ta­ble talk

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - LIFESTYLE - ed­hal­magyi fast-ed.com.au

EV­ERY re­gion of the world has its own street food. From the sa­tay ven­dors of In­done­sia, to the taco stands of Mex­ico. From pizza by the slice in Rome, to the spiced kefta of Le­banon.

In the mar­kets and side streets of Venezuela and Colombia, you’ll find end­less stalls fry­ing small discs of dough to a crisp golden brown be­fore filling them with all man­ner of de­li­cious things. These are arepas, and you should be fore­warned. One bite and you’ll be hooked.

Crunchy on the out­side, cloy­ing and rich in the mid­dle. The dough is made from a tra­di­tional maize flour that has been cooked and redried, mak­ing it bet­ter able to ab­sorb liq­uid. It’s also an un­leav­ened recipe, and as such these lit­tle breads are un­ex­pect­edly dense.

The flour needed to make arepas is rea­son­ably easy to come by – the most pop­u­lar brand is PAN, whose bright yel­low bags fea­ture a de­cid­edly pre-modern im­age of a housewife in a bright red head­scarf. Dif­fer­ent for­mu­las ex­ist for arepas, but all come back to a fairly sim­ple rule of thumb – you need just a lit­tle more liq­uid than flour. Add som some salt for flavour, and just a lit­tle oil to give a smoothe smoother tex­ture. The arepa dough sh should be al­lowed to sit, cove cov­ered with a towel, for at least a half-hour be­fore its cooked. While there are dif­fer­ent cooking tech­niques in dif­feren dif­fer­ent parts of South Americ Amer­ica (steam­ing, grillin grilling, bar­be­cu­ing), fryin fry­ing with a rea­son­able am amount of oil will alw al­ways give the best re re­sults. Sure, it might not be as healthy, but the flavour is com­pletely worth it. You can fill the arepas with a any­thing you like, ju just think of it as an al al­ter­na­tive to tacos. Slo Slow-cooked pork, slaw slaw, av­o­cado, cheese, egg, hot sauce. All these will w work. Or g go a lit­tle wild and add som some of each. Af­ter all, that’s th the Venezue­lan way.

One bite, and you’ll be hooked.

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