Colombian Arepas - Vegan Style

I told you that I was going to go south for the winter....  I have been wanting to make tamales for quite awhile, but I have a hard time pulling together multi-step meals that require several days of prep.  OK that is an excuse because tamales are not that hard, but still, there is no way that I could prep all of the fillings and not eat them before they reached the steamer.  A few months ago I purchased some South American basics and pledged that I would make some things from my old pre-vegan playbook.
Arepas are something that you do not see very often in the states, but are a standard in the south.  I purchased the precooked corn meal, PAN is the best, I was very excited that I was to be able to buy it.
I decided that I wanted to experiment rather than make traditional arepas, which I would describe as somewhere between a tortilla, gordita, cornbread, and a pancake.  Arepas are served as a side like bread, often with sauces, and in some areas are split and served with fillings like sandwiches.  The corn meal/flour being precooked makes a significant difference in the taste and the texture of the final product.
I decided that I wanted to experiment and combine a couple of things that were floating through my mind at the same time.  I really wanted tamales, so I decided to start with basic arepa batter and add.
The traditional recipe is:
2 cups of PAN corn flour
2.5 cups of water

Here is what I did:
2 cups PAN Arepa Flour
1/2 cup Maseca Tamale Flour(I love the taste of tamale flour, that's why I added it)
1/2 White Onion + 2 Teeth of Garlic + 1 cup Water in the vita mix/blender until smooth

1.5 cups of soy milk (this is variable because you want the batter to be just thick enough to pour, it will also thicken over time so you may need to add)
1 teaspoon salt
Mix all of the ingredients above to a smooth consistency.  With this batter you can start making arepas, by pouring, like pancakes, on a medium hot griddle that has been lightly greased.  Serve with warm salsa of your choice.
I chose to add some additional items for the sake of experimentation:
1 cup frozen organic corn
3/4 pound of small diced smoked tofu
This satisfied my desire for tamales, I cooked them as described above.
To complete the plate I made sauteed onions, just seared and finished with a 1/4 cup of salsa.
I made a warm salsa with a can of Rotel, fresh chili's, 1/4 white onion, run through the vita mix then simmered for about 5 minute.
I also made long grain rice, cut some avodado, warmed some Morningstar Farms seitan strips.
So to recap, this was not really much less intense than making tamales, but they were very good and I will make them again, soon?

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Mihl said...

This is a very interesting method to make arepas (not that I am an expert). I hope I can make these soon. I have PAN in my pantry :)


I've always wanted to make arepas. Tried them once in the Napa Valley and fell in love with them. Thanks for posting your recipe.

Heidi said...

omg, you made my day. I'm trying to make the switch to vegetarian/vegan and i actually just made these today at home during my lunch break at work...brings back good memories. I'm el salvadorean and used to eating pupusas(meat/bean filled arepas that are sealed rather than made like an openfaced/pocket sandwich). I wish there were more latin culture vegan sites/blogs like yours. Thanks!

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