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Arepa de huevo is a Colombian food that I remember from my childhood. Other countries may do this but I do not know much or really anything about other varieties. Arepas are made from a very finely ground corn meal. I will put a recipe or guideline below for making that as well as how-to photos on how to make the arepa with egg below.
My first experience with it was when we visited Colombia 25 years ago. As in other latin american countries, street vendors sell all manner of things. We were on foot somewhere in Bogota, Colombia, and literally by the roadside there was this large woman sitting next to an enormous wok-like pot filled with boiling hot oil. She also had dozens of eggs and arepas. I didn’t really know what to expect when we walked up. I watched her cut open a large arepa (size of your hand, I am used to seeing them more like 1/2 that size), break an egg into the steaming middle of the arepa, pinch it back closed, and slip it quickly down the side of the wok-pot down into the boiling oil. Next thing I know, I am holding a napkin with a steaming hot arepa de huevo inside, tasting it for the first time.
I have always respected the potent possibilities of food poisoning and GI upset that can happen when you eat things in a region where you have not acclimated yourself to the local bugs in the water. On this trip, I experienced food poisoning also for the first time but it was NOT from the Arepa de huevo I had from the street vendor.
Because this treat is deep fried, making it less likely to be a vector for forborne illnesses.
More important than all of that, it is very delicious!
I had not eaten one in all that time until just the other day, when I finally got down to making them in my own kitchen. They came out so much better than I had anticipated. I hope you will try them too!
Arepa de huevo
- 1 C “La Venezolana” or “ArepaHarina” precocida masa harina (extremely fine precooked corn meal – you simply can not use any substitutes here, find this ingredient)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 C boiling hot water
- 4 eggs (or more, depending on how far your masa goes)
- 5 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 2 bunches of green onions, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of ground cominos
- Pinch of ground annatto seeds
- 1/2 cup of packed, chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- salt to taste
Saute the listed “hogao” ingredients in the olive oil until wilted, set aside.
Mix the harina and salt and then add the boiling water. Mix until incorporated and set aside for 15 minutes.
Wet hands with cold water and shape hand sized pancakes of harina (about 1/6 inch thick) or use a tortilla press. I used the press in this case but I think I would prefer to recommend the hand method as you get a thicker arepa. With the press, its a delicious crispy thing, just a bit different than I remember.
To use the press:
Put a ball of masa on the press (which you have lined with a freezer ziplock bag, cut to size).
Gently push down on the press so that you mash it flat but not TOO thin.
Open the press and rotate the arepa 180 degrees and press just slightly more to try to even the thickness all around.
Peel back the plastic and either toast in a hot pan like you do with most arepas (below shown with smaller ones), or slip the raw arepa into the hot oil until it puffs up.
Remove and allow to cool.
Carefully cut into the side of the arepa to form a pocket.
Put a spoonful of hogao in the bottom of the fried arepa.
Put an egg into a small cup and then slip the egg into the pocket.
Mend the edge with raw dough and then slip it back into the hot oil for a couple of minutes (until it hits the color you want, light golden brown).
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