.

For a vegan version, leave out the cheese and switch out the butter for oil of your choice.

makes 4 medium size arepas, 6 small size

1 cup warm, clean water
1 cup masarepa flour
pinch of salt
1 tbs butter or olive oil
handful of fresh cheese or shredded mozzarella

For rolling out and shaping:
tortilla press or rolling pin
wax paper
thin-edged bowl or cup

1) Start with the warm water first and then add the flour. Add salt and butter (or oil) and mix with your fingers. This dough comes together really fast. Add in the shredded cheese if using and knead to a nice ball of dough. Make sure it is not too dry or it will crack when you roll them out.

2) Pinch off the dough for the size arepa you want, and sandwich between two sheets of oiled wax paper so the dough doesn’t stick. Use a tortilla press to flatten if you have one, but a rolling pin works fine. The thickness is up to you but these are not tortillas, so make them thicker than that. There’s a bit of a chewy cake quality to them. *If you intend to stuff the arepas, or make a sandwich, then double the thickness so you can cut them after grilling. Thicker arepas need to finish cooking in the oven, see tips here.

3) After you’ve rolled or pressed them, press a bowl down (with the wax paper still on the arepa!) to cut out a circle shape. Then transfer to a clean bit of wax paper while you roll out and shape the rest of the arepas.

4) Fry or grill in a bit of oil or butter till both sides golden brown and crispy, about 5 min on each side.