Venezue­lan food suits the Coast

Tweed Daily News - - LIFE -

WE might find it dif­fi­cult to name a food that dates back 3000 years in our cul­ture, how­ever that’s not so for the own­ers of Fiery Deli.

Arepas, the flat round pock­ets of maize meal that form a core menu item in the Venezue­lan­born Perez fam­ily’s Robina restau­rant, date back to the first use of corn in South Amer­i­can civ­i­liza­tion.

“Arepas are a sta­ple food in Venezuela, served ev­ery­where, from street­side stalls to el­e­gant restau­rants,” Kevin tells us. “They can be eaten at any meal, in many ways.”

Arepas are nat­u­rally gluten free, with no preser­va­tives or ad­di­tives.

With your choice of fill­ing, an arepa is a food which fits neatly into the Gold Coast life­style: adapt­able to our diet and easy to eat on the go with fill­ings suit­able for ve­g­ans, veg­e­tar­i­ans, meat lovers or those with food in­tol­er­ances.

Kevin was taught to make arepas by his mother when he was ten years old. It’s easy, he says, but takes prac­tice. Here is his recipe: Arepas

About 2 cups pre-cooked white corn meal (Ha­rina P.A.N. is avail­able from Fiery Deli) luke­warm wa­ter (about 2 – 2 ½ cups) Place luke­warm wa­ter in a bowl, fill­ing the bowl to halfway.

With a whisk, slowly add corn meal drop­ping it onto the whisk, beat­ing as you go, tak­ing care not to let any lumps form. Add in a lit­tle salt.

Keep whisk­ing and adding flour un­til mix­ture forms a soft, moist, mal­leable dough, not too mushy or too dry, with no stick­i­ness.

Stop when the mix­ture is get­ting thick to al­low the wa­ter to soak into ev­ery mol­e­cule of the flour.

Di­vide the dough into eight golf ball-sized balls and pat into a patty about 1cm thick. Let rest again to hy­drate.

Heat a lit­tle oil on a grill or bar­be­cue over medium heat. Work­ing in batches, cook corn pat­ties un­til golden brown, about 5 min­utes per side. You can crisp arepas a lit­tle more in a hot oven, then split each arepa to form a pita pocket.

Scoop out the soft part in the mid­dle to make more room for the fill­ing.

Fill with your choice of shred­ded beef or free-range chicken, lo­cally-sourced salad veg­eta­bles, onion, rice, black beans, scram­bled or­ganic eggs and ba­con, cap­sicum, av­o­cado, fresh herbs and spices or any com­bi­na­tion of the above.

There you have it: a healthy, flavour-packed, fill­ing meal which is easy to grab in two hands. Fiery Deli, Up­stairs in The Kitchens, Robina. Marj Os­borne is an in­de­pen­dent food com­men­ta­tor. Con­tact her at marj.oz@live.com.au

The Fiery Deli fea­tures Venezue­lan food such as Arepas which is flat pocket of maize meal stuffed with a va­ri­ety of fill­ings.

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