Arepa con Queso are flat corn cakes filled with cheese, most popular in Colombia. The Arepa or corn cake dough are made from precooked cornmeal, water, flavorings and cheese. Small flat discs are formed and cooked on a griddle or pan.
Arepas are eaten with toppings or stuffed with anything from meat or seafood to beans and everything in between. Its versatility makes it ideal to be eaten for any meal or at snack time. As well as having cheese in the dough itself, Arepa con Queso are sliced open, filled with cheese and heated again to melt the filling
Methods used to prepare Arepas vary. One method places a portion of cheese into the center of a raw arepa and folds the edges over the cheese, pressing it out into a disc again. This way the Arepa is already stuffed with the cheese and only needs to be heated once.
While Masa Harina is cornmeal, the preferred choice for making Arepas is Masarepa. The difference is, Masa Harina is made from raw milled corn. Masarepa is made from cooked corn which is then milled. It’s a more refined version of cornmeal that makes Arepa’s soft and fluffy.
Traditionally, Arepas were cooked in a pan called a Budare. A Budare, also known as an Arepa pan, is a round, metal pan with a low lip for its edges and one handle.
Origin and Cultural Significance
The origins of food products made from corn dates back thousands of years. Indigenous people like the Chibcha grew and harvested corn for eating, though the history of the food we know as Arepas is more recent.
Today, Arepas are still eaten regularly by a majority of Colombians. The Festival de la Arepa de Huevo or the Egg Arepa Festival in Colombia has taken place yearly for the past 32 years to celebrate this traditional food. Egg Arepas are a type of fried Arepa where a raw egg is poured into a half cooked Arepa then returned to the oil to finish cooking.
- Pre-cooked white or yellow arepa flour – 1 cup
- Warm water – 1 cup
- White or mozzarella cheese grated – ½ cup
- Butter – 2 tbsp
- Salt - pinch
- Mozzarella cheese or cheese of preference
- Combine the cornmeal, warm water, cheese, butter and salt, mixing thoroughly. Let mixture stand for five minutes.
- Mix into a soft dough with your hands for about 3 minutes moistening your hands with water as you work.
- Form 4 small balls with the dough. Place each ball between 2 plastic bags and with a flat pot cover flatten to ½ inch. Alternatively, you may press the balls of dough out into evenly sized discs.
- Add butter to a nonstick pan over medium heat.
- Place the arepas in the pan, and cook about 3 minutes on each side, until a crust forms or they are golden brown.
- Gently slice the Arepas open and fill with cheese.
- Return to the pan and cook until the cheese melts.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 310Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 326mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 11g